Monday, October 25, 2010

Feeling Bullied.

I went to a great lecture this past week.
It was on bullying. It's a huge issue in the news right now.
The stories of bullied teens driven to suicide are truly heartbreaking.

I wanted to know what bullying really means and how it may look for my seven year old.
The speaker was Kim John Payne. If you can get to go hear him talk - go.

I found out that the USA is the only country in the western world that does not have a government mandated bullying management program in it's schools. Wow.

I also found out that one of the major reasons children bully is stress. They bully in an attempt to exert control in their over controlled lives.
Studies conducted in the US, the UK and Australia have found that over-scheduling and too much media are the leading causes of stress from sensory bombardment. Then there are the hours of homework.
Children are feeling pressured and just plain tired.
They don't have free time to just be. Eventually, they feel uncomfortable when they are doing nothing.
It's a stressful pace for their young minds and bodies.

It's confusing - there are so many great after school activities. They want to do them.
If they are asking to do them and all their friends are doing them - then we're not stressing them right?
The exponential rise in bullying rates, ADD, ADHD suggest otherwise.

I don't know about you but I have felt guilty about not having my kids in ballet or music or swimming lessons.
I have felt that I am not giving them a 'well rounded' education.
We are supposed to enrich them with sports and arts - if the amount of classes that are available is anything to go by.
I feel social pressure to have my child be very busy. Social pressure is just another phrase for bullying. Ironic no?

What did you do as a kid?
From when I was seven I went to Brownies once a week.
In my teens I did drama and choir. Three things for my entire childhood.
Lots of five year olds I know do three things a week.

It was all fantastic food for thought.
I love it when I get practical information that makes sense.
I love that I now I have tools to deal with the scary issue of bullying.
I love that allowing my children to sit and draw or dig in the garden at home might be the best thing I can do for them.

If you want to know more - this is a great book:
Simplicity Parenting


  1. What a timely and interesting lecture to be able to attend. And now that you've said it, about our over-scheduled overwhelmed kids, the connection seems so apparent.

  2. Oh I do want to know more - thanks for the food for thought, and the links. I did dance in elementary school, and horse back riding in middle school. And nothing in high school, by choice. And you know what? I turned out a-okay if I don't say so myself. The activity overload starts at 1-2years old here! Egad!

  3. I heard that a child should feel bored sometimes, because it makes them very creative. So you're giving them a well-rounded education by just letting them figure it out themselves!
    Thanks for writing about this topic. Was there info about what to do when your kid is being bullied?
    Love Amelie

  4. Great post. I feel fortunate up here in Ontario to have school board mandated programs on bullying in my daughters' schools. From the time they start Grade 1, it is a part of the program every year and is taken seriously by the school teachers and leadership team. That said, I can also see that the difference in children's activities between now and 30-40 years ago is huge. I'm thinking now that my own budget constraints that have kept our activities quite pared down might actually be a good thing!


Leave me a comment.