Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whose fault is it...... a rant in B major

I had a great visit with my buddy Steven. He arrived Wednesday evening, and returned on Sunday afternoon. This blog post is of because of something that happened while he was here, though it has nothing to do with him. My nieces spent the evening here Friday night, and stayed all day Saturday until their parents came down for supper. Early in the day on Saturday, one of my nieces made a comment that bothered me. That bothers me still: "Some of the kids at school aren't very nice to _______"

I was picked on a lot in school. I went to a Christian school, and most of the kids there were from Christian homes, but it still happened. I still carry the effects and scars of what I went through in school and later, to a lesser degree, in Bible college. Bullies are everywhere. Whether you send your kids to public or Christian school, or even home school them - they will run into a bully somewhere.

I don't know the kid in question very well at my nieces' school. Seems like a nice kid, normal, etc, so I am not sure why some of the kids "aren't very nice." In my case, it seemed to mostly be because I wasn't much into sports, nor good at them, so I was bullied and picked on - explains why to this day I detest most sports.

What I got to wondering about in this situation, and even in mine, is whose fault is it when kids are bullies and "not nice" to other kids? Is it the bullies' fault? The one being bullied? The parents? Or even the teachers?

In my experience, it seems all too often kids aren't watched well enough at school. Looking back, I wonder why my teachers didn't see more, why someone didn't put a stop to the way I was treated. I am in no way knocking our teachers - I am all for Christian schools and feel we have some great teachers, and in fact, the situation my niece mentioned was addressed by a teacher or the principal...... but is it the teacher's fault when kids are bullied? Only if it is because of a lack of supervision, and kids can't be watched constantly. I was picked on when the teacher left the room for any reason, so barring a security camera, that couldn't have stopped that abuse.

To blame the kid being bullied reeks of the same attitude as saying a girl deserved or asked to be raped. So I wasn't into nor good at sports - did that make me bad, less of a human, less of a boy? Did that made me deserve to be a target? I don't think so. I deserved to be liked, have friends - surely that shouldn't hinge on a boy's participation and talent at sports.

Is it the bullies' fault? Kids will be kids, and of course the ultimate decision on how a kid treats others is his or her own choice.

I believe the ultimate blame for a bully is the parents. How to treat others should be part of child training. Don't just assume your kids are going to be nice and kind to others. Train them to be.

A friend of mine from church told me something interesting. As a child, her family traveled a lot in evangelism, singing and preaching. They went to a lot of camp meetings during the summer, and her parents taught them that when they went to a camp meeting, to seek out the kids that no one else was hanging around, and befriend them. I think that is totally awesome. What if all parents trained their kids to do that - not just at camp meetings, but at school, church, everywhere they are around other kids.

I'm afraid all too many parents just think their kids are angels and would never be a bully. One of my worst bullies was a cousin of mine - yeah, I even got picked on by my cousins, lucky kid I was! When I was in 9th grade, among other things, while some other boys held me down, he tried to force a pencil up my nose. We had some family problems due to his actions, and a few years later, my aunt and uncle asked my parents if it was true that he really tried to stick a pencil up my nose - they seemed to find it hard to believe that THEIR son would do such a thing. But oh, he did.

Parents may even be training their kids to be bullies, and not realizing it. When a parent talks critically or even makes fun of someone else in their kids' hearing, their kids get the idea that it is ok to do that, so naturally it is going to affect how they treat other kids.

Kids don't always do what they are trained to do, and not everything a kid does is their parents' fault, but I firmly believe that if parents were careful about how they treat others, and how they talk about them - and trained their kids to be kind and friendly to others, even when they aren't like them, there would be far less bullies, and kids would treat other kids nicer.


Kim M. said...

I completely agree with you.

Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Kim M. said...

"How to treat others should be part of child training. Don't just assume your kids are going to be nice and kind to others. Train them to be."

Big Amen. Great post!

Molly said...

Awesome thoughts and questions! I often wonder the same thing! Totally agreeing with you!


Kim M. said...

I like this post so well,do you mind if I link to it?

Pam said...

I completely agree with you too. I used to teach school and always tried to watch the kids to make sure nothing like this happened. I had one parent tell me their son was only "being a boy." (He wasn't my student. I went to them because he kept picking on my daughter, among others.)
However, most boys don't steal lunch money from others or try to beat them up. It went back to the fact they never held him accountable for his actions.

Craig and Heather said...

I'm so sorry you had such an awful experience! I spent some time in public school and was appalled at some of the stuff kids did/said.

Sin is like a cancer that infects the heart of every person ever born (Except Jesus).

Unfortunately, the lack of godly parental care and supervision has produced a largely hateful society that revels in wickedness.

As the Bible says

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.



teacherprincess said...

Thank you for addressing this problem as a teacher I would like to address this but have to be so careful... What amazes me is that some people are so dismissive about it, without realizing that there are some things that they do to this day because of something they have been teased about in the past. Some of the ways that you view yourself still has the residue from childhood taunts on the glass. It is vital in this day and age to learn this lesson. As parents teachers and family members we are responsible for those who we are helping to raise.

Ps... I would call it a rant in A major.

Christy said...

As someone who was picked on in elementary school, and then taught in a christian school, I think that I have some knowledge on this subject. While I agree that it is a parent problem in MOST cases, there are some kids that practically beg to be picked on. I taught one. No matter what, she always turned the tables and provided perfect opportunities to the kids.
I think a major problem with the parents though, is the fact that behind closed doors many of them "pick on" people privately and choose not to associate with some people because of their supposed "oddities". Kids will almost ALWAYS follow the example of the parents in this type of situation, only they will take it a step further and instead of doing it behind closed doors they will pick on and bully the kids they don't like.