Yesterday I picked up my Kindergartener a few minutes early to take him to a doctor appointment. Several of his buddies came over to see where he was going and why he was leaving school early. One girl rushed over and gave him a huge hug. Darling 1 awkwardly hugged her back. Then, his two best buddies, followed suit and each gave him a hug. It was really heart-warming to see the camaraderie and support between them after just a little more than a month of school.
With each passing day I meet more kids from his class. Each one has been friendly and interesting, and my son refers to each of them as his friends. So far, this is the case. They are all friends; genuinely interested in learning about each other, helping each other and playing/learning together.
When does that change? When does that innocence and kindness disappear? When do they become competitors; each vying for a top spot in the hierarchy of popularity? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know it hasn't started yet, and I will relish these naive times for as long as they last.
Today is Unity Day, a day to come together in support of preventing bullying in all forms. Wear orange today to show that you are standing up and joining forces to stop bullying.
If we join together, teaching our children how to respond to bullying, aimed at them and at others around them, and how to treat one another; and we, as adults, act accordingly to each other, then we can unite together to snuff out bullying.
You may think of bullying as a schoolyard scuffle or "mean girls" sending rude emails that don't mean much to anyone, but the truth is bullying can feel like total defeat, the end of the world, a hole with no way out to kids of all ages.
Bullying can and does lead to depression, suicide or in some cases even murder. Bullying should not be ignored, regardless of whether your child is the target of a bully or doing the bullying. Bullying is a serious issue that should never be taken lightly.
Unity Day is sponsored by PACER. PACER is a parent training and information center for families of children and youth of all disabilities from birth to 21 years of age. Today and Wednesday, October 26, 2011, are devoted to bully awareness and prevention during October, National Bullying Prevention Month. PACER is sponsoring a Unity Dance Day on October 26th.
Tomorrow I will discuss ways of handling bullying if your child is the target or the aggressor. Today put on orange, visit PACER's bullying information page and find out how you can help prevent bullying and talk about bullying with your child. You'll probably be surprised how much they already know.
My son's school is participating in this PACER campaign. Find out if your child's school has an anti-bullying policy and how they implement it. (Um, I know the jack-o-lantern on the t-shirt looks a little menacing, but it's Darling 1's only orange shirt, and he doesn't think the pumpkin is mean). Over and out...