20 February 2010

Children - kindness & cruelty

It has been a good, family oriented Chinese New Year celebration. As usual, lots of eating and meeting up with relatives we don't see very often. Keeps the ties connected.

We were at a friend's open house last night. And what I saw of children's behaviour concerned me.

After the food was served and tummies filled, some of the kids ran into the house to play together. Most of the adults sat outside chatting and eating. As is my usual practice, I would go check on the kids after a little while.

I found my kids in the TV area, playing. Most of the kids were around my son's age while my daughter was the youngest one there, just following whatever the older kids were doing. When I got to the TV room, there was one other mom sitting there. I sat down to watch - the TV as well as the kids.

At this time, the kids were already into what they were doing - and that was having a pillow fight. But the pillow fight was not a random pillow fight with unspecified targets. The kids had somehow targetted a boy and they were all hitting him with pillows. The girls were particularly vicious and persistent. I saw my son enjoying the spectacle, and joining in as well as encouraging his sister to do the same. My little girl hit the boy once with her pillow, then stopped. The victim was not a small boy, and if he retalliated, I am sure some of the girls would end up in tears. He was however, restrained (I like to believe it is because of his good upbringing) and merely shouted his warnings to his tormentors to stop. But at breaking point, he pushed one girl and swiped another with a pillow.

On my part, I signalled my son to stop participating in the "bullying". He complied, a little reluctantly. And I said to the group in general to stop the pillow fight. The other mom sitting with me said nothing. The mom of the victim arrived shortly and told her son to behave himself and not make trouble. Of course, the boy was aghast and protested that he was being attacked. But his mom did not reprimand the other kids, and merely repeated her request to her son to behave. An older sister of one particularly vicious girl came round and led her away.

Now, in such situations, what would you as a mom have done? Many would feel that until and unless things got really dicey, they would say nothing. They may instruct their own chidren to stop playing or lead them away from the area. But I am certain no mom would reprimand other people's children. The "mind your own business" mentality, or "the other mom would not like it" kinda thinking. So we just stand by and allow the kids to bully? The kids there were all about 9 years of age.

When we got home that night, I sat my boy and girl down for a talk. I told them that what they did was bullying. Targetting someone and attacking that person as a group. I asked the reason for the attack, and my son couldn't say. I asked if it was fun. He didn't deny it. I asked him to place himself in the boy's position and to feel whether he would like it. I explained to my kids about compassion and doing to others what you would like others to do to you. I told them in any bullying situtation to walk away and to report it.

Chidren can be cruel. Don't fool yourself into thinking they are innocent and kind and know right from wrong. They need our guidance so much.


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  2. Do you know any good dentist for teeth whitening?

  3. Do you know any good dentist for teeth whitening?

    1. Hi Hisham, thank you for your enquiry.

      A reader suggested Dr Karthi. His clinic is located at 234, Jalan Bercham Taman Ria, Taman Seri Dermawan, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. They provide services such as whitening,Scaling, Ortho, etc with reasonable price.