I took my children, and two girls I babysit, to the library the other day. While I was standing at the desk helping Beth and the older girl check out their items, I heard a woman hissing/yelling a few feet away. I turned around to see this woman scolding her child. I personally cannot imagine any child doing something worthy of such ugly words.
Almost immediately following the interaction, the child singled out Anne and the younger girl. She first approached the girl I babysit and got very close to her face saying something. I could not hear the words, but I saw the mean expression on her face, and the combative body language. Thankfully, I was close and the little one just side-stepped her to get closer to Anne. Anne was sitting at a computer playing a game, and the girl approached her in the same confrontational manner, while towering over her.
I simply said: “Is there a problem?” The girl stood up and looked at me with surprise. She then proceeded to tell me she was sitting at that computer. I said: “Well, when she sat down at the computer no one was around, so she did not know someone was using it.” She started to repeat what she had already said, while inching even closer to Anne and getting loud. I cut her off and said: “There is no reason for you to be in her personal space like that, it is very rude. We are leaving anyway, so you can have the computer.” I then looked at the girls and said: “Let’s finishing checking out, so we can go home and have our snacks.”
I turned around to find the child’s mother watching everything transpire. The girl did not even want the computer; as soon as Anne got up, she went back by her mother and got her coat on. As they were walking out, I could tell by the mother’s tone that she was not happy, and my heart truly went out to the child.
I can honestly say, had I not seen the incident between mother and daughter, I would have assumed the girl was just another bully, picking on children smaller than her. In all honesty, that is exactly what happened, but I saw the reason for the attack, which most times we (the public) miss. That poor girl had been verbally abused by her mother, and had no tools to process the feelings that came along with that incident, so she did what she knew, and that was find someone else to abuse. It is a sad cycle that is perpetuated through the disrespectful treatment children receive at home, in school, socially, etc…
If we truly want a better world for our children, then we must treat them with respect and kindness. We must show them how to be good people, not just discipline the things we think they do wrong. We must always presume competence in our children, and not assume they have bad intentions. We need to look at what is the root cause of a behavior. If we take the time to help them with whatever they are struggling with, instead of punishing and humiliating them to make a point, we will provide them with amazing tools for the journey in life.
As hard as it can be to do, we must try to approach these situations with quiet kindness, instead of deafening judgement. We don’t know the circumstances, and we don’t always see the bully behind the bully. Sadly, most of these kids are acting out their experiences, and further mistreatment will only perpetuate the cycle more.
Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥
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