Bullying of the Who
I often compare my daughter to one of the Whos from the Grinch That Stole Christmas. She has crazy strawberry blond curls and giant saucer shaped blue eyes. And behind those eyes are nothing but sweet curiosity and innocent intentions.
So you can imagine my surprise when I took her to the mall yesterday and some little asshole started picking on her in the play area. This little devil disguised as a toddler walked right up to her as she smiled excitedly at him, thinking he was coming to give her a hug. I’m not even kidding you, he looked right at me when he pushed her down and looked so pleased with himself that I wanted to put him over my knee right then and there.
And I could have. Because you know what? His parent seemed to be nowhere to be seen. So maybe I should have, because at least then somebody would have been present to teach him to do better.
My little sweetheart looked so shocked and sad it was all I could do not to run into the playground and rescue her. But you know what? I decided she needed to learn to get up on her own, knowing I was still there. Her eyes found me and I held out my arms. She came back for some reassurance, a pat on the bum, and marched right back out there.
And right back to him. But you know what else? She stood her ground. And he didn’t push her over again.
Which got me thinking about bullying this morning. Does it start this early?
I guess it does.
So in this day, where bullying is one of the hottest topics in the news and in the school, here is my opinion:
Get your shit together, parents. Seriously. We’re all talking about what to do when your child is bullied and how to help them. But I say how about we avoid creating bullies from the beginning? What’s that old saying about an ounce of prevention?
The solution starts long before a child goes to school. The solution starts with being present in your child’s life and remembering that its your fucking job to teach them right from wrong and how to do better. To teach them not to push my kid down and like it. That little kid liked it because it got him some attention. Someone, anyone, noticed him for it. But not his parents. And so his next attempt will be bigger and better until they finally snap their heads out of the sound and pay attention.
Seriously. Think about it. We all want to feel valued. Important to the Universe. Special. Memorable. Kids bully other kids because it makes them feel like King Shit of Turd Island, that’s why.
So I say: Give them a better reason to feel all those things. Play a sport, or an instrument, or take an art class. Something that makes them feel like you give a shit and are paying attention to the great things they accomplish instead of just the asshole stuff.
And when you see him or her push down one of the Whos in the play area, go over and correct them. While they’re 2. While they’re small.
While they still give a shit what you think.