“Help your child to develop an inner “moral voice” that guides them to do what is right. Show, model and teach your child to share, care, help and serve. Teach them to reflect on the impact of their actions on others and be able to see things from another person’s point of view.” Barbara Coloroso from the book – The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander
I think we all see bullying everyday because there are always huge imbalances of power. Unfortunately, many cases of bullying stem from adults — our young people watch carefully. In the past few weeks, I couldn’t help but notice a few examples of bullying (defined as the use of coersion to intimidate others) right in my backyard. I have seen and experienced it in the workplace with inappropriate behaviour by senior management. You just have to turn on the government channel or CNN to see bullying by our world leaders and their administrations. You don’t have to look far to see parents in the schoolyards bullying their children into doing things that serve the parents, not the children. It seems if we want bullying to stop, we need to set the example for our children.
I have two children in junior public school. Bullying amongst children has been an age old problem. But fortunately, there are a few more resources and much more emphasis to stop it. I still wonder how effective these programs are going to be when bullying seems exceptable as a strategy among adults. For example, we are watching the tactics by the ministry of education, the school boards, the teachers and their unions all bullying each other. The last example was the holding back of elementary progress report cards. The union instructed the teachers to make sparse reports. The board instructed the principals to hold back the “incomplete” reports creating further division amongst their teachers and parents. What about the kids in all of this jockeying? Our schools are busy with their anti-bullying activities, but the education system is engaging in bullying. Ironic and wrong in many ways.
So what can we do to change bullying as an adult to stop the trickle down effect so we don’t let our kids down? First, I think we can foster healthy relationships and friendships for our children to see. We need to make good friendships with open communication so our kids can know what is right and wrong, and how you can solve problems respectfully. Second, we can model how to introduce ourselves into new groups. We can show them the realities of this situation and what to do if the group is not friendly. This way, we can strengthen our child’s sense of self as well. Third, I think adults could provide a good example of how to share, play with others, admit wrongs, apologize, and most importantly laugh at ourselves and our mistakes!!