I'm sure by now you've all see the bullying flier handed out by a school in Nebraska making the rounds. The list of 'rules' includes such suggestions as "Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you", "Do not verbally defend yourself", "If you get physically hurt...do not get angry", and perhaps most disturbing, "Do not tell on bullies." Parents responded with outrage and the school has since issued an apology.
But how are families to respond to bullying in schools? I believe we must first understand that our children's behavior is a reflection of our own, and we must end bullying in the family. A recent study out of SMU found that parents, on average, hit their children 18 times a week. Let that sink in. How can we expect our children not to be bullies themselves or to stand up to other children when bullied if we set the example that physical violence is an acceptable means of resolving conflict?
The school in Nebraska clearly sent the message that they do not want to be bothered with bullying issues among their students. Our children are depending on us to address the issue. We will never be rid of bullies in schools so long as parents are bullies at home.