I had serious beef with a five year old that isn’t mine.
We were at the playground. My youngest, nearly three, was climbing up into a swing when another child came over and hip checked her, á la Wayne Gretzsky. When I told her (gently) that it wasn’t her turn and that she could have the next spot, it was clear she had other plans. Well, I'm sure this guy had other plans for his teeth, too.
Her mother saw us chatting from across the park, but never approached. Eventually my daughter and I moved on, waiting for the next opening. But I was furious.
This was the first time I saw my daughter be bullied, and it hurt. Despite her indifference to the situation, I was thankful that I had been there to protect her, as she can’t compete with a girl twice her age. But let’s face it, I am several times the bully’s age, and still couldn’t reason with her. It scared the shit out of me.
I am doing what I can to teach my kids about bullying. We are big fans of the book “The Juice Box Bully” and the promise it encourages us all to make to take action against such behavior.
My hope has always been to teach my children enough respect and compassion to keep them from being anything close to a bully. But as the above crash course illustrated perfectly, I can’t stop another person from doing it to them.
In hindsight, I have come to admit that I too can be a bit of a bully. I think we all can be at times... I love making fun of Taylor Swift on Twitter. Granted, the chance of her seeing one of my lame jokes is even smaller than that of her recording a ballad duet with Kanye, but it doesn't matter. On that playground, I started to feel the pangs of guilt for it. And I felt terribly for her mother.
Thankfully, there is something I can do. I can support my kids in making the Juice Box Bully Promise. I can even make it myself, and encourage you to do the same.
I guarantee Taylor Swift’s mother will thank you.
For more information on The Juice Box Bully & it's promise, click here.