A dear friend, and former coworker, Heidi Jones, has recently posted her thoughts on bullying to facebook. I couldn't have said it better myself, and want to share her message. Thankfully, she has given me permission to share her exact words in this post.
First, I want you to know there are still MANY students that come to kindergarten with NO prior schooling experience. They haven't been around a large group of peers, in a structured environment, where there are rules, procedures, and consequences...all of which TAKE TIME to be instilled.
Here are her words, as posted on facebook:"Bullying
As a kindergarten teacher, I am constantly hearing the misuse of the term "bullying." A friend saying a mean, rude comment is just that, not bullying.
They are still five. Their emotions, reactions and words are impulsive and raw. They are just now learning how to state their opinion, disagree, have conflicts and solve them. I oversee this to a point. They need to learn all this independently - and how to stand up for themselves. I help scaffold that, so should you.
Telling your child to "tell the teacher" every time he/she is offended or has their overly sensitive feelings hurt floods my classroom with constant tattling. Teach your child what to say when they don't like something, then how to brush it off and move on!
I hear, "I'm being bullied" everyday by my students. However, it's not happening here; there are no bullies in my classroom. Just babies learning how to coexist. Stop jumping on the over-inflated media bandwagon.
If your child is the bully: He/she feels the need to take power from someone else (usually it's targeted). They prey - the long-term, precalculated assault. Find where it's coming from - someone did this to them, and possibly still is. Is it you, the parent? To be quite honest, some parents aren't parents at all - for reasons, they have no idea how to be. Their kids are growing up lost, no foundation, guidance, rules nor consequences. We, the society, have to deal with the left-over results of this mess.
I know that bullying is real; it happens and the results are devastating. But build your child's self-esteem now. Love them! Give then the tools to be strong and resilient!?"
How do you handle bullying in your classroom? If you are a parent, what are your feelings on bullying?