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Questions from readers: Is bullying that big of a deal?

Question

I think this hysteria about bullying has gone too far. Kids need to learn how to take care of themselves without adults always stepping in to protect them. The schools have all these rules and my son got in trouble just for joking around with another kid and now he’s suspended. Is there anything I can do?

Answer

Bullying is more than playful bantering. It is emotionally and physically abusive behavior. Bullying is not a single event, but a persistent pattern of hurtful behavior. It’s all about power, with those who have it taking advantage of those who don’t.

While I agree that children need to learn how to solve their own problems, no child should have to tolerate with being physically assaulted or verbally tormented. The behavior exhibited by bullies at school would get that person fired from a job when they get older. Schools (and parents) need to enforce rules about respectful behavior towards others.

I can’t comment on your child’s situation, but my experience has been that schools don’t suspend children for minor infractions. For the sake of your child, why don’t you seek more information about your son’s behavior and get him the help he probably needs?

Question

I read somewhere that pain is the cost of parenting. Does it get better as kids get older and learn how to take care of themselves?

Answer

Being a good mom or dad can be physically demanding and emotionally exhausting. The challenges of raising children change as kids get older. The issues may be different, but the problems don’t get any easier to navigate.

The pain comes from caring. You want your children to grow up to be happy, successful, and moral. When children don’t meet our expectations, it’s both frustrating and disappointing.

I ask parents who are feeling overwhelmed to do two things. First, I suggest that they jot down some of the good experiences they’ve had with their children. This helps position upsetting events in a more balanced perspective.

Second, reach out for help.  Speak with your spouse, vent to a friend, or seek professional assistance.

While pain may indeed be the cost of raising kids, most parents find it to be one of the most meaningful experiences in their lives.

Question

I can’t stand the way my daughter-in-law treats my five-year-old grandbaby. He’s a good kid who is just all boy, but she’s always after him for one thing or another. We don’t have the best relationship so how can I tell her to lighten up on this little child?

Answer

Say nothing. Enjoy your grandson when he is with you, never criticize his mom or dad, and keep your opinions to yourself unless you are asked for advice.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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