Bully or bullied?
I recently attended a function and watched in horror as a little boy, no more than four years old, terrorized his playmates while they were awaiting the start of a program that they all were looking forward to. The Counselors kept bringing him back to his parents, who sat him down, gave him a good “talking to” and sent him right back. Of course, he was sent to sit with mom and dad again because he could not get it together. In exasperation, the child’s father grabbed him by his arm, hauled him outside and whatever took place must have worked because the kid straightened up and was quiet for the rest of the evening.
I am watching all of this with interest because Dad had a way about him that made my “spidey senses” tingle and I was soon to find out why. Not five minutes after he deposited his son for the final time with his group, this grown man, pulled out a tennis ball and proceeds to start bouncing it on the stands where we were all sitting and it reverberated throughout our bodies. I looked at him. He stopped. I resumed my activities. He started again. Two women looked at him in disgust and he stopped. They turned around,. He began again. Finally, his wife who seemed to be sitting timidly a few feet away from him but close to me, asked him to please stop so that they would not get thrown out for disrupting everyone.
He looked at her in a way that told us all she was going to be in serious trouble for making that remark while he sweetly said ” Oh, am I bothering people? I will stop then.” Then he went on to say that as soon as their son was finished his segment of the performance, they were leaving and not a minute later. My heart ached but there was a side of me that was incredulous about his behavior and the larger message he was sending to his child who was clearly acting out things he saw happening in the home.
Which leads me to this; what in the world are this child’s future teachers and worse, his classmates getting ready to face in school? When there is a clear case of an Adult who is a bully in the home, I am of the firm belief they too should be held accountable for the actions of the child because this was total madness. That child needs to be saved from his parent and helped before he enters school and terrorizes the innocent children who have no idea what they are getting ready to deal with.
This happensway more than we care to think or believe. Parents of bullies will enter a school building swearing up and down they have no idea where the child gets this behavior from but in my humble opinion, at least 45% of bullies have a bully in their home environment.
If all things were equal and I could re- write the laws of this land, parents would be held totally accountable, up to and including jail time for the behavior of their child who causes such harm to others.
The physical and mental abuse caused by bullies leaves long-lasting scars. It’s time to find some other alternatives to what we have been doing.
I pray for that little four-year old who was so angry for one so little and knew no other way to express himself but through what he was taught.
The next time you see children who are bullying and you are not the victim of it, please speak up as you are not only helping the bullied but the bully by holding them accountable and you may possibly be saving two lives instead of the obvious one.