All parents want what is best for their children. In the case of Leslie Blanchard, that turned out to be recognizing signs in her 5th grade daughter’s behavior that were troubling and taking steps to correct them. As she describes in the Huffington Post, Leslie’s young daughter seemed to be on the path to becoming a bully. What Leslie did speaks to the power of bullying prevention programs across the country: she worked to teach empathy and acceptance to her daughter,
My Worst Nightmare — What If I Accidentally Raise The Bully?
Below is an excerpt from Leslie’s excellent post, which you can read in its entirety on at the Huffington Post’s “Power of Humanity” Blog. We’re highlighting and sharing this post because it speaks to the incredible power of social-emotional learning. Leslie chooses to use the ideas of “social capital” to break these ideas down to her children and in doing so is able to teach her daughter the lessons that we know can help prevent bullying behaviors. Thanks to these ideas, instead of raising a bully, Leslie raised an empathic and kind young woman.
“I will never forget the day my daughter told me that Bethany, a girl in her 4th grade class, was annoying her.
‘What is she doing to you?’ I questioned, instinctively protective.
‘She’s following me around on the playground and sitting by me at lunch!’ she quipped, as if that would sum things right up and get me squarely on her side of the matter.
‘You mean she’s trying to be friends with you?’ I asked incredulously.
I realized immediately that I had a problem on my hands. I was raising my own worst nightmare. Smack dab in the middle of my brood of five kids, was a charismatic, sassy, leggy, blonde, dance-y, athletic girl oozing confidence … and apparently annoyance, directed towards another little girl that wasn’t lucky enough to be her. Inconveniently for my daughter, her own mother WAS Bethany in grade school. Freckled of face and frizzy of hair, I was an Army brat, always the new girl clamoring for a friend, drawn to the natural confidence of girls like my daughter. This conversation found me vacillating between heartache and fury, but one thing I knew for sure: Mama was about to put her money where her mouth had been all these years…”
Read the rest of Leslie’s powerful story here. We are grateful to Leslie for sharing this story and to the Huffington Post for publishing it. This story and others like it show the way that we can transform norms around “the bully” and find ways to prevent bullying behavior in the future.
Want to learn more about bullying prevention? Check out this infographic about social-emotional learning, read some tips to connect with your child and prevent bullying, and check out this other excellent story of empathy and bullying prevention in action.