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Swimming with Little Sharks

Posted on October 05 2016

I focus a lot on teaching my children how to behave peacefully and to not use hurtful words with others. While I think this is my contribution to society to not raise a**holes, I wonder if it's doing my children a disservice because not all parents are teaching their children to behave in this way and it's equally important to make sure my children are able to assert themselves and navigate through uncomfortable situations.

Once my kids entered elementary school, I realized that there's no way I will ever know what they're experiencing behind school walls. I wondered if I've prepared them enough to be able to defend themselves when others behave poorly towards them. I also wonder if they've even taken my advice and are indeed supporting their peers and only using kind words.

I quickly realized that I also need to teach them how to defend themselves since children aren't mature enough to understand how to be courteous and fair at all times, mine included. So, what am I supposed to do? What sort of language can they use when someone is mean to them? Do they go tell the teacher? But, they need to learn how to deal with things on their own and also to let things roll off their back. Being able to choose their battles is something that is valuable throughout life.

This blog post from Aha! Parenting states 'The most effective way to keep children from being bullied, and from becoming bullies, is to make sure they grow up in loving, respectful relationships, rather than relationships that use power or force to control them.' Compassionate discipline is a suggested method to keep the understanding of power healthy. But after a long day at work and running around to multiple extracurricular activities, I'm not always the best at it. But I'm trying.

Some say that parenting is 80% connection -- a close relationship with your child -- and only 20% guidance. So, it looks like being an example and being present is the best we can do to make sure our children can swim with the sharks, but not act like one. And there are plenty of sharks out there. I'm choosing to raise happy fishies with scales of steel.

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