October is Anti-Bullying month. But you know what? Every month should be anti-bullying month. And it starts with us as parents. I used to teach 'parent and me' classes and I learned a great deal. First and foremost, extremely snobby moms breed mean girls and boys. Yes, if you are judgmental and rude, your kids are going to pick up on it. They are really good that way. They watch the way you snicker with your friends or make off-handed comments about the way that someone looks. They absorb everything. You are their first teacher. You are their role model. You are their everything. This is a huge responsibility.
Have you ever seen a group of 5-year-old girls exclude a classmate from a game? I have and it is absolutely heartbreaking. They don't like her clothes, or her hair, or her shoes. And she's 5. But you know who's at fault? The bullies' parents. Trust me, they learned that behavior somewhere and it starts in the home. It's a vicious cycle and it needs to end.
Do you gossip with the other parents at school? This idle chatter is setting the worst example. How can we tell our children to be nice to everyone, and then turn around and talk smack? Seriously. That's like telling our kids to eat healthy as we munch on brownies. It is hypocritical and it comes at a high cost.
Have you seen the video that is going viral? A news anchor named Jennifer Livingston received an email from a viewer calling her obese. She fires back using her own platform and the results are brilliant. She speaks out about how hurtful we are to one another and how terrified she is about raising her three daughters in this type of world. I applaud her for her strength and courage. We cannot shame people for their weight, looks, or differences. We are ALL dealing with something.
But here's what we can do. We can watch ourselves extra carefully when we are around our children. We need to be models of respect and grace. This means while we are in traffic, at the park and at school pickup, we need to stop being so mean to one another. Otherwise, how can we expect our children to be good citizens?
Bullies need to be stopped. But let's take a good, hard look at their parents. Trust me. You will be absolutely shocked at what you find.