|“I want my children to grow up secure in the knowledge that there is always someone else to blame for their problems.”|
(This material is copyrighted. It is meant to help as many people as possible. You may copy and pass it on to others on the condition that proper credit is given to the author and that this message remains in place.)Are you responsible for children on a daily basis? Are you a parent or a teacher or a school aide or a principal? Then you surely encounter the problem of teasing and bullying practically every day. If the incidents continue despite everything you do to stop them, then what you are doing clearly isn’t working. You may think it’s working because you obtain a short period of quiet after you handle the incident. But if the incidents keep recurring with the same children, it means you haven’t succeeded in teaching them how to stop being teased and bullied.
Let’s stop and ask ourselves what we want for our children. Do we want them to be easily hurt by words? Do we want them to be emotionally weak and vulnerable? Do we want them to feel they need to turn to adults for help whenever they run into friction with other kids? Of course not! We want them to be tough and resilient.
We want them to remain cool when others try to antagonize them. We want them to understand that offensive words are nothing to get upset about. We want them to be able to handle conflicts on their own without becoming consumed by anger. And another thing we supposedly want them to do is cherish living in a modern democratic society that values freedom of speech. So I hope you’ll feel at least a little shocked to discover how you’ve actually been educating your children to be precisely the opposite of the way you intend them to be.
The amazing truth is that the great majority of adults handle incidents of aggression in the wrong way. And rather than helping the children, we are actually hurting them. We unwittingly teach them to be vulnerable, and force them to continue in their roles of victim and bully. I sincerely hope that when you read my explanation of what really goes on when adults try to help children, it will seem so obvious that you will wonder why you didn’t realize it all along. I also hope that you will like my method of dealing with the problem so much that you will want to introduce it to all the parents, teachers, and principals you know. Perhaps together we can bring about a revolution in the way we deal with our children — a revolution that will promote the emotional resilience and independence we want for them while freeing us from the frustrating, time consuming task of handling their endless stream of petty quarrels.
Move on to the next section to see how we’ve been unwittingly misguiding our children, or click on to any of the other eye-opening chapters that catch your fancy.