The school environment can be so tough and over the years it has broken my heart when one of my kids has come home upset because of mean things that have been said or done to them. Being called names like “Buck Teeth” or “Stinky Breath” come to mind, but there have been many others and some I could never repeat. Kids can be so cruel but I often wonder where it has come from and it is most likely coming from what they have seen and heard at home.
The dinner table conversation is an area that we monitor closely. I definitely had things said to me at school as a child that I was too young to understand and my friends shouldn’t have known either. One example is when my parents were having money problems that were very public and as much as they kept us protected from it, other parents had spoken far too much about it in the company of their kids, which resulted in coins being thrown in my direction and other kids at school saying terrible things about my family.
I know some people have had it far worse and that my experiences were very mild by comparison, but it could have been totally avoided if the parents had been more careful about how they spoke and what gossip they discussed in front of their kids.
I hope that my kids are never the ones to be unkind but I can’t be there all the time to oversee everything they do, so the best I can do is to try and give them the tools needed to navigate life. I want them to be kind to everyone and be aware that their actions and words can do real damage to others.
Hearing the awful stories about kids relentlessly bullied at school is heartbreaking and the beautiful lives that have ended far too early as a result is too much to bear. It is terrifying as a parent to think that it could happen to your child.
I think it’s really crucial to explain the importance of speaking up if they hear or see anything unkind, or if they feel like someone is struggling. Sometimes one person’s kind words can make a world of difference and may just change a life for the better.