When Justin was 4 years old, we had a play date with extended family. At this play date were various age kids that knew each other. Justin was the outsider, and my heart broke as I watch him try to play with them. They were running from him, hiding together while making up names for him. He did not realize their intent and thought the running and hiding was a game. Few things are harder than seeing your child rejected by their peers. It is important we talk to our kids about bullying others and being a victim of bullying.
I was a bully. As the youngest of 5 kids, I rarely back down from confrontation. I know I owe many apologies to classmates over the years for verbal attacks. I don’t remember ever getting called out on it at school or in organizations for it. My mother would have been devastated, as she felt I was the sweetest person in the world. Schools and organizations now have programs to fight bullying. It is a great way to be involved at your school or organization in order to get to know other parents and kids. Christians need to shine the light in this area in public and at home. Bullying is abuse and it needs to be addressed –especially in the Christian home.
Conflict management based on biblical principles needs to be taught, practiced and modeled to children everyday at home. Trish Berg is a writer and speaker who equips and encourages parents in this area. I have included a link to her blog here as it has a great practical steps approach called S.T.O.P. to teach and practice with kids. It is filled with applicable biblical references to move families toward conflict management techniques to protect themselves and help others in the community.
Practical Parenting Tip: We taught our children to say “so” when someone taunts them. Saying “so” deflates the abusive language of a bully.
Website we like: Peacemaker.net