I realized early on I needed to make my boys aware of the possibility of both being bullied or being the bully. I don’t want to be cavalier and say “It’s part of life” or “we just have to learn to deal with it” even though it’s a bit true. However, I do understand when bullying becomes more than a part of life. I don’t think it is very easy for parents to know it many times because our kids tend not to tell us early on or we aren’t paying attention until some definitive physical or psychological damage has occurred. By then the bullying has already created it’s deeper effects that often last the rest of ones life to some extent or another. Far too often the parents are the last to know. Our teachers, our sport coaches, and adult supervisors typically will know before we do. I don’t necessarily think this is out of the ordinary but I believe this should be the first line of defense for all kids and our parents should definitively empower these supervisory roles to inform the respective parents when they believe bullying is evident. I see many instances of this happening but there are too many offenses that do not get reported soon enough.
The Lasting Effects
We occasionally hear horrendous stories about bullying and that many parents are strangely reluctant to associate their child with either side of it. Most of the time our kids try to manage it on their own especially if there is no responsible adult around willing to help and, in part, because it is simply embarrassing otherwise. Unfortunately embarrassment is the real challenge in most of these situations and it is the feeling that lingers long after the event. When and/or if bulling occurs with your children it needs to be addressed with care, logic and above all understanding that the embarrassment is real and has the single most significant impact and we should not diminish its effect both in the short term and the long term.
Bullying and My Boys
Bullying is not new, nor is it an epidemic, but it is indeed a part of most social organized life behavior. Even monkeys do it. That said, it should never be condoned. It should be exposed and all parties involved should use those opportunities to open a collaborative discussion with regard to the embarrassment it causes. I began those discussions with my boys when they were relatively young and as far as I am aware they did no bullying. I think I will ask them again though next time we get a good conversation going. I’d like to ask them what they think of the more recent bullying behavior on the internet. I wonder if they think it is more difficult to manage nowadays or causes more harm.