Before children, I used to be crafty. Not evil or plotting, but into yarn and stuff. Even when I first met my husband, I tried to knit and paint and cross-stitch…oh, how I could cross-stitch like a mothah! But that was another time, another life, and 20/15 vision up close!
Now that I have no time, no energy and can’t see within my arm’s distance, I have put my professional crafting career on hold. Until this morning.
I guess a mother can only hold back her crafting skillz so long and can be broken by the incessant whining of children complaining during their “Groundhog Day” movie version routine of getting ready for school.
“Look at your feet. What are you missing?” I ask one child for the DAILY (I’m not exaggerating) question.
“UGHHHH!!!” she says stomping her bare, blue cold feet up the stairs to retrieve socks…again. (Let’s hope this day she will return with socks because this march to her sock drawer does not always promise she will return with socks on her feet)
Today, luckily she returns with socks. Two of them. Don’t care if they match. Just want two socks that are to go on her feet before the shoe debacle.
This is what I want to happen:
Child puts on shoes, coat, grabs back pack and gets into car.
This is reality:
Child stews over which shoes to wear. Mom intervenes and says we are leaving we will meet you in the car. Child gets anxious and can’t make a decision. Plan is NOT working. (Polite little horn honk) Child comes to door with no shoes on and visibly upset.
“Just put on those shoes in your hand and get in the car,” cries out a semi-frenzied lady who has taken over this mother’s body and stomped all over her patience.
The child loses it, “I can’t wear these shoes. The laces are too long! But they are my favorite and they go with my outfit.”
Boys would be easier at this point I’m sure, but I reassure myself I love her and it would not be appropriate to leave a 7 year-old alone in the garage while taking the other child to school.
Well, she put on some old ugly beat up hobo shoes and I took her to school. Nice.
But now I have a craft project in mind.
“Perfect pink shoes with dreadfully long laces!”
First I found some leftover craft beads in her favorite colors. I chose 2 beads per each lace (8 total).
Make sure knots are snug against the beads to prevent further whining.
Two inches from the end of each lace, I tied a square knot.
Then I strung the 2 beads next to the knot.
Keeping the beads close to the first knot, tie another knot at the end to keep them in place. (If you have the first knot at 2 inches, you should be able to do the second knot without difficulty)
Repeat this 3 more times on each lace.
“OMG! Mom!!! I love them”
This is the final look. Pretty cute and the laces are no longer dragging on the ground. I know you all may be thinking why didn’t she just double knot the suckers in the first place?
You have your battles and I have mine! Don’t even get me STARTED on the double knot!!!
Bullying isn’t original for this generation of children; but perhaps the methodology of preventing your child from being threatened by the proverbial “thugs” has changed. You don’t have to start your preschooler in Karate or dress them in designer clothes to ensure they won’t get picked on because, unfortunately, genetics plays a mean hand in this longstanding battle.
WHO’S AT RISK?
Children who are smaller, weaker, and appear shyer than other classmates are typically targeted by bullies. There’s no gender discrimination when it comes to bullying – both boys and girls can be targets AND bullies. However, kids who easily get emotional (i.e., crying, angry), or “give in” to their bully, puts them at a higher risk for being repeated targets.
Bullying can occur anywhere: at school (recess, lunch room, bathroom, hallways, or any place a teacher isn’t watching), when adults are absent (around the neighborhood, on the way to school, church or extra-curricular activities) or via computers or cell phones (emails and texting are increasing in severity and frequency of harassment). Bullying can be verbal, social and/or physical, or it can be one or a combination of these; but each type is just as destructive to the psyche of the bullied child. Examples of bullied attacks:
Social: Excludes child from events and stories, start rumors about them.
Physical: Pushes, slaps, punches, kicks, chokes.
ADDRESSING ISSUE HEAD ON
If you believe your child isn’t being bullied, it’s still beneficial to have the “bully conversation” with your family. They may know someone being mistreated and want to help, OR you could be wrong and someone is actually picking on your child. When there are no distractions and emotions are calm, ask your child, “Do you like all the kids in your class?” “Does everyone get along?” “Is anyone getting picked on or bullied?” Then educate in these areas:
1. Ask for help: Adults may need to mediate when the bullying occurs. Tell your child it’s appropriate and not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s not the child’s fault they are being attacked. “If a store is being robbed, doesn’t the store clerk call the police for backup?”
2. Make more friends: Four against one is better odds. If your child has friends who will stick up for him and verbally defend him, your child’s self-esteem will increase and he will find strength in numbers.
