There seems to be bullying in Rachel's year again. Last year Rachel found it really hard, this year she's coping much better but some of her friends are finding it a major cause of worry.
I am impressed with the efforts of the school in trying to deal with it and bringing it to an end. But hearing some of the kids speak has made me realise that we need to talk to our kids about bullying and bullies without any hate or blame.
I have tried to teach Rachel to ignore people who are mean to her or exclude her. I've tried to encourage her to have a wide circle of friends and to be as self reliant as possible. I've also tried to get her to tell her teachers or me if she witnesses anyone being mean to someone else.
But I honestly don't think this is enough. As I have talked with Rachel and her friends I have realised that there can become a circle of hatred towards 'bullies'. We need to help our kids understand where bullying behaviour comes from. And we need to not label anyone as a bully, especially at such a young age. These are difficult lessons and ones we need to help all our kids with.
Here are some of the things I've tried to talk to the kids about and which I hope might help.
1. Children don't always know that they are leaving people out, that's not their fault.
2. Perhaps the child hears some of these things or sees them outside school and thinks its ok.
3. Children who are mean to others are often sad or feeling upset about things in their life.
4. A child who is being bullied is not in the wrong, they are lovely and need to remember that.
5. Everyone makes good and bad choices in life. As we grow up we need to learn how to say sorry for our mistakes and forgive people who hurt us.
6. We are all special people, we like different things and different people and that's ok. What matters is to be nice to everyone even when they're different to us.
If you have anything else I can share with these young 6&7 year old kids then please let me know.