Friday, April 08, 2011


Sorry I have been MIA
Jake was gone for four weeks, and I tried to keep myself quite busy!
A few friends recently suggested a few books on bullying. It has caused me to look at my own children and their personalities. It has encouraged a few conversations between Jake and I and then between us and the kids. It has me squashing any rude, spiteful comment and watching those my children associate with. I understand kids will be kids and they don't mean half the mean and hurtful comments they say, they are merely trying to express themselves and exercise their social skills to find what is merely acceptable. If I didn't hear "I hate you" from one of my kids on a weekly basis then something would be wrong. LOL I am suggesting a more consistant behavior over a period of time. We all have bad days, or a bad week, we all have highs and lows that effect the way we interact with others. I am not suggesting we jump right in and label every bad behavior as bullying, I am however taking more mental notes of consistant behaviors of those we associate with. One of the books suggests looking at one's personalities, their physical well being, and watching how one interacts within their relationships with others. As you learn to subcategorize each person you will be better able to watch for warning signs and the type of bullying. A few mere comments don't categorize one as a bully, but a pattern of consistant behavior does.Another book suggests we aren't aware that there are different types of bullying, and when we are bullying others. When I asked my own children what bullying was they replied with the typical "pushing" "shoving" "pulling hair" "tripping" "hitting" "hurting". I explained to them that bullying wasn't restricted to physical bullying.

Recently a dear friend singled a family member out as a "bully". Those are not the words you want associated with any loved one. In the past we have also dealt with a few situations where we have been on the receiving end of the bullying also and know how that feels. Being labelled as a "bully" or labeling someone as a "bully" is not something one should do lightly. But if you suspect bullying you should confide in someone removed from the situation and have them observe the situation in person. In some schools their are bullying boards in which they interview both sides and then discuss their objective opinions. In real life as an Adult it is not that easy! YES bullying doesn't stop when we leave High School! Bullying is nothing new. It has been around since the beginning of time, and won't stop till the end of time. It affects every age group. It is everywhere! In our homes there may be an unhealthy relationship between siblings, or neighbors. At school in the classroom, on the bus, in the hallway, in the special help class where kids feel self conscious about themselves (speech, reading, or therapy groups). Within social groups like FRGs (military spouses groups), church groups, athletic groups, and CYBER bullying (social networks make this real easy!) but that doesn't mean we should continue to let it happen!Our best combat is to educate ourselves. To educate our children. To be actively involved in our children's extracurricular activities and classrooms. My favorite combative tools I have read about so far is called "Strip Tease". It gives a variety of ways to deal with being bullied. Begin by using " I want..." phrases. "I want you to stop taunting me" or my favorite "I want you to repeat that so that the teacher hears you." If that doesn't work one can use "bargaining" techniques using "if, then" phrases. "If you are going to say rude things about me, then please do so loudly so I can hear what you are saying" (and of course, so that the adults can hear too). "If you leave me alone, then I won't report you." And then my all time favorite and last combative tool is agreeing which I am going to couple with the agreeing method, "Yes, you're right I am a geek. I know that already." or "Yes I am strange, strange means extraordinary, out of the norm, unusual. Would you rather be a dime a dozen?" "A loser? I am not the one proving to be a socially failure." It is however hard to come up with "come backs" in six year old language. One we have heard a lot of lately is loser. What kind of response using this method can you use in six year old language for the word "Loser"? Any suggestions?

Anyways back to my reading. Next up how to teach and train our children not to be bullies!

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