The adult world is often just like elementary school when it comes to bullying

Social Rules for Kids-The Top 100 Social Rules Kids Need to Succeed
I got this book for my kindergartner the other day. He’s very sweet and naive, but also small for his age which means he could be a target for bullies. I’ve already noticed that he can be far nicer to kids than they are back to him. When they are annoyed with him, or mean to him, he’s such a loving boy that he doesn’t notice. So, I am trying to teach him some social skills without breaking his spirit…so he doesn’t end up an easy target like I did! I’m not even sure how this book came up in my Amazon recommendations, but I clicked on it, liked what I saw and bought it. It came in the mail today, and the first section I skipped ahead to was the chapter with tips about bullying. You know, this is a book for kids 7 and up, but the one page rules are so basic and true. So simple, and yet I literally did not know some of these things until recently!

Frankly, as a neglected, nerdy, social awkward child with parents who didn’t care one bit about me or my social skills, I could have used this book. In fact, I think I could use it now!

Anyway, I turned to Rule #52 “Don’t Be a Victim” because I was curious about what it would say. Each of these rules is just a page with simple facts and bullet points, but some of the quotes struck me.

For example, in the opening statement it says “Once a victim, the role tends to follow me everywhere.” Isn’t that the truth? I’ve posted before about what makes people repeat victims, and how being victimized once makes you significantly more likely to be victimized again. Once it’s happened, you develop traits that make you more vulnerable, or you gain a reputation in your social circle that makes it “acceptable” for others to bully you. Sometimes even the nicer kids follow just because peer pressure makes it “the thing to do.” I have lived it. Pushing 40 years old, and it is still happening to me after the sociopath’s smear campaign.

This Rule gives a list of reasons kids want to victimize others and how to keep them from doing it to you. These are simplified, of course, because they are for little kids and not adults dealing with sociopath partners, but I’m looking forward to going through all the “rules” with my kids. (They aren’t all about bullying, there is a variety of topics.) This page closes with “If I am a victim once, I will be targeted again and again. I can change my actions so I will not be a victim!” This part certainly holds true for all of us!

The next few rules apply to potential flying monkeys! Rule 53 is “Don’t Be the Messenger” and is basically saying not to help the bullies bully others–even if you are hoping that it will make you more popular. Rule 54 is “Don’t Pass Rumors.” Rule 55 is “Avoid Kids in Cliquey Groups” and later says that one reason kids are part of cliques is because they want “power and control.” Isn’t that the truth!? Look at all the people who follow the narcissist. Their reasons are not so different from the reasons this author gives for little kids following cliques.

My mom is a narcissist, but one time she did tell me something that was right on. After she went to her 20th high school reunion, she came home and said that all the people she’d gone to school with were just the same as adults. The mean girls were still mean. The nerds were still nerds. The cool guys were still cool. And the bullies were still bullies. Sadly, that has been my experience as well. The same social games that people played in junior high exist within adult groups! Sad but true.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty interesting that this helpful book for kids spelled out so basically some of the things we might not have learned until adulthood. (Or at least I didn’t!) Sometimes I read books like this that are for kids, and I find them very helpful because I missed out on so much childhood and real parenting from my crappo parents. Things I probably would have learned in a healthy family were totally foreign to me as an adult. I got the book to help my son, but I have a feeling I might get some good reminders myself!

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