Tell me again how you want to know if your kid is a bully. Tell me again how you want to know if your kid is not sharing, not being kind, not being generous. Tell me again how you want to know if your child is not showing true character and I will say, bull shit.
You actually do not want to know. How do I know this? Because you've been told and your answers have been:
My kid did not meant it.
My kid was joking.
It's not bullying, it is teasing.
My kid is misunderstood.
My kid is second (or third, or fourth) child so he/she can handle more.
My kid was not really involved.
My kid said he/she did not do it.
Excuses. Fucking excuses. All of them. And I barely scratched the surface of the excuses floating around for why kids these days are little shits and get away with it.
We do not honor and respect other children or adults. Students these days tell their teachers no and tell their parents no. Students these days don't get punished for disrespect. They get excuses. Teachers' hands are tied. They cannot take recess because the child may or may not have ADHD and needs the movement. Teachers can not require students to come in early because the parents work and cannot get them there. Teachers can not make children have silent lunch because the parent will scream and yell that their kid was singled out and embarrassed. When another student is picked on, teased on, bullied, we talk about emotions and how the students feel. But we sure as hell don't punish, take away recess, take a field trip, or make a bold statement that all the other kids can see and learn from. We discuss emotions. We do not take action.
I get it, mental health is an issue but it is not an excuse. Penelope has anxiety. Major anxiety. I don't talk about it a lot because this is her demon to fight, but it causes many issues. HOWEVER, we are dealing with it. Professionally and personally. And when her anxiety gets the best of her and her emotions spiral out of control, she gets PUNISHED. We DO NOT make excuses for her. We DO NOT say, your anxiety got the best of you so all those hurtful words and actions are excused. We do not say oh you were adopted, you have a reason to behave like this. FUCK NO. We take her iPad, play date, a friend's birthday party, whatever it takes to STOP THE DISRESPECT. Punishments work. Does she sometimes say she hates us? Yes. But you can be damn sure, Penelope is learning respect and honorable behavior.
How do I know this? Because at school and in public, she is generous and kind and helping the underdog. I know my kid is not a bully. I know because the teachers tell me how great of a person she is.
If your teachers are not telling you that your child helps others and they only talk about grades, ASK ABOUT THEIR CHARACTER. ASK ABOUT WHAT MATTERS. Grades do not dictate their future, their heart does. Their work ethic does. Their character does. As proud as you are that your child makes straight As, maybe you should wonder what they do when they see another child crying. Maybe you should ask what they do when another child trips and falls. Maybe you should ask who they played with at recess and sat with at lunch. Maybe you should look at the class roster and ask why they don't play with certain children - their answers will astonish you.
Do we have a gun problem? Yes. Do I have a solution? No.
Do we have a respect problem? A parenting problem? Yes.
Do I have a solution? Yes.
STOP BEING YOUR KID'S FRIEND. BE A PARENT.
Parents make their child's life difficult with rules that demand respect and honesty. Parents are the adults and should know better than the child. Parents should realize no matter how "sweet" and "kind" your kid is at home, they have the POTENTIAL to be a shit at school and make another child's life a living hell. Every child has the POTENTIAL to be a bully. EVERY CHILD.
What separates the children with emotional problems that are handled and those that are ignored: PARENTS.
It is 2018, why is therapy frowned upon? Why is getting your child help looked down upon? Why is it seen as a weakness? We are in an era of knowledge and yet, parents will not seek help. They will not get their child looked at for attention problems, emotional problems, or academic problems.
WHY? Because "NOT MY KID."
In 2018, we blame teachers and schools. We blame a lack of communication, a lack of responding to emails quickly, a lack of seasoned teachers. We blame education vs blaming ourselves. If your child is not doing well in school, it is NOT the teacher's fault or another student's fault. It is actually YOUR CHILD's fault and YOURS. Yes, you, the parent. It is your job to teach them how to study, how to time manage, how to do honest, respectful, independent work. It is your job to create a culture where teachers are held to a higher standard. It is your job to create an environment in which your child knows their character is the most important thing in the world. It is your job to teach generosity, honesty, respect, and how to be a good person.
If an educator tells you your child has an issue, it is the truth and that teacher thought long and hard about how to tell you. If another parent tells you your child did something to their kid, it is the truth. Adults are not trying to sabotage your child. The grown ups are not going after your child. We all say it takes a village but no one is listening to the village!!
If you say you want to be told when and if your kid has done something, then you better be damn prepared to listen and do something.
No more excuses.
No more saying "not my kid."
It is YOUR KID. It is ALL OUR KIDS.
WAKE UP. GET YOUR CHILD HELP. Swallow your pride and know NOT getting your child help is worse than being honest about your child needing help.
BE A PARENT.
NO MORE EXCUSES.
NO MORE LYING.
NO MORE MISUNDERSTANDINGS.
Let us take advantage of all the cliches. If it takes a village and you want to know and you say character is important and you say not everyone deserves a trophy and you say be a graceful winner and not a sore loser and if you say you want to make a difference, then DO IT.
ACCOUNTABILITY does not come with thoughts and prayers.
ACCOUNTABILITY TAKES ACTION.