Bright Horizons recently hosted a webinar about preparing your child, and family, for school. We addressed the transition from daycare to Kindergarten or first grade and were speaking to parents who had children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. During the webinar I was fielding questions from the audience and was shocked by the number of questions coming in about one particular topic. Bullying. The webinar team never even tossed that idea out as one to discuss and I was genuinely surprised that parents of children so young were concerned with it. As a parent of a child entering Kindergarten next year, it’s something I’d never even thought of. Sure there have been kids in Max’s preschool class who have called him a baby because he didn’t talk or write as well as they did, but I never considered that to be bullying — just a 3 year old learning social skills. But was it actually bullying? We’re trying hard to teach our boys to be kind and accepting, but have never talked to them about what to do if someone does not treat them that way. How do you teach the difference between ignoring/walking away from “mean” kids and needing to tell a grown up that someone is teasing or hurting you?
There is a documentary about bullying coming out soon that I’ll be interested to see. Bully is a story chronicling children who have been bullies, children who have been bullied, and parents who have lost children to suicide due to bullying.
If you visit the site, you might consider signing the petition to change the rating of this movie from R to PG-13. It was given an R rating due to some saucy language, but the outrage about that is the fact that technically, you can’t see an R rated movie until you’re 17 years old. By then, it’s almost too late. As evidenced by the questions coming in during our webinar, younger children need to see this movie. Middle schoolers and younger teens need to see the impact of their words or to know that they are not alone and can reach out for help before it’s too late.
By the way, someone started a bullying conversation on The Bright Horizons Online Community as a follow up to the webinar. Head over there to share your thoughts.