When adults bully our kids

By Anne Collier

Just because bullying of children by children is in the news a lot doesn’t mean it’s new, growing, or done only by children. But it remains a problem – a very serious one for some children (see this ) – and “we will never address the bullying problem between our students if we don’t address it among ourselves,” writes educator Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes in her blog. I completely agree. We need to address bullying among ourselves not just for our own sake but for our children’s. How does this help them? Because the adults around them need to set good, not bad, examples for them and because – since the research shows quite simply that what goes ’round comes ’round (see this ) – our children will have better social experiences online and offline when the adults around them are teaching them respect toward others as well as modeling it. In other words, when we’re walking the talk!

So Wiseman wrote that helpful post (linked to above) about how adults can deal with adult bullies in the workplace. What about how parents can deal with adult bullies who are bullying their kids – e.g., teachers or coaches? Amy Jussel of ShapingYouth.org interviewed Wiseman, giving her six what-if’s – actual examples of adults’ abuses of power in students’ experiences – and asking her how she’d advise parents on how to help their kids deal with those situations (to get to the interview, scroll down this page to the third yellow box on it). I highly recommend this interview to teens as well as parents, even if they’re not aware of any such power abuses in their kids’ school lives, because it opens thought up to how all of us can respond to power abuses calmly, respectfully, and ethically – the only way to respond if there is any desire to stop cycles of retaliation and create school and workplace cultures of respect.

Related links

* Rosalind Wiseman’s good and bad examples in the Huffington Post of anti-bullying videos and PSAs (it’s important that schools get this right too – what to use and not use in teaching civil, respectful behavior)
* Alye Pollack’s “Words Do Hurt” video (linked to above) received a beautiful response in YouTube: “A Song for Alye Pollack,” posted and presumably written and performed by “JoeySixx1.”

Leave a comment