Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stayin' Out the Way!

School yard bullies.

Chances are if you have children, were a child (lol), know a child or have turned on your TV during the news in the last 5 years you know all about school yard bullies. I think without doubt that the issue of Schoolyard bullies effects us all in some way. I have found myself this week thinking a lot about Schoolyard bullies and they tactics and how the whole thing effects my family.

My eldest son is a bright kid, I don't mean he is super smart or anything like that, at times it has seemed he is the absolute opposite, he is bright as is full of life, ideas and love for the world around him. Picture Steve Irwin shrunk down without the "Crikey" and you have my 8 year old. He can spend hours telling you about the life cycle of a particular bug or animal, nine times out of ten he is spot on, and when he isn't he just makes it up. If school was run on verbal alone he would be skipping grades left right and centre. Convincing his teachers that he knows it all!

When he doesn't know something - you cant tell, he can completely convince you of something that is totally wrong just with the power of his words. Some days I am sure that if I hadn't wised up to his ways he would possibly be able to convince me that they have discovered a way to bring back dinosaurs and have started growing them on Mars ready for the time that they will take over the planet Earth and make it their own again.....he is THAT convincing!

Of course while his teachers find this gift delightful and inspiring (I am sure sometimes they mean to say draining and over-bearing) his school yard friends don't always agree. He is lucky to have a few friends that he has grown up with, so they either humour him with his stories or tell him he is making up crap and they cant be bothered right now (kids + tack I don't think so) Of course this whole personality leaves him open for the school yard bullies to tease him and ridicule him for his random facts and figures.

He is pretty good, he takes most of it in his stride, sometimes he gets a little angry but never over the top and hopefully it stays that way!

While I would like to tell him that one day he wont be at school anymore and his worries will be over. No more bullies, no more nasty people....... I know that's a lie. Sadly there seems to be so many more "adult" bullies than I ever knew as a child. Workplace bullies, Community bullies, Playgroup mum bullies, Family bullies.... the list goes on and on. The only thing we have on our side as adults is that (well most of us....not the bullies) have grown up to learn that negatives only attract negatives and the world is a bigger place than the little circle that we live in. We learn resilience and ways to deal with things that are wrong, and those acts that make us feel victimised. We learn to let things go and not bring us down. We learn that what other people do or say isn't our problem and we are only responsible for the things we say and do.

Of course anyone that has had to deal with an "adult" bully will know its not easy. It can be hard getting through your day knowing that you are right but feeling like you are in the wrong. Sometimes the battle doesn't seem worth it, sometimes walking away is the only answer even when it goes against everything that we believe in.

These days schools are doing so much more work to counteract the schoolyard bullies. They have programs designed to teach respect and caring with all, to show children the right and wrong way to treat their peers and the adults in their lives. I am sure there will be a few there that this doesn't change, but for the most part I hope these programs work and hopefully when my children are adults they wont have to deal with so many "adult" bullies.

Fun fact (a not so fun one) that I learnt from one of the teachers at my children's school earlier this year ~ When bullies really want to "hurt" another child they use insults directed at the child's family. Usually straight at the child's mother..... it instantly twigs anger in the victim and the bully feels like they have won straight away.

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