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We talk about bullying–sometimes called social aggression–pretty much. The Parent Education calendar includes an upcoming conversation, “Helping our Boys Find their Way: Boys and Relational Aggression” with social worker Bob Blazich on Dec. 3 at 8:30 in the MS Dining Room. (Note change of location)
Early in November, Jon Hisgen from the DPI talked about bullying on our webcast, Parents as Partners.
I asked Jon, “Is there really a bullying problem in today’s schools?” His response is noteworthy:
“In my life, I look back at my teaching career and say, ‘What were things I did as a teacher that were power and control like over students?’ I’ve pondered this forever since I’ve been involved in this whole issue, because I think there is a component that we all have in looking at how we respond to others that could be detrimental in our relationships to others. I think that there are teacher bullys, there are administrator bullys, sadly enough, there are parent bullys, both their own children and the school system as well.”
“We need to look at our own behaviors as teachers. . . . We need to look at parents in terms of this issue of maybe modeling some questionable behavior in terms of bullying-like behavior themselves.”
I’m hoping I can use Jon’s approach when thinking about bullying in our community. Look in the mirror. Ponder how I’ve used power and control over other people. Recognize that, like all people, I’m capable of behaving in ways that are detrimental–hurtful, controlling, just plain mean–to others.
If I expect this behavior from my children, I have to expect it from myself first. Then, I have to expect it from the adults around me. This approach, I hope, will go a long way toward contributing to a bully-free community.
(Bob Blazich’s session is geared toward parents of boys in 4th-8th grade. Wondering about girls? Let me know!)