Kid Chat: Grocery Stores and Bullies

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Had a chance to take out just Kniya yesterday to the grocery store without the boys. I grabbed a coffee and a kid’s hot chocolate from our local Mocha Lounge before getting to the store. While walking through the aisles, Kniya had lots to ponder:

Kniya: “Mom, you know how you said not to care what people say if they are being mean or making fun of me?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kniya: “Why shouldn’t I care?”

Me: “Well, say someone starts telling everyone, ‘Kniya has crazy hair! Hahaha look at her hair!’ Who should be embarrassed? You, with the crazy hair? Or the other kid that is acting like that and trying to make you feel bad?”

Kniya: “The kid that is acting like that.”

Me: “Right. You should feel bad for that kid because they don’t know how to act. But also, you know you shouldn’t believe them because they are just trying to make you feel bad. And, you need to still treat them nicely, even when they are trying to treat you badly. But, guess what?”

Kniya: “What?”

Me: “Usually they will stop being mean when they realize you don’t believe what they say and you aren’t going to act the same way. Kids like that are trying to get a reaction from you and they won’t keep doing it if it isn’t working. You should always tell me about it, though.”

Kniya really cares about having a lot of friends right now who agree to play with her regularly. She sometimes has gotten offended if they don’t want to play with her or try to make fun of her in some way. But, kids are that way and do things they shouldn’t. It’s not an excuse, it’s a reality. She needs to be ready to deal with people in life who are having a very bad day or just aren’t nice in general.

It’s hard to figure out a good line where she really feels self-confident without being arrogant about being better. And I want her to realize that it would never be okay to do the bullying herself, because it really could hurt someone else. I want her to be able to stand up to bullies, especially for those who might get bullied in front of her. At the same time, those bullies are still people and I want her to treat them respectfully and care about their wellbeing too. No one should be written off.

It really takes the wind out of their sails when you feel sad for a bully and refuse to treat them poorly because of how they are treating you. It shouldn’t seem normal when someone acts like a bully. It should be seen as worse than a bad hair day or social awkwardness.

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