Hands up who has been judged for saying the 'wrong' thing, wearing the 'wrong' clothes, driving the 'wrong' car, being the 'wrong' weight, living in the 'wrong' house, eating the 'wrong' food, living the 'wrong' life?
There's nothing easy about raising kids. We're all struggling and looking for new ways to build better relationships with them, help them find their way in the world, or simply deal with the tensions and tears of daily life.
Look for the best in everyone in every situation, and let your kids hear you do it. It will not take long before this becomes your default way to view the world, and then you will start seeing less hurt and rejection around every corner for your kids.
I've seen the blight and hopelessness. But I've also met people there who are working with the poor -- and in the process creating miracles. This makes me wonder what qualities they have that the rest of us lack.
Empathy -- our ability to feel for others -- is what allows us to care for each other, to form communities and friendships, to imagine each other's feelings, to commiserate over each other's pain and share in each other's joy.
Kindness and empathy are known antidotes to bullying, but they need to be taught and modeled on a daily basis. Manipulating a negative situation to make certain that your own child experiences the same level of humiliation is bullying. End of story.
The common denominator of all types of bullying is a lack, or erosion, of empathy. Nurturing empathy, a potential that is present in almost all children, is therefore at the heart of interventions to prevent bullying.