A nearly fool proof way to protect your child from bullies
There is a good way to protect your child from bullies. The best way to deal with a childhood bully is to keep your child under appropriate parental supervision. Children will gradually learn to be independent and self-controlled. Parents, who usually know their children better than anyone else, are best suited to decide when and how to guide that independence in a way that fosters appropriate learning without putting their children at great risk, either physically or emotionally. Even if they don’t do it perfect every time or have different thresholds for dealing with risk, outside observers (anyone not the parent) should be careful about judging or interfering. Give them room to learn to be parents of their children.
Children are vulnerable. They are not only vulnerable to the elements of nature, they are vulnerable to the elements of society. Just like we do not expect them to comprehend or battle for physical survival, we should not expect them to battle for social standing.
How bullies are created
The common institutional school model denies children consistent parental supervision at times when it would be very helpful. Using claims of providing a social environment, such institutions actually not only limit all manner of relationships, but are a hot bed for creating bullies. As children struggle to find meaningful and lasting relationship in an inherently impersonal system, some children recognize that the lack of real parental supervision gives them the chance to bully other children.
Consider some factors that inhibit real age-appropriate supervision in the institutional setting:
- large numbers of children compared to supervising adults
- the relative anonymity of most students
- lack of continuity in relationships with supervising adults over time
- job mentality in conflict with parent-like commitment to relationship
- segmentation of supervision by adults according to activity
- the inherent challenge of being unconditionally invested in the outcomes of children that are not your own
It seems contradictory to on one hand take so many security measures to create a protective border around the outside of schools, yet on the other hand claim that children need to learn to duke it out among themselves (and deal with adults they barely know). And then they claim they are exposing children to “real life.” Why is a relatively impersonal holding tank-type school better than the attentive direction of a parent? Why is a caring parent readily labeled over-protective for doing his or her natural job, while an (usually government-run) organization holding children captive for hours seriously considered to be child-friendly?
Social skills or survival skills?
Children do not learn healthy social skills best in a weird mixture of parental abandonment and dog-pack social structure. Sure, some sort of survival skills will be developed, but that too often involves a power ranking from a young age among children. Young children do not have the emotional or mental maturity to handle such pressure. Without the guidance of parents, they are much more susceptible to their or any other child’s whims.
Since all of the children are basically captive in the institution, it is unlike the adult world wherein people are much more free to do business elsewhere or avoid social interactions with those who are obnoxious. Even in cases of political rulers, where interaction cannot be easily avoided, adults have the mental ability, opportunity, and personal responsibility to understand and deal with situations.
The fact that some parents are supposedly nicer or better than others cannot logically be extrapolated to conclude that all children should be institutionalized. Is this not the case with all adults? Not all teachers are good or nice, and neither are all coaches or bus drivers. Some adults also become bullies of children in institutional schools.
Where bullies are rewarded
The whole premise of the government controlled (or state controlled, depending on how you understand these terms) school is one of telling both parents and students what they are allowed to do, when to do it, and what to think. Those at the top of the bureaucratic food chain are notorious for strong-arming others to get their way. It is a system designed to attract bullies to run it, just like any other political entity.
Such overseers might give lip service to “dealing” with bullies, but they have no real interest controlling them. Instead, the environment is comparative and competitive in ways that neither the family nor the business world are. Children in families learn (from language to home skills to math) without their learning or interests being unnecessarily compared to what others are doing. In business interactions, people are striving for mutually beneficial agreements (or why make the business exchange).
The war against childhood
When children would thrive on exploration and discovery to learn, the authoritative institutional system demands the tedium of worksheets and tests. If they don’t measure up, they are quite likely to be bullied by both teachers and fellow students. If they do well, they are also likely to be bullied by students!
At a time when children need hugs, they are put in an environment where hugs are unlikely or suspicious. Deprived of naturally appropriate parental physical contact, they find questionable ways to obtain it. Bullying gets some children the attention they understandably crave.
When children are young, putting them in institutional schools is like putting them in puppy mills. The spirit is sucked out of many of them, while others become dominant and aggressive. Everything is comparative or about one-sided winning. The students are rewarded for both complying with authority and crushing their opponents. This seems counter to finding mutually beneficial ways to get along. No wonder so many of them don’t understand good business practice. Most people would say getting along is a high priority, so why not start with how we raise our children.