My kids aren't in the trenches every day so maybe I have been living in my own little bubble for some time now. I rarely let my kids just hang out with kids that I don't know well. I am "that" mom who doesn't let their kids play with just everyone. I am there pretty much 99% of the time when they are playing other kids. I guess I just don't trust other people. I don't trust other kids. I was a kid at one time. I was a middle schooler. I was a high schooler. I know what goes on. I know what has gone on for the past...how many ever years. It seems like "anti-bullying" has been a topic in many schools...you see anti-bullying commercials, ads, and marches. I don't remember ever seeing those growing up.
I guess I might have a different view on things. I am planning on sheltering my kids for as long as I can. Yes I know that most people are thinking...shame on you. Let them live in the world and make their own decisions. Have you ever met a 2, 4, 5, & 7 year old? Mine aren't the best at making decisions all of the time....peer pressure is at an all time high... especially at the older ages. They all want to be accepted...what child doesn't? They all want to fit in. What child doesn't? They don't want to report something is going on, with the fear that they will then be the target of bullying. In these early years, our job is to
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6I am not expecting my child just to go out in the world and know how to handle every situation. They are children. Children aren't equipped and born with good decision making skills. No I don't make every decision for my children. I am not a helicopter parent swooping and directing every single step of their lives...but I am there. I am teaching them as we trudge through the trenches together. I am training them...so when they do go off in this horrible world we live in...they are prepared. I have already had to explain why we don't hang out with certain kids in our neighborhood...because of things I have noticed (bullying other kids)...even though my kids think these particular kids are nice. Would you start a new job without the proper training?
We don't do the team sport thing all that much...there are several logistical reason...but bullying is high on the list. Don't tell me "your" kids are immune and it just doesn't happen on your kids' teams. Every time I turn around I hear horrible stories about what has gone on when kids are left alone...yes their are coaches and teachers...but how can one person watch 30 kids...or even 15 kids and know exactly what is going on...while trying to teach, coach, or direct? I was a public school teacher....I know that it is nearly impossible to know what is going on at every second and what every conversation is taking place. Please don't tell me it doesn't happen in your school? Or your kid wouldn't take part in such an act. I am sure many parents out there have asked their kids and their kids have told them this doesn't happen on their team...what child would admit it...knowing they should have reported something. Just last week a friend was telling me how her little boy came home from a soccer game asking her what a rapist and a queer were? Because his teammates were calling him that. Seriously. My heart just broke for him. A few months ago parents left two of their teenage girls unattended at the YMCA's pool. There was the lifeguard, my family, and a few other families swimming. One girl was much smaller than the other. I am assuming they were considered "friends" since they were left there together. The larger one was practically choking the smaller one and was calling her horrible names. Being the "mean" mom I am, I intervened and the bigger one said they were just playing around. I responded by saying, I am sorry but if my girls were playing with their friends like that, they would no longer be allowed to hang out with that person.
Part of the problem in society these days (as I see it) is that we are supposed to talk about our feelings. I don't buy that it works. I know it is the nice touchy feely new age thing....because boys aren't taught to be boys anymore....but back in the day kids just stomped the bully...and then it was done. Kids aren't allowed to fight in today's society. Most of the time kids get punished for fighting back against a bully. Well just a word of warning...don't hang around my kids...because they will be taught to do just that...and they won't get expelled or suspended from school either. Yet another reason Sean and I would be the worst public school parents.