Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Be The Bully or The Bullied?

Today at Chapters I sat and watched my son interact with another boy slightly older than him. My son had brought one of his own toys in and was playing with it and this boy took it out of my son's hands. The boy's mother didn't say anything. There is always one of these mothers there every time I go. Her child does whatever it wants, to the point where the poor person who works there has to confront the child and ask them to stop ___________ (this blank is filled with whatever outlandish thing the child is doing that anyone with a thought would know they shouldn't be allowing their child to do and stop their child from continuing, without some poor person half their age on minimum wage having to point out).

My son looked at the boy and then back at me. He simply said "hey" in a quiet voice to the boy. Now we have always taught our son to share but at what point are you teaching him to roll over and take it. Generally I have taught my son to let the other child have a turn, then he could have it back. This is however when another child expresses interest in the toy he has. As I watched the expression on his face as his toy was ripped from his hand I thought of myself and the oh-too common feeling of just standing there when someone has wronged you. Instead of expressing anger I express hurt or nothing at all and hope the other party feels bad, they never do.

I don't want my son to be rude, but at the same time I do not want him to feel helpless. I do not want him come home from somewhere running over the things he should or could have said when he was wronged. I do not want him to repeatedly have his feelings hurt because a 'friend' said something rude and he said nothing to defend himself. I don't want him to feel bombarded by a stronger personality. I don't want him picking fights but I also don't want him settling to avoid them. All these are thing I feel and do too often. His father expresses his opinions and confronts someone who has wronged him, they exchange their thoughts and words, then they both get over. This is a trait I admire in him.

I hope both of my children have my calmness but their father's 'freedom of speech'. So what did my son tell the boy in the store today? I told him to ask the boy "May I please have it back", which my son did. This didn't work on the other boy but at least he tried and voiced his words.

I never want my son to be a bully, but I don't want him to be bullied either. This brings us to the question is it better to be the bully or the bullied?

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