We’ve been dealing with a certain form of ugliness around here. It’s called bullying.
I’ll spare you the details. Because really, I don’t want to get mad about it…again.
It has got me thinking a lot about what we teach our children. I get it, I understand the theories behind bullying and why kids do it.
My thinking has been on what we teach our kids about friendship, specifically about girls and friendship.
When girls are being cruel to each other (as they often are), we always say, “they’ll figure it out.” That happens sometimes. But why do we expect kids to just know the answers? They are kids, after all.
They look to us for the answers. They look at how we live our lives for the answers. Good or bad.
We can’t make such a bold assumption that they will figure out what healthy means. Even if we model it. Even if we show them the opposite.
I think about the women that I see (women from the real world and the work world) and I wonder, when did we start selling ourselves short? When did we start overlooking a history of substance abuse, domestic violence and failure to pay child support in a potential partner? These are warning signs! And I guarantee for the majority of these women, they had a feeling of dread in the pit of their stomachs that they overlooked when getting into this relationship.
Maybe growing up, someone thought, “oh, they will just figure out.” Well guess what, they didn’t.
I wonder if these women were taught from a young age that they deserved more. That they were special. That they deserve a healthy, respectful relationship. And I think I know the answer to this. The answer, sadly, is no.
So then I reflect back on teaching my own ladies about friendship. I want them to know that they deserve healthy, respectful friendships. I want them to know that they deserve to be treated with kindness.
It will be up to them to apply this to their lives. To set boundaries with bullies. To nurture relationships with true friends.
But I can’t simply assume they will figure it out. I owe them more than that.