Hey all, how are you?
So this week is National Anti Bullying week and only last night on Facebook I read a post by a friend about her four year old son who is in reception coming home from school covered in scratches and refusing to go back after a bully had been picking on him at school. Being honest this really shocked me as you struggle to believe that four year olds could be capable of bullying.
Fast forward to this morning and after a night of hardly any sleep from me Nate came in to our bedroom in tears and wanting to talk. Nate who is my eldest son and in Year two at Infant School as I have written before is a beautiful, loving boy who loves all the rufty tufty boy stuff but also loves singing and art. He told us that he didn’t want to go to school as some boys have been being nasty to him. He was literally breaking his heart and I could feel mine breaking in the process. I had never imagined that at the age of six we would be having tears and upset about such a thing. now I’m not saying this is full on bullying but as a parent when a usually very happy child is in tears and worried to go to school this is something that concerned me greatly.
To see one of your children in such a state is truly horrible and I can’t even imagine how other parents must feel when sadly we know that bullying is commonplace in our world today. I remember my own days at school at how nasty and unkind children and teenagers can be to each other but as you grow and make solid friendships you almost block out things that happened at school if you can. This however bought it all back to me, how children can make cruel jibes at each other and particularly anything that is different.
I am not for a second suggesting that this is all children or all the time and I know that mostly Nate and his brother who are at the same school have a lovely and happy time however as a mum one morning of tears was enough. I have of course spoken to the school who have been very good and reassuring about how they will deal with this. It’s an amazing school so I would never think they would do anything less. But how do I deal with it? I want to teach my children to stand up for themselves and not be oversensitive but I also don’t want them to be full on or aggressive. How do we equip our children with the ability to be strong and yet gentle? To know that the best thing to do is to tell a grown up and to not let themselves be scared or put off by the inevitable mean person you will meet in life?
We can’t protect our children from everything, we can’t wrap them up in cotton wool but in a world so full of things that potentially they need to worry about surely it’s not too much to ask that they can get through Infant School without being scared of others or feeling like they don’t want to go in? It should be about learning, fun, exploring, meeting people, developing skills, laughing, smiling and gaining independence. Why does no one tell you how hard being a parent is and just how frustrating it is to not only not have all the answers but also to not be able to be there all the time to get them through tough times.
As Dr Seuss said, ‘Be yourself, because the people who mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind’.
Build your children up, let them know how fab the are and how important their voice is.