I would like to start off by saying I am against bullying. Always have been. Always will be. I am not raising my kids to be bullies. I am not raising my kids to be bullied. I am raising my kids to be against bullying, bullies, and to do what they can to stop and/or prevent bullies from bullying others.
As a child, growing up where I did and going to school where I did, I was a victim of bullying. I didn’t let it affect me. I saw others being bullied and I would step in and let them pick on me as opposed to the other person. I felt that I had the mental capacity to handle it and not let it get to me like it seemed to do others. I’m sure I did a little bullying myself. Every kid does while they are trying to find their niche. Am I proud of it? No, of course not. Was I aware that I was doing it? No, of course not. Did I even think of it as bullying? No, of course not. But I am guilty myself, just as a lot of other people are and they don’t even realize it.
I have worried about my children being bullied. Every parent does. With us being in the oilfield, we move around a lot. That means that my children change schools a lot. My daughter is in fifth grade and my son is in fourth grade. The school they are currently attending is their fourth school in six years. It is our intention to not make them change schools again, but as much as we don’t want to move again, in the oilfield there are no guarantees. Anyway, I digress. Back to the subject at hand. Bullying. I’ve worried they would be bullied, and with them being the “New Kids” in school a lot, it is a bigger concern for me. I was the New Kid a lot. The New Kid is usually the first one to get picked on and bullied.
I have taught my children to always stand up for themselves and to be strong and stand up for others. Even when it is hard. Do the right thing. Put yourself in their shoes. I know that that could also put them in the direct line of fire. They were studying tae kwon do for a while. They didn’t make it all the way to their black belt before we moved, but they made pretty decent progress. Both were blue belts before we left. I am hoping to get them back into it pretty soon. We are just trying to find the right place with the right instructor here in San Antonio. I bought them each a Stomp Out Bullying bracelet from the store (proceeds go to stompoutbullying.org) and they both proudly wear them every day!
For the past couple of months, my nephew, who is a vibrant outgoing child of five, has become more withdrawn from everyone and has been having trouble in school. He wouldn’t ever tell anyone why, he would just say, “I don’t know.” That was his explanation for everything. Why wasn’t he doing his work anymore? “I don’t know.” What is wrong? “I don’t know.” He lost all interest in going to school. Why don’t you want to go to school anymore? “I don’t know.” He recently started getting into more and more trouble at school. To the point that my sister has a meeting with the counselor, vice principal, his teacher, and herself this afternoon to discuss everything.
She has noticed that most of the time when he is getting into trouble it is during his “specials” class time. PE, Art, Music, Computer Lab, etc. So she went up to the school yesterday to sit and observe him in his special class. Lo and behold, she has identified the problem. Another child in his class has been bullying him. It has gotten progressively worse, evidently, and is at the physical stage. This little boy went out of his way to cross the gym to where my nephew was to try and slam his head into the concrete wall. For no reason. Other than he doesn’t like my nephew. Another little girl, in his class, tripped him to “fall” on top of him. The gym teacher is only one person, in charge of three classes of kindergarteners. She can’t see everything all the time. She saw the little girl trip and then “fall” on my nephew and she got scolded. However, the little boy that tried to slam his head in to the wall was unobserved by anyone other than my sister. She noticed that before he did anything to her son he looked around to make sure that the teacher wasn’t looking. She also informed me that another child in my nephews class has told my nephew that he wouldn’t play with him and wouldn’t be friends with him because he is a white kid.
I do not believe in identifying people by their race. My children know that there are different races, but they don’t identify people by their race. They don’t think it makes them different. My nephew lives in a predominantly black community and is the only white child in his class. My nephew has never seen race as something that makes someone different. He has black cousins, mixed cousins, a mixed aunt. From personal experience (I went to the same schools years ago that he is currently going to) and being white is a big thing for the other students. White people are looked down upon in that community. Is it right? No. Do I agree with it? No. Does it happen? Yes.
Hate is being taught in all forms. We, as parents, are the only ones that can put a stop to that. Do not teach your children to hate. Do not teach your children to bully others. Do not teach your children to stand by and watch people get bullied. Teach your child to stand up for themselves. Teach your child to stand up for others. Teach your child respect for themselves and others. Teach your child to Stomp Out Bullying!