I've been toying with this post for a while. Mostly in my head. Not sure how to write it. Not sure what to share.
The beginning of school is creeping up. As I have told you, we are sending the monsters back to school after having spent some time doing the whole homeschool thing. If you spoke to me personally after wepulled Reagan out last October, you probably got an earful about how horrible our experience was at the last school. You probably heard me cry, you listened to me say bad things about the teachers and administration, you encouraged me and told me I was doing the right thing. And for that, I thank you.
Bullying starts at home. Let's get one thing crystal clear: It's a parent's job to teach a child not to be a butthead. They learn this behavior from us. And it can be simple things... like your kid overhears you and a friend making fun of another friend, like you scoffing when your spouse says something hurts his/her feelings. When we degrade others, speak ill of others (even friends, even in jest), disregard other's feelings, we are teaching our kids to be buttheads. They, in turn, take that behavior out into the world. It's an ugly circle. We can stop it.
Tell an adult, the adult will help you. This idea is lovely. You know what else is a nice thought, being able to ride a unicorn to Starbucks for a completely calorie-free venti mocha frappe. My kid did tell a grown up. Actually she told many grown ups. And she got this response most often: "Well, I didn't see it, so there's nothing I can do." I'd like to say, "Duh you didn't see it. Don't be a stupid grown up. What kind of idiot picks on another kid with an adult listening?" Once, the Assistant Principal actually pressed her to name the kids, then called those kids into the office so my terrorized child could call them out to their faces... of course the kids said they didn't do anything malicious. And the AP "had to believe them." It took everything inside me not to march in there and rip him a new one.
Do not blame the teachers. Seriously, I don't. When I was talking to friends about our situation, a lot asked what the teachers did (or didn't do). I have no ill-will toward her third grade teachers. The second grade ones are not on the short list of people I like, but it's for a few things, not only this. Teachers have a lot on their plates. It is not easy to monitor, coordinate, manage and educate 25+ people constantly for 7 hours. Sometimes things slip by without notice. Her third grade teachers were very upset, heartbroken, when I spoke to them about removing her. They offered to work with us, but by that time it had been too much, too long, too devastating. We had to act. We had to make a drastic move on our child's behalf. We had to protect her. She needed us to.
It starts and stops at home, but the school needs to help. I think we need to fix our system. It's not enough to tell kids to speak up. It's not enough to tell them not to be mean. It's not enough when they do just what we've asked them to and then we treat them like liars or shrug and tell them there's nothing we can do to help. It is not ok for parents to think they have no responsibility... we have MOST of it. It IS our job to raise our kids to be kind, empathetic, loving, supportive humans. It is OUR job to make sure we are not raising buttheads.
What do you think? Am I off the mark? Do you have anything to add?
My oldest child, Reagan, is 10 and my son Riley is 8. I'm also currently pregnant with baby 3! Everyday is a crazy day in the life of the Stus!