When you should be a helicopter parent..

I posted this on facebook last week. I prefaced it with this little rant.  Indulge me by reading it if you like, but if you don't like, scroll down and watch this anyway.
**** Show your kids. (There is just one bad swear-word in the middle but if you pre-watch you will be prepared to mute it if you want to).

And here's my addition to his exquisite presentation. THIS IS WHY IT INFURIATES ME TO MY CORE WHEN PEOPLE SAY "KIDS NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WORK IT OUT THEMSELVES". NO!! NO THEY DON'T!!! They do not "work it out" themselves! They destroy each other. We need to protect kids. If a kid is being bullied, STEP IN. HELP THEM! Help the bully too. Bullies are bullies because they are in pain. Don't take the "this is what childhood is about, they need to grow a thicker skin" approach. Do we want to be a society of thick skinned damaged people??? Or do we want to be kind and sensitive? Do we want to be a society of compassionate, empathetic individuals? Then DO SOMETHING. This is YOUR JOB. GET INVOLVED. Bullying is not natural. It is UNNATURAL. It is NOT OK. Platitudes like "kids can be cruel" doesn't mean it's ok and there's nothing you can do about that. DO SOMETHING.

I would like to now add that this stuff not always but very often starts at home. The bullying, the tolerance for bullying, the message that this is either ok, or socially acceptable, or funny, or “ a fact of life”.  As a parent you determine the culture of your home. Bullying can be considered par for the course, or completely unacceptable. Kids experiment with bullying from the time they are very young. When parents for whatever reason don’t intervene, don’t teach their kids that bullying is heinous and socially unacceptable and just plain wrong,  sometimes because they are too tired or lazy or apathetic to referee, sometimes because they are clueless as to what is going on, sometimes because they have read too many parenting manuals and think that somehow “letting the kids work it out” is good for everyone. (Let me disabuse you of that notion. It’s not good for anyone, ok?) when parents don’t intervene…kids learn that this behavior can work for them and they perpetuate it outside of the home. Don’t let your kids beat each other up, don’t let them torment each other. Don’t let them say mean things to each other, don’t let them tease each other. Siblings can be the worst bullies of all.

Look, I’m not stupid and I’m not high. I have five kids. I know the drill. Will they still try to do these things, push their luck, maybe every minute of every day? Depending on their personality type, maybe so. But we can’t let up. We can’t get tired of intervening, explaining why it is wrong, teaching better ways-how you do that is up to you. You’re the parent.
You. are. the. parent. You are the grown up. You are the teacher, the adult, the SAFE PLACE.

Again, please know this: kids DON’T work it out, not by themselves anyway, you need to mediate, you need to help them work it out.  That's why parents exist. You need to encourage empathy. You need to set an example of humanity.  It’s part of being a parent, part of being an adult to teach kids this stuff.

Do you need to swoop in and solve everything?  No, of course not. That’s not helpful. That’s not even possible.

But you do need to get involved, you do need to help and to teach. You cannot, must not turn a blind eye and hope that everything will shake out.  Because it won’t. There will be consequences, they will be painful, and damaging and long lasting. Nobody wants that.


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robin said...

Totally agree! 100%!

I wish more parents had that same view...and acted on it.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I had a friend whose husband believed in the pecking order amongst siblings. They would work out who was top dog. I energetically disagree. We lost touch, which is a shame because it would have been interesting to see how the kids turned out. Bullying is totally unacceptable.

ANH said...

Such a powerful video. Thanks for sharing this!

When I was a kid, I was teased a lot and my parents bought me this book "But Names Will Never Hurt Me" by Bernard Waber. I read it all the time and as I grew up and dealt with difficulties of those around me who bullied me in various ways, I always remembered that book. It gave me hope.

I collect children's books today for my hypothetical future children. One of the first books I bought for my collection is that book. Good thing too because it's not very popular and there are few copies out there anymore.

That book had made a lasting impression on me and gave me hope.

Unfortunately, for many children, a book might not give as much hope as that one did for me.