Knowing that one of my main goals as a parent is to raise my sons – above all else – to be kind to people, my mom sent me this great article on fostering kindness. In My Worst Nightmare – What if I Accidentally Raise the Bully? by Leslie Blanchard, the author describes how her 4th grade daughter and her friends were not “bullying” their classmate, Bethany, in the traditional sense. They were not name-calling or being actively aggressive, but they were “excluding” Bethany for no good reason other than that they “could.” Instead of shrugging this off as “girls being girls”, the author decided to do something about it.
You can read the full article here, but there’s an excerpt that particularly resonated with me:
“I firmly believe we’ve got to start to address our country’s bullying epidemic right at the heart; by re-defining bullying at its very core. To me, the rejection and complete lack of interest my daughter and her ‘clique’ displayed toward Bethany was the beginning of a subtle type of bullying. It is true, (confirmed to me by Bethany’s mom and teachers), that there was no overt unkindness or name-calling etc., just rejection; a complete lack of interest in someone they wrongly concluded had nothing to offer them.
We ‘helicopter’ over our kids’ wardrobes, nutrition, sleep schedules, hygiene, science fair projects and then pride ourselves on how ‘hands off’ we are on social issues. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to say, ‘Seriously? You micro-manage every thing your child does from his gluten intake to his soccer cleats, but THIS you stay out of?’ No wonder there’s zero accountability and a bullying culture!”
Here’s to raising kids to be not only kind, smart and confident, but also to fostering what is equally important – kids who are inclusive.
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