3. Extra-curricular activities: Being involved in a group, school club, or sports team will makes them feel like they “belong.” Just make sure they don’t join the same team as the bully.
4. Alerting school officials: Let everyone involved in your child’s life at the school know about the bullying, so they can intervene. If school officials don’t know of the problem, protect your child. Speak with the principal, the guidance counselor, and your child’s teachers. It takes a team to stifle this type of behavior.
If your child needs to approach his or her bully and training needs to take place, there are a few skills you can work on to get your kiddo through self-esteem “boot camp.” First you verbally educate her on how to stand up to the bully. Then you must “play act” these skills with your child. Usually, you will have to do this repeatedly or she won’t muster up the strength to address the bully. First, she must look the bully in the eye while standing tall and staying as calm as can be. Then she should announce her “catch phrase” and walk away strongly and proudly. This is NOT an easy task…hence, practice with your child.
Teach your child to say in a clear, firm voice: (AAP recommendations)
“I don’t like what you are doing.”
“Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
“Why would you say that?”
UH-OH! YOUR KID’S THE BULLY!
If you discover your child displaying bullying behavior, don’t waste time because typically their actions worsen with time. Take bullying seriously, and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), follow these guidelines for the child:
Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior. Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
Be a positive role model. Children need to develop new and constructive strategies for getting what they want.
Show children that they can get what they want without teasing, threatening, or hurting someone. All children can learn to treat others with respect.
Use effective, nonphysical discipline, such as loss of privileges. When your child needs discipline, explain why the behavior was wrong and how your child can change it.
Help your child understand how bullying hurts other children. Give real examples of the good and bad results of your child’s actions.
Develop practical solutions with others. Together with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has bullied, find positive ways to stop the bullying.
As always, if you see your child’s behavior progressing or spiraling out of control, make sure to consult with your child’s medical provider.
What’s your bullying story? Were you or your child ever victims of a bully’s attack? Does your child’s school have an interesting policy on bullying? Is this information useful to you and your family? Please share below in the comment section… Stacey
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Do you happen to have melodramatic or as I like to say “passionate” children in your home? In the medical world, these creative kids are predominately using their right-brain more than the analytical or left-side of the brain.
At our house we are a 50-50 brain split. My husband, the engineer has his mini-version of himself (our cute – but girly daughter) and this writer/nurse/ex-theatre gal has a “mini-me.” (Prayers are welcomed!)
It works out great when there are family arguments as long as you prefer tie breakers to be implemented with every household vote. Coin tosses or Paper, Rock, Scissors typically resolve most dilemmas effectively.
However, some days the female gene takes over and wins by a landslide or “meltdown” as it were…
It was a beautiful day with the normal balance of whining and loving sweet moments heard from children in our cul-de-sac. We had changed activities only 43 times and it was only 1:20pm, so basically a smooth sailing day!
When out of the blue, some imaginary figure came swirling into the kitchen swiped a yogurt out of the refrigerator and without any warning or cleaning products, this unknown and unclaimed being decided to take that strawberry yogurt and squirt it on the hardwood floors. An odd practice for an imaginary guest of our home – but who am I to judge?
Screaming echoed from the other room, followed by soft cries that crescendo into panicked wails.
“Mom, come quick! Yogurt… (sob, sob) …is…” the child’s voice trails off into hysterical tears.
I slide around the corner to find a small yogurt container which has been jimmied open by immature fingers and a small portion of the contents has dripped onto the floor. And for some reason a tablespoon of the mixture is rubbed into a pink mitten. (A summer mitten I’m sure!) And why they had a mitten out in the summer is not to be questioned in this story. They are my children and that’s just how they roll. Irrelevant.
Normally my girls would NOT be crying relentlessly about spilled yogurt; or even notice the mess, let alone clean it up for that matter. But drama had ensued in the fullest degree. “Why now” was what had to be identified?
After some deep breathing exercises to calm them down and various yoga poses, I was able to get them breathing in a natural pattern and focused enough to start the interrogation.
“So you wanted some yogurt for a snack? Good choice!” I smiled.
(They both nodded affirmatively)
Trying to praise their efforts, I said, “Those lids are really difficult to open sometimes, huh?”
(Repeated head nods)
“I hate it when yogurt spills on the floor, don’t you?” I asked.
“WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” the youngest child started crying uncontrollably again.
“Please don’t make us get rid of our favorite pink mittens. I don’t want to give them to kids who don’t have mittens!” wailed the older child.
Note to self…may have been donating too many clothes to good will. Need to start teaching children how to do laundry.