> Rant: Parents of mean/bullying kids
|I don't think it's just Ann Arbor! And I don't think it's just "kids these days", or "parents these days", either. I've had the same experience at dd's school Parents and teachers are very aware of bullying and try to teach kids not to do it.
When I was in school in the 80s, bullying went on all the time and nobody every did anything about it. I was bullied horribly in the third grade, and I never even considered talking to the teacher or principal about it. Nor did my parents, who were very sympathetic. They just felt I needed to solve my own problems.
And the stories my dad tells from the 50s! He fought all the time, giving kids bloody noses, etc., and never even got in trouble for it. I think people just thought it was what kids did.
This has been my experience. I went to school in the 60s and 70s, and my parents went to school in the 40s and 50s. Bullying existed big time and by the time I got to high school age, the physical bullying morphed into clique behavior, shunning and proliferation of class systems. I grew up in the proverbial sticks and the populace was generally thought to be of apple pie and "family values" ilk. Oddly, the kids who were the most mean to me in school now want to be my Facebook friends. Isn't life just grand? I've come to the personal conclusion that many kids desparately want to be admired and have friends. Sometimes being mean to others who are in a perceived weaker position guarantees power in a social group. Adults do this, but I think it is more pronounced in kids because they lack the fine art of looking down their noses like adults do. I'm not apologizing for true bullying, just trying to throw some perspective out there.
I have only seen one child in my neighborhood exhibit true bullying behavior, and my guess is that the kid has a ton of issues.
Originally Posted by Cascadian
Not at all singling out your post, but I wanted to use this as an example of something: I've noticed that most kids want to be the bully's friend, usually out of fear. It's like they're sucking up to the bully in some sort of survival hope that they aren't the next victim. It's a love/hate thing, and oftentimes has very little to do with a reciprocal and respectful friendship. I read somewhere (Queen Bees and Wannabees?) that that's why some kids are so artificially popular, especially in the later years - it's rule by power and fear of retribution rather than admiration or inherent leadership.
I could see this happening, but it's not exactly what's going on with DS. Kids in situations where they have just met him gravitate towards him. These kids have never been hit by him, or know that he might do stuff like. He has some charisma and kids just seem to find him fun to be with.
Just as a single example of something that has happened more than once: We went on a hay ride out to a pumpkin patch. He ran around and played with another kid for a while in the pumpkin patch. They both seemed to have a really good time. On the hayride back out of the pumpkin patch the other little boy asks DS if he will be his friend and come over for a playdate some time. DS says "no." I'm of course just left sitting there completely confused and shocked and more than just slightly embarrassed. The other kid and his little brother kept trying to make friends with DS, but no matter how much I encouraged him to be nice and reciprocate he just was totally blasse (sp?) about it.
What I suspect may happen with kids who like DS just attract friends like fly paper is that they never learn to value their friends. Just as academically gifted students often never learn to study b/c school just comes too easily, popular kids never learn to treat their friends well b/c friends just keep trying and trying.
It's kind of a dilemma for me since I do try to teach DS to be nice to people.
ETA: Just in case you thought maybe other kids were intimidated by DS's size, nope. DS is in the 25% for hight and 0% for weight.