Oooh, oooh!  How many posts could we do on this topic?  Let’s just
say this is part one of however many we need in the months to come.

My daughter’s elementary school has done a good job of making kids
aware of some definitions and examples of bullying.  This education
started in first grade.  Shocking to me:  this timing wasn’t too early. 
First-grade girls were already luring best friends away from each other. 
The victims didn’t have enough maturity to know how to handle that
situation, so a lot of tears and angst commonly resulted.

More triangulation occurred in second grade, along with a few specific
girls criticizing what other girls wore to school.  It was the beginning of
the age-old choice for kids:  Do you want to be yourself, or do you
want to mold yourself to fit the most popular group?

By third grade, we began focusing hard on teaching our daughter, who
doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, to stand up for herself.  Insist
that your outfit matches, don’t blindly follow a bully’s orders, and tell
someone who is supposed to be your friend that you don’t understand
why she would behave in a way that’s not friendly.

The point I’d like to make for parents is that I believe that kids
showing bullying behavior often have something “out of control” going
on in their lives. This could range from something simple like “my
older sister dominates me” to something much more complex, like
“someone in my family is sick and I don’t know how to deal with it.”

The reason that I mention this has to do with my own reaction when
someone is bullying my daughter.  My first impulse is to de-humanize
the bully.  That girl no longer has a name or a heart – she is simply
“the girl who bullies my daughter.”  But she is much more than that,
and it’s arrogant of me to treat her as less worthy of a person because
of her behavior.

I don’t think I’ll be able to control or change why that girl is bullying. 
But it makes sense for my daughter and I to think about what could be
causing the behavior.  And if this person is someone my daughter
would still like to be friends with, from the heart, then maybe she
could even help her get through a difficult time.


Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book,
Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to

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1 Comment on Bullying, Part One

  1. […] Bullying, Part 1 we talked about viewing the bully as a person, just one who has chosen some bullying behaviors. […]

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