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Archive for December, 2010

I…Got…Mine!

There’s a lot of talk these days about the increasing problems of bullying in children’s lives. If you are like me, you know that bullies have always been around, and that it isn’t a “new” problem. Having spent the last few years in education, I do agree that the problem has increased in occurance…and in intensity.  I can remember when bullying involved losing your lunch money, a prized baseball card, or a new cap. Now it seems our kids tend to be in danger far more, especially from a physical standpoint.  A few months ago a friend of ours in New York state wrote on Facebook about a problem her son was having with a kids spitting on him at the bus stop. She was at her wit’s end, since no one seemed to be able to do anything about it.

It is a problem, and it is getting worse. It’s getting national media attention, and full-time anti-bullying programs are being implemented in our schools. But what I don’t hear much about is who is teaching these kids to bully. I think the answer is simple…the adults around them.

This time of year is great for seeing the best in people (hopefully!) but it’s also the time of year where we see the worst. People are impatient, rude, pushy, and just plain bullies! (Sadly, much of this behavior occurs in the midst of Christmas shopping!) How many times are you followed in traffic so close the driver behind you can run a diagnostic scan on your engine? Or you observe (hopefully you are JUST observing) a person who hasn’t gotten their way and is physically and verbally bullying (abusing) the object of their rant into getting what they want?

For several years, Sharon and I have had a name for this behavior – “I GOT MINE!” as in “and I don’t care what I’ve done to you to get it!”  Too many people today (especially here in America) are only concerned with getting what they want, with absolutely no thought as to the people around them. Why should I care about you, I GOT MINE! (Think back to every piece of Black Friday footage you’ve seen!)

I can’t tell you how many times a driver has been somewhat frustrated that I wasn’t going 120 on the local road and was very animatedly letting me know about it, only to pass me with 2 kids in the back seat of their (too-large) SUV. Or they spend several minutes berating the person checking out their groceries, with the little one taking it all in from the comfort of the grocery cart.

Kids aren’t born bullying – they learn it, and yes, the video games, tv and movies tend to help this process along – but kids learn primarily from the adults around them – that’s us! Parents, if you’re worried that your kid tends to be a bully, take a long look at your own behavior to those around you and see if you are teaching your kids these three simple words I GOT MINE!

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