Childhood Play vs. Bullying

When I grew up, we played lots of cops and robbers, tag, hide and seek with cousins, siblings, friends. We teased each one another, laughed, and played by the rules. No one whined or griped because they were teased since they also dished out some fun-loving teasing, chasing, and pranks. My younger brother was all part of this youthful experience-he was NEVER excluded. However, I have noticed that some young people want to tease and target another person with fun-loving antics, yet they want to be "untouchable." It is okay in their minds to "go after" their peers, yet can't handle when the tables are turned. This behavior can become an imbalance of power, otherwise bullying. My message is that often the person who displays this behavior and can't take any back wants power. Young people learn social skills through play. Fairness where everyone plays by the rules is a life skill for ALL. If one continues getting by with the power, they can soon become a bully and the stakes are higher. All children have had this experience on the playground, with neighborhood kids, etc. But, as a teacher, I say, play by the rules. Everyone equally should participate. If you dish out some teasing that is meant only in fun, then expect to get some back.
If you have a child who has been bullied, remember the bully is a scared person, who is hurting. If someone stands up to that person, the bully cowers. Have a great weekend and share or comment if you agree. Feedback is always appreciated. I want us to learn from one another in a nonjudgmental way.

As adults work with children, we must watch for bullying and have good discretion on what is fun play and where it can cross the line.  


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