Parents Can Be Bullies Too

Hello Mamas. I formula-fed both of my children, I let my daughter enjoy M&M’s, I don’t push potty-training on my two-year-old, I have a picky eater who sometimes will eat only a piece of lunch meat for dinner (if that), I don’t “wear” my child, I don’t use cloth diapers, I turned my daughter forward facing in her car seat at 13-months, we used a walker despite the pediatrician being against them, and I keep the television on most of the time that I’m home (I like the background noise).

How many of you judged, or turned up your nose at one of the statements I just made?

I know bullying has been a huge issue lately in schools. I’ve heard of friends, whose children have come home upset because another kid made fun of her hair or clothes. It’s terrible, especially since one friend’s child was only in the first grade. But what’s worse is when the parents are just as guilty.

They don’t have signs and campaigns posted for adult bullies, but maybe they should. I might be diving into a slightly controversial topic here, but my goal as I write this is to educate you about the types of bullying we may run into as parents.

As I’ve said before, children learn by example. That example being you! So when you’re out grocery shopping, making fun of another shopper across the store, you’re teaching your child that it’s okay to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of this. But since I’ve caught my daughter repeating things I’ve said, it makes me realize a little bit more that she’s learning from me how to act, how to talk, and more importantly how to treat others. I don’t want her being mean to others, so that means I shouldn’t be either.

And bullying isn’t specific to making a person feel badly face to face. Social media has been a huge culprit too. There are websites such as People of Walmart and You Are Not a Photographer that are designated to make fun of other people. We may find it funny at the moment while perusing hundreds of photos, but what if you found yourself on there one day? How would you feel? Probably mortified!

Since becoming a parent, I’ve found another type of bullying that focuses on others’ parenting choices and decisions. If someone wants to formula-feed their child, breastfeed in public, use cloth diapers, practice a different religion, co-sleep, or raise their child in a different manner from what you are used to, why shun them from your group of friends, gang up on them, or criticize them for their choices? You don’t know the other person’s life, situation, or reasoning. If it’s not life-threatening, harming, or directly affecting you, then simply ignore it or accept it. Your choice.

If you feel it’s an issue that needs to be addressed, educate them. Don’t make a public example of their actions by humiliating them on your blog, Facebook, or to your friends. Even if you’re right, there’s no need to be rude about it. There’s a respectful way of approaching these situations.

So maybe the bullying problem starts at home. Maybe your child is witnessing it from their biggest role model. Maybe you don’t realize it, but sometimes you’re displaying to your child that it is okay to attack and use hurtful words.

So, Mamas, who is with me? Let’s make a goal to be better role models to our little ones by demonstrating to them firsthand how to show respect to others. Teach them to treat others as they would want to be treated. And let’s learn to not judge, but instead try to understand and accept others for who they are.

8 Responses to Parents Can Be Bullies Too

  1. This is so true! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Very true, and really important. Well written Sam, thank you!

  3. So well written and something that needs to be repeated to all mamas everywhere. Thank you Sam!

  4. Agreed!

  5. Bullying starting with parents, something I hadn’t thought about before, but so possible. Little ears pick up on many things we don’t expect them to. As with so many other issues, the RIGHT way begins at home – thanks for the eye-opener!!

  6. Loved your article, made me realize why I have hated telling people about choices I am making with my son. I was afraid of being judged.

  7. I agree! We are all mamas raising our babies the best way we know how!

  8. It’s also important to teach kids that it is rude to point and stare at someone who is different, whisper about them to someone nearby, and then look at that person and laugh at them in an obvious way, I wonder how many parents may have taught this to their children by example?

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