Monday, November 17, 2014

Confessions of a Former Bully

Bullying is such a hot topic right now. We are getting so much information from the school about it: special night events at school about how to stop bullying, letters about how bullying won't be tolerated, special initiatives and on and on.

Most of the information is along the lines of how to teach your child what to do when someone is bullying them.

-Tips on how to report bullying
-How to stand up to a bully
-Strategies to stay safe from bullies
-Helping other kids who are being bullied

But is that all we want to do? Teach our kids how to handle bullies? Are there bullies that they can't do anything about and so we just have to learn how to tolerate them?

Why don't we hear more information about how to teach someone NOT to bully? Wouldn't that be a more productive way to address the issue?

My daughter is a loving, kind, intelligent girl and this week she came home to tell me that one of her classmates is telling others that she is a bully and a snitch (which, isn't that bullying?). As sweet as she is, our girl is a strong willed, confident, first-born who is destined to be a leader one day. She's learned how to use her leadership power to manipulate her younger brother and friends. We've discussed with her how she gets to choose whether her leadership gifts will either be used for good or for bad. She's navigating the elementary years and trying to figure out how she fits in the world.

Being labeled as a bully is a real stigma. I'd say that many kids who bully don't even realize they are bullying others. Being a bully in my day was characterized as the big kid who beat up the little kid and took his lunch money. But now bullying is any kid who is picking on someone else or using their words (not just fists) to get others to do what they want. And there is also cyber-bullying to be concerned about also.

I happened on this book the other day at the library and I want to highly recommend if you are concerned your child might be bullying others you have a child.

It gives a grace filled look at what being a bully really means and how to change. It is written from a child's perspective in a great 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid/Dear Dumb Diary' style that makes it a fun and engaging read for kids. But it's full of great information on both sides of the bullying issue: How to not bully others and how to deal with someone who bullies.

I really appreciate a look at this issue from the bully's point of view. That the bully is a girl is even better and more helpful for my daughter. The main character of the book talks about how bullying hurts everyone, even the person who bullies.

I think that most kids will probably find themselves on both sides if they are honest. I know mine are learning and growing and hopefully they are learning lessons like these and I'd love it if more people shared this book with their children.

I did NOT receive a copy of this book for my review, just thought it was worth reviewing.

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