Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be bullies

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raising kids in south jersey elementary school bullying equality

I currently pick my kids up from school everyday. Yes, there are options to bus them, but I just don’t feel comfortable with that and would prefer to drive them back and forth myself. I don’t say this to be snobby or impose a connotation that I think I’m better than parents of kids that get bussed…this is just what I’m most comfortable with and I’m very grateful that I have the ability and opportunity to do this. Car accidents freak the heck out of me and, by picking my kids up, I feel like I somehow have more control over preventing this. Who knows if I do or not, but this works for us. Being able to pick my kids up also lets me see how they interact with their other friends as they’re waiting for parents and caregivers to pick them up. It can be fun to experience how they associate with their friends. How they say “see you tomorrow!” to each other and how they’ll sometimes ask for playdates to be scheduled. It’s neat. They’re becoming productive little members of society with personalities all their own. Some kids have personalities, though, that aren’t so great.

Notice I said the personalities aren’t so great and NOT the kids aren’t so great. I totally believe that we all have personalities and mannerisms that are shaped by our environment. Heck, why else would South Jersey people pronounce it “wooder”? We were somehow influenced, one way or another, to say it that way. As kids are growing up, they look to their parents, their caregivers, their surroundings, for guidance. If a parent is a person that loves dogs, there’s a good chance that their children are going to love dogs. If a parent despises mushrooms (hey, that’s me!), there’s a good chance their children will pick up on that and despise mushrooms as well. If a parent makes fun of others and perceives themselves as “holier than thou,” you guessed it…there’s a good chance their children will do the same…and I hate that.

Growing up, my parents always acted as though they were better than everyone else. For whatever reason, they believed pretty much everyone around them was a lesser person and, while they usually wouldn’t tell someone their feelings direct to their faces, they’d talk about them behind their backs. They took advantage of people, did not have lasting friendships, and encouraged their children to do the same. They were bullies. Without going into too much detail, I can tell you that this is a lousy way to raise kids. It does them no good and, honestly, it can cause a decent bit of damage. Just check out the statistics from the Stop Bullying Now Foundation. raising kids in south jersey elementary school bullying equality

You guys, our kids are learning from us at all times. It is our responsibility to teach and encourage them to be decent human beings and we need to take this responsibility seriously.

This week, I witnessed kids being bullied while waiting for their parents to pick them up. This was LITERALLY a time period of no more than 5 minutes. If kids are bullying (and being bullied) in just those 5 minutes, I can only imagine what could be happening throughout the school day.

I am not really a person that buys products ONLY because of a brand or a label. I buy for quality, I buy for aesthetics, I buy things that make me happy and positively impact my life somehow. The same goes for my kids. They love their clothes from big-box discount stores as much as their clothes from higher-end stores. When they need new shoes, they pick their shoes based on how they look rather than what brand they are. Whether they’re name brand or not, who cares?! They make them happy and serve the purpose. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to them.

This week, though, some kid was making fun of my kid’s shoes. He couldn’t have been older than 3rd grade. “If they ain’t Nike, they mean nothing to me. If they ain’t Yeezy’s, they mean nothing to me. If they ain’t Air Jordans, they mean nothing to me” he said to BOTH my boys. No offense to those brands, but are you freaking kidding me?! They have absolutely no idea what any of these brands are, but I could tell, by the looks on their faces, that they knew this kid was making fun of their shoes for some reason. The same shoes they were THRILLED to buy because of how they gave them “cheetah running speed” and because they had some of their favorite colors incorporated into the design. The Mama Bear in me was ready to go. How DARE this kid bully my kids. What made him better than anyone else out there?! NOTHING!!! Now, I don’t know nothing about this child, but I do know that his comments were uncalled for and were not said to benefit anyone.  We are all human beings and we are all equal. I stood on the sidelines, waiting to see if the boys needed my help. I didn’t want them to be bullied, but, at the same time, I want them to be able to stand up for themselves, too. It’s a tough position to be in, you know?! You know what they did? They looked at each other, their eyebrows furrowed, and walked away. I was so proud of them. raising kids in south jersey elementary school bullying equality kindness

Unfortunately, that probably wasn’t the first time they were bullied. Just one of the first times I witnessed it. Who knows if I’ll be around the next time it happens. Who knows if they’ll have the ability to just walk away. Who knows how it’ll affect them. I hate that this is an issue in our schools and our society.

Parents, please take the time to talk to your children about bullying. Encourage positivity and the fact that we really are all equal. Encourage kindness and doing good instead of bringing people down for whatever reason. DEMONSTRATE positivity and kindness, too. Our kids are watching us and learning from us at all times whether we realize it or not. I am NOT perfect by any means, but it really does not take that much effort to be a nice person. Seriously. Just. Be. Nice.

 

Have your kids been bullied at school before? How did they handle it? How did YOU handle it? We’d love your tips and tricks for raising confident, strong children!

 

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