“National bullying prevention month” doesn’t just have to be a meaningless awareness week.
Many years ago, I was told by someone that my parenting style would cause my children to be bullies. (Pause for the cause here peeps- No. I do not have contact with this individual, as I won't allow anyone in my life to stay there if they choose to be more hurtful than helpful.) More importantly, we have two sweet, kind, well-mannered children that understand the difference between bullying and discipline. That's a lot more than I can say for the adult that made the comment. Cat. Kettle. Black. Just sayin'.
I recently viewed the viral clip of the news anchor that received an email from a viewer that verbally "bullied" her into speaking up. Not for the issue he called her out on, but the way in which he felt justified to do it. We, as a society, need to take a strong stand on how we should expect to be treated. About ten years ago, I learned that no matter how difficult the decision would be, I would never allow myself or my family to be hurt by ignorance. Bullying comes in many ways, and I want each of us to remember that it is not to be tolerated. Ever.
We enrolled our children into this program that came to our community last February. I was grateful for the education, for my children and for myself. It told my children that they are special and will never have to accept being bullied. They are given tools in which to draw from if ever faced with a situation that is emotionally or physically dangerous to them. Actually, the part that hit me was that the program explained how to know that it isn't their fault. I thought about that a long time. My daughter regularly comes home to tell me how someone mistreated someone, and what she did to diffuse the situation. She is in kindergarten, and yet her biggest issue is not her grades, but her concern for the emotional well-being of her fellow classmates.
This program covered everything from the more serious dangers like abductions, fire, drug, and animal attacks, to car and bike safety. It allowed my children, and Geoff and I an opportunity to have on-going dialogue with both kids about important issues, at their level. Each of us knows that talking about heinous crimes like rape and incest are never easy, but knowing "how" to talk about it is is even more difficult. This program taught us how to do it.
The way my kids talk about radKids, you would think they are paid advertisers. They are not. They loved the experience, since the class is taught in a way that even the adults that volunteer have a great time. There is movement, class participation, silly demonstrations with eggs that my kids still talk about each time we eat one, etc. I am privileged to have the opportunity to go a watch the the graduation day simulations. There is nothing more powerful for a parent than to see your child go in to the class and five sessions later, your child is confident enough to protect them self.
radKids classes for the 8-12 year old group are being held again, December 11-15, with the graduation on that Saturday. It is the most invaluable program that you can offer your family. Always out for a deal? You pay the initial fee, about the cost of dining out for a family of four, and each year your child is encouraged to retake the class at no charge. Your tuition covers the cost of your supplies, but the instructors are volunteers. This is not your typical "stranger danger" lesson. This is a lesson on teaching our children that they are special, they deserve to be treated with respect, they can speak up for themselves, and they can use physical force, if necessary, in order to escape a dangerous situation.
|My radKids graduated from the first class at 5 and 6 yrs. old.|
1. Great info for parents in radKIDS, Inc. newsletter, Teachable Moments, linkhttp://myemail.constantcontact.com/Teachable-Moments---October-2012.html?soid=1105372834635&aid=FzcTrD1EMdM
2. THE RADKIDS MINDSET
A radKIDS attitude, when empowered with some realistic and instinctive skills to escape violence or harm is:
"HOW DARE YOU TOUCH ME!"
rather than the child who is told what to do and in danger yells,
"HELP ME, HELP ME."
Which mindset do we want our children to have?
Finally, the skills taught are valuable life skills that protect children beyond their childhood. radKIDS grow into adults who know core principals like, “No one has the right to hurt me because I’m special” combined with the physical skills to STOP anyone from hurting them.