We have a birthday party coming up at our house. Our youngest will have his first birthday party where he invites his classmates. Our school has a rule that you have to invite everyone if you are inviting students from the classroom. My other children have never had an issue with this, but my youngest had the most interesting reaction so far. He is upset because his classroom includes a bully. He does not wish to exclude the student. What upsets him is that he does not want the child in question to bother his friends at his party. As a parent, I feel fortunate to have kids with big hearts though it does bring on some social challenges.
How we dealt with it:
I felt terrible for my son. I knew this child was a bully; we have had several interactions with the student. Also, since I teach at their school, I know the student's history. My poor son was not trying to exclude or hurt anyone. He merely wanted to protect his friends. As a teacher and mom, I tried to find a way to help him to understand that this child might just be young and has not learned how to act around other kids yet. I explained to him that perhaps the student wants to be liked so bad that he behaves in a way that does not always get him what he wants but instead makes him a bully. As his mom, I tried to help him see that the students might have other bad things happening that make them act out.
Eventually, my son agreed it was still wrong to exclude the child. He agreed that maybe if he tried harder to include the child and showed the child how to be a good friend, the child would perhaps change their behavior. Now my son is looking forward to his party. He says he will still watch to see if his friends are being hurt or made to feel bad. If this happens, then he will not hesitate to protect his friends. That he wants to protect his friends impresses me and makes me proud. It shows that he cares and is not willing to allow bad things to happen to anyone. However, part of me feels the same way he does. Why should I reward the bully by allowing them to participate in the festivities? How would you handle an issue of a bully during birthday parties?
See our other post about dealing with bullying in school here. Also, do you have a story of kids with big hearts struggles to share with us? Please do; we love to hear how others cope with a difficult situation for children.