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Adults bullying children

Adult bullying kids is rampant.What parent hasn’t experienced outrage when an adult who is trusted to care for their child, abuses their power? Coaches, parents of other kids, teachers, principals, or our own spouses or ex-spouses — at one time or another, children will have to contend with adult bullies.I’ve seen security guards yelling at my kids only because they did not notice I was around.

When teachers and coaches abuse the power given to them while teaching/managing our kids, most of the time we have to stand back and wring our hands. We worry about things worsening for our child: more humiliation, being given unfairly low grades, loss of play time or less involvement in special activities. After all we can’t be there fielding the space for our kids, can we?

While we can intervene when we hear or perceive adult bullying happening with our kids, how do we empower our children to do the same? After all we can’t always be there as parents or caregivers to referee a child’s space, all the time.

I tell my kids, no adult is supposed to approach you to do anything for them or for help. If they do—and perhaps they have legitimate reasons to—you need to tell them to speak to your mom or dad.

When I tell this I know the danger is that my kids may perhaps use this to refuse doing small things at home that their grandmother or uncles may set them to do. I know that tomorrow when an aunt says, “Go fetch a glass of water for me” my kidsmay turn around and say, “Please ask my mother or father permission” and then I will be at the receiving end of ‘how-you-bring-up-your-kids” lecture. I’ve tried explaining the difference.

I don’t want to be a bully in a bully culture trying to make my child feel secure. But we need to address bullying among ourselves. Adults, after all, need to set good examples so that children will have better social experiences.


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