Bullying even affects adults

Parent Connection

Bryan GreesonAugust 16, 2012 

Children bullying other children continues to be on the minds of mental health professionals, the media, parents and of course -- kids. Recent news of kids allegedly bullying an adult bus monitor reminds us that it isn't just kids bullying other kids.

Since when did children and teens start aggressively bullying the adults put in places to supervise them? Oh good grief. Children and teens turning to plastic surgery in order to correct the physical "defect" that leads to merciless bullying illustrates the desperate desire for bullied kids to make it go away.

Bullies are nothing new and certainly aren't anyone special enough to bring about excessive media attention, but they are an unfortunate reality in today's culture. Mega dollars and hours are being spent in school districts, community groups and mental health arenas in order to bring awareness to the bullying epidemic. It seems a bit overwhelming. This bullying thing is out of control, so what can we do?

Perhaps you as a mom or dad can't rid the world of all bullying behavior, but you can make a difference in your own family. The key word to focus upon today is compassion. You see, children who learn to have compassion for others will never bully others. The two concepts are incompatible. And get this. You facilitate, guide and teach your kids to be compassionate instead of sitting back and hoping a heart for others just happens.

Growing compassionate kids begins with promoting the belief, as a parent, that your child is no more special or entitled than other kids. Sure, your children are more special to you, but we as a culture of parents have got to find a way to stop doting over every little thing our kids do and teaching them that life is so much more than looking out for number one.

Past decades of this mentality have proven that we are not rearing happier, better adjusted kids. Quite the opposite is true, and all-about-me kids, when you think about it, should have no trouble being cruel to others.

Parents will have to find a way to stop pushing our children to be socially competitive (and not to mention being so darn competitive themselves). You hear parents who have discovered that their child is a bully are oh so surprised. No, I'm sure most parents don't encourage little Billy and Susie to be blatantly cruel to others, but it's the underlying attitudes of competition and total lack of thinking about others that has been present since the day they were born.

Parents being shocked about their child being a bully leads to my final point. It's simply a lack of supervision and I continue to be amazed at how some parents with small children all but obsess over their health and safety -- yet turn a totally blind eye to their behavior and social development.

Responsible supervision leads to teaching moments for parents to facilitate youngsters having compassion for others, being a good friend and not following the crowd with inappropriate actions toward others.

Bryan Greeson is a nationally certified School Psychologist and serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One.

Bryan Greeson is a nationally certified School Psychologist and serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One.

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