A recent article in the Wall Street Journal described a new “craze” to teach students not to become bullies. In “Learning by Cooing: Empathy Lessons From Little Tykes,” the Journal described the method used by a school in a Seattle suburb, among other schools, that puts 6 month old babies in front of children from kindergarten to the eight grade. The hope is that the students will empathize with the little tykes and not bully their fellow students.
Of course, we hope children don’t grow up to become bullies. And of course, researchers interested in the craze can provide scientific studies to show that the method works.
But let’s be real.
I’m more interested in teaching parents to help their children deal with the real-world – which will have emotional abuse, verbal intimidation and overt physical bullying by determined bullies. And your children will see the same when they become adults – at work and in their personal lives.
Teach your children and teens to deal directly and firmly in order to stop bullies at school. Prepare them for the workplace and for adult relationships like marriage, relatives, friends and neighbors. I can help with coaching, speaking, books and CDs. Few things ruin children’s confidence and self-esteem, or stops their emotional development faster that being poorly equipped to deal with controlling, domineering bullies. That feeling of helplessness can last them all their lives.
It’s nice if principals and teachers don’t tolerate bullies at their schools, but the chances are that your children will have to stop those bullies on their own. Are you teaching them the attitudes and skills they need? Or are you indulging in wishful thinking and sticking your head in the sand?