“Mom, there is a kid at school who keeps kicking my desk.”
“Dad, this boy at school keeps hitting me every time he sees me.”
“Mom, there is a girl at the bus stop that calls me names and looks mean at me.”
Are all these issues of bullying? Are any of them? My fear is that as a culture, we are too quick to paste the label of bullying on every behavior that children exhibit that does not make them happy.
Some of the interactions that children have with one another are simply that – childish interactions that bug others. Other actions are wrong, but are sometimes the one-time interactions caused by larger circumstances like, “What did you do to them?”
The definition of bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time” (stopbullying.gov).
As parents, we need real wisdom to help our children understand what it is like to live in a broken world. If we call every unpleasant interaction our children have “bullying,” we are actually encouraging a victim mentality that is unhealthy. Instead, we need to be giving them words of Life from the Book of Life – the Bible. Check out Proverbs for a great discussion on how we need to understand human interactions. [Prov. 1:10-19; 20:11; 21:2, 10-12; 22:5, 22 etc.]