I was talking with some other dads last night and the subject of bullys came up. I was asked how I deal with the issue. I responded that in my experience, kids aren’t really looking for advice or tips, although they’ll consider whatever is shared with them. I think they really just don’t want to be alone with their feelings.
Ry and J love it when I become them and they get to be the bully’s. And then just as quickly, they want me to be the bully, so they can try out their new responses. They also enjoy it when I share stories about how I was bullied or how I handled it. As one of the dad’s pointed out, it almost feels like he is tending to some old wounds when he has to revisit these topics.
In my opinion, many adults step so far into their heads for answers that they can’t allow themselves to remember what life was like for them as a kid. Ry and J present me with opportunities to revisit the past all the time. The pace at which friends are best friends and then not friends and then are back to being friends is a stretch for me to remember. I have to struggle to recall the , “if you don’t do this, I won’t be your friend,” dilemma. When I reflect on it, it takes up a tremendous amount of emotional energy to negotiate friendships, learn new material,in school, master straddling the monkey bars, and figure out how to pass the ball to a teamate in a soccer game. It is so arrogant, for us, as adults to expect kids to just get up to speed quickly. I just don’t think kids work that way. It takes time and patience to really comprehend their world as they experience it, and then its still pretty confusing.