We can all remember the “weird” kids from our youth. Those feelings of unease and uncertainty when they would get teased or harassed for being a little bit different; knowing that we should probably say something to defend them, but being too nervous of getting that same harassment if we did. Regret starts to form as we wonder how we could have improved the life of that one kid, simply by showing them some kindness.
Teaching Our Children To Be Better
The social hierarchy hasn’t changed much since we were kids, and now our children are faced with that same dilemma, of whether or not they should speak up for that weird kid in class. The answer is a resounding “YES!” Whether you were kind to everyone, the strange kid that everyone teased, or even if you were the bully, we have a chance to help those that are different, by teaching our kids to be better.
Though it’s hard for our children to see much further than tomorrow, help them to understand that when they’re older, other people will love and appreciate those who are kind to everyone. Give them scenarios that might help them to see the bigger picture such as, “Pretend you’re a boss looking to hire someone for your company. You have two people waiting to come in for an interview, as they’re about to walk into your office, your assistant trips and drops all of his papers. One of the potential employees starts laughing at the huge mess while the other one immediately goes to help your assistant up, and then pick up all the papers.” After giving your child scenarios like this, ask them questions like, “who would you want to hire if you were the boss and why?” “Which kind of person do you want to be?” It is easier for our children to be able to learn lessons from hypothetical scenarios, and then when they recognize similar situations in their lives, they will know how to react.
Raising Kind Adults
Victims of bullying often turn to scary outlets as a way of escaping their lives, if we have an opportunity to keep that from happening, we need to take it. Bullying doesn’t stop once you graduate high school, kids that are mean to others as adolescents, will most likely continue being mean once they’re adults. If we don’t teach our children to be kind when they’re young, they will continue to turn a blind eye when they see others being harassed as adults. Raise your child to be someone that you would want to hang out with as an adult.
The Difference of One
Your child may be hesitant to defend that weird kid in his class, thinking “it won’t make any difference.” Help them to understand that it will make every bit of difference to the kid that they are defending. When you are shown very little kindness, you will always value and remember those that cared enough to be kind, and that one act can make all the difference in the world.