Sunday, September 25, 2011

On Bullying

henrywashington 174 henrywashington 182

I guess I've never been a real assertive person myself. I'm always tiptoeing around other's feelings, afraid of starting any kind of controversy. I can't even count the number of times I've left a situation thinking, "I wish I would have done this..." or "I really should have said this". Being strong and standing up for myself is something I've always struggled with.

Sometimes I watch Henry play and I imagine the type of child and adult I hope that he becomes. I want him to excel in the things I've struggled with and to avoid the things I wish I had never done.

Last week at Soft Play Henry was picked on by four kids. He's pretty tall and easy going so kids usually just leave him alone. I don't know why Friday was an exception, maybe I had dressed him in some outfit that kids found nerdy? Maybe the words on his new shirt were really baby language for, "Hey! Push my face into the slide!"? Or maybe these kids had just eaten a boatload of Chik-fil-A and they were ready. to. go. man. I don't know. Each time though these kids singled him out. From across the room they'd come running and tackle him to the ground, sitting on him and clawing his skin until he was panicked.

In each situation, Henry did nothing. He just kind of looked at the kids like, "Why are you doing this to me? What's going on? MOM?!" I know he's only 19 months, I wasn't expecting him to say anything or push the kids down. I just couldn't stop wondering if this was a reflection of his personality and it scared me. I don't want him to be okay with other kids walking all over him. I don't want him to be afraid to speak his mind. How do you teach a child to handle situations like these appropriately without being the bully themselves?
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