Raising Respectful Kids in a World of Influence

Whoa, that’s a deep subject right there. How do I raise my kids to be respectful to others; to portray the values we’ve taught them, once they step outside our little family and into the great big world of outside influence??

Let me give a little background to this topic…I have 3 kids  (Blake, Mckenna, and Harper) who we’ve worked on since day one to mold into respectful, compassionate, strong little beings who will hopefully take the lessons they’ve learned in our home out into the world and act in a manner for which we’d be proud of. I’m not saying they are timid children who never act out or do/say hurtful things, they are kids after all. They do their fair share of fighting and rough housing with each other but we also try to ensure those rambunctious activities don’t get too out of hand and are always mostly done in fun so that no one gets their feelings (or their bodies) hurt in the process. Of course, my husband and I can’t be there every minute nor do we want to play referee all day every day but we do keep an ear and an eye open and make corrections when needed.

The other day, I dropped Blake off at school and he went in search of friends to play with. He’d asked me to hang out and watch him so I observed as he came across a fellow kindergartner as well as an older kid. The little boy wanted to play with the bigger kid and the bigger kid, frankly, was being a bully taking the littler boy’s hat off of his head and throwing it on the ground. The little boy was getting visibly upset but still wanted to play with the bigger kid.

When Blake approached the boys the bigger boy told the younger one he should play with Blake and then told Blake to take the little boy’s hat and throw it on the ground. Now, me, watching this from the sidelines was hoping Blake would take the high road and hand the little boy’s hat back to him and they’d go along to play. However, that it not how things worked out…Blake took the little boy’s hat and he did as the older boy wanted; he threw the hat on the ground which caused the younger boy to become very upset and cry quite hard over the whole situation.

Standing there I wasn’t sure what to do…I mean, if I hadn’t been there the kids would have worked it out or maybe a teacher’s aid would have stepped in, right? Well, a teacher’s aid did approach but she didn’t intervene or make any movement towards consoling the younger boy or controlling the situation…I guess they don’t like to get involved. However, I just couldn’t stand by and let this behavior continue.

I called Blake away from the kids and told him that behavior was not acceptable and he was not to treat anyone that way. I pointed out that the younger child was crying and told him to go over and say he was sorry and give him his hat back. He got red in the face like he might cry so I tried to make it clear that I wasn’t mad but it was not the right way to act and reminded him he would not want to be treated that way. He went off with the kids again and they played until the bell rang and went about their days…

This situation happened several weeks ago but it continues to bother me. I will not raise a bully. I feel like we’ve done our best to instill honorable values in our kids but what happens outside of our walls? I’ve noticed that Blake is drawn towards older kids and I’m worried that he will take part in unsavory behavior in order to gain the friendship of kids who are older or who do not behave in a way we’d prefer for our kids.

You can’t keep your kids in a bubble, and I’d never want to but I feel like this time for Blake is a jumping off point for the rest of his life and as over-dramatic as that sounds I really believe if he doesn’t make the right decisions now; make the right friends now it’s a path for future successes or failures and I sure hope his actions and the people he surrounds himself with lead to more successes than failures.

What would you have done? Would you step in or watch from afar and let them work it out themselves? How would you react if it was your child being bullied?

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