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Anchor Mom: Helping Kids find Strength

Bullying VictimToday there is a video going viral on social media that shows a mother asking her daughter to repeat her experience with bullying at school and on the bus.  The little girl is obviously embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk about the incident.  Her little brother, maybe a kindergartener witnessed the most recent round of bullying and repeats the words of the bullies (which are quite shocking and disturbing).  Watch the video here.

Earlier this year I had to help my kindergartener deal with a bully at school.  She found strength by listening to the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.  We talked about how being brave is “doing something even though you are scared”.  We role played saying mean things to each other and responding.   But what seemed to help the most was finding the other kids who were also targets of bullying (or even worse in some ways – being completely ignored).

After weeks of not wanting to go to school, there was a breakthrough one day.  I’m not sure what changed, but Olivia finally had the courage to say “You are mean, and I don’t like it and other kids don’t like it and we want you to go away.”  After that, there was never another problem.  And the next week, Olivia actually invited that person to be her guest at snack time.  I’ve never been more proud.

I wish I could help this little 3rd grader from Minnesota.  As I listen to her struggle to tell her story my heart breaks for her.  I hope by sharing my own experience with bullying and how my family handled it, it will encourage more brainstorming and discussion.

Do you have an experience with bullying?  Ideas for handling it? Leave your comments and let’s discuss this important issue.

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  1. C. Stewart says:

    I am a mother of 2 kids. Growing up I was lucky. I had a twin sister around me most of the time. I am worried about the bullying situation at schools. I try really hard to have my children treat each other & others respectfully as much as possible to a 2 & 4 year old.
    I always think about starting a group that could grow to each and every school joined by both parents, teachers and students. As adults we are monitored by our peers, management and HR to work professionally with no harassment tolerated. Why should school be any different? Teaching this lesson early would only help & benefit them for their futures. I know teachers are not paid to be baby sitters and have often said they “don’t want to get involved” but they are. They can and should observe and report it to the principal. Confidentially if needed! Kids who harass & assault other kids should be held accountable. “No tolerance” should be broadcasted throughout schools daily. Yes they are young and second chances may be appropriate at times with counseling and a form of discipline, but expelled from school if it continues. I also know some of these kids that do the bullying need help just as much as the victims and I believe it is the schools job to find that out not other parents and victims of their treatment since they are allowing them to attend the school.
    I hope to keep thinking about ideas to help both sides and come to a happy compromise that would work for all. Like keeping those kids who are bullying in a class together & even do the free online school program monitored by 1 teacher and have different recess time then the other children so that they do not have the opportunity to harass. Then if progress is shown they can join in the regular activities again.
    As a parent I am going to expect a lot from the school my children attend and will try to be involved as much as possible. This was a great article and I loved your ideas in working with your children to be “brave.” Another important life lesson.
    Thank you

    1. Ashley Hall says:

      C. – You brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my arms! I agree that teachers have to be involved. Though, there is certainly a fine line between letting kids learn to handle things on their own and realizing what is reasonable to expect of children when it comes to standing up for themselves. I don’t think it’s a black and white answer. It’s one that needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Your kids are so lucky to have a parent who has started to teach respect at an early age. I’m trying to teach that same lesson to my 2 year old. Maybe our “babies” will be in school together in a few years! Then, they can stand up for the same ideals together.

  2. Jackie Greer says:

    I still deal regularly with the pain and insecurity that is the legacy of school bullying, even at age 57! I cried for the girl in the video. I too just wanted to fit in, to be liked, but being extremely short due to a physical issue precluded that. Thank God I have an Anchor Mom and Anchor Brother with me in Spirit and an Anchor Dad with me physically. The love of my family is my place of refuge even today. Nothing can heal the pain as much as the love of family, birth or otherwise. Even today, I do not have the security to handle critical remarks well. I struggle to “consider the source” and let it go if it’s just some tactless moment on another’s part. And I am learning to challenge tactless idiots–what a great feeling!

    1. Ashley Hall says:

      Thank you for sharing, Jackie! I agree that family is the best place to find support and refuge.

  3. Danielle Craig says:

    Growing up my mom had the best motto for bullying, exactly what Olivia eventually did – kill them with kindness.

    A girl several grades older than me just terrorized me in school. I came home crying for weeks. Finally, my mom said, “We need to get that girl a big cookie.” I thought there was no way I’d be part of that! But after a little bit of convincing, I was in on the plan.

    I gave my bully a huge m&m cookie with a card. The next day, she brought me a homemade potpourri sock with a note that said, “I am sorry for being mean to you. If anyone is mean to you – I’ll beat them up.”

    We ended up becoming friends and her bullying days were behind her.

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