Bullying or Teasing?
Today we had an absolutely fantastic morning of professional development by Kimberly Eckert of the Eckert Centre on “Raising an Assertive Child.” She has many parenting workshops and this morning offered some insights to us as teachers on how we can properly handle conflict in the classroom. What an eye-opener it was for me!
One of the biggest things I learned was just the importance of labeling behaviours properly. What might be one young boy venting on the soccer field about a blown play is very different than targetted behaviour directed at someone with the specific intent of causing them harm.
What also gave me pause was thinking about the damaging effects mis-labeling can have. If the one boy’s actions or words, said in the heat of the moment during a soccer game are labeled “bullying” and he is removed from the next three games – things only get harder for our victim. He is never going to feel comfortable around this boy again, he is probably going to be shaky in his soccer game, and the boy labeled a bully has now gained that reputation. Furthermore, the relationship has not been restored and the divide between these two children will continue to grow and expand.
Instead – what if that was simply labeled a bad choice of words and left at that? What if the young man that got chewed out for his bad play was instead given the tools to deal with this escalated incident and had been able to diffuse the anger, make a joke and admit he was wrong – bad play – but encourage his teammate to take a chill pill?
There were so many lessons that I gleaned from this mornings talk – but those two incidents were really key things left in my brain to percolate – mislabeling and how damaging that can be for the remainder of your life – to always be thought of as the bully – or vice versa, and always be labeled as a passive receptor for such treatment. The second was this, that we are in the business of character development – not just simply crisis management. So, while I may be able to deal with an issue very, very quickly and efficiently – and may or may not be able to coach my children directly on getting a situation dealt with asap, that is not ultimately going to help me reach my ultimate goal.
For me – the ultimate goal has far more to do with their character development and who they are as a person over the long haul, than bringing a speedy resolution to a problem stemming from grade four.
If you can attend I highly recommend her seminars. I can’t wait till we get to do it again!