Shame on the School District – Bus Monitor Bullied Part 1

First off, I want to warn you that this series will be a little different than my normal posts on practical parenting tips and tools. I found this story fascinating, and perhaps, the media coverage even more so. Also, I feel that there is much we can learn from these incidents as parents, and we all want to be better parents don’t we?

In regards to the bus monitor being bullied, I really put much of the responsibility on the school district. Knowing that bullying and school bus rides go hand in hand, the school districts failure to prepare their employee for bullying should not go unnoticed. BJC Healthcare School Outreach ranks buses as the number two place for bullying, second only to the playground, “The bus is noted by nearly 25 percent as the place for serious incidents of bullying”.

Why No Training?

Love and Logic® is not brain surgery. It is a curriculum  that many school districts use to give tools to all their employees. What should have, or could have the bus monitor done?

Here are some bus monitor bullying response ideas:

  1. Have a policy when the bus monitor feels the environment on the bus unsafe, signal the driver to pull over as soon as possible.
  2. Simple repeat to the children causing the problem: “The bus will continue when respectful words are used.”
  3. All offenders will be suspended from the bus after the crisis is over.

It is actions that teach, not warnings, threats or ignoring dangerous behavior, bullying is dangerous!

When I watch the bus monitor’s interview. I noticed when asked why she did not write the students up, she said that school was almost out and nothing would be done about it. Shame on the school district for not training their employee. It is always key to give kids predictable consistent consequences so they see adults as powerful, and trustworthy.

How do you think the other children on the bus felt when all this was happening? The problem they all fear at school when out of teachers’ sight is being tolerated right before their very eyes. In my opinion, they are the ones who should get the million dollars and it should be the school district that pays.

How does this relate to parenting? It is your actions that teach. Be sure you always bring calm predictable consequences to your child. This is how kids learn.

Also See Love and Logic’s “Teaseproof Your Kids”

Kids Naturally Want Freedom and Control

As kids develop their desire for freedom also grows. I was reminded of this while thinking about my chickens. Yes, I have chickens. They’re about 5 months old, and watching them develop from little chicks has been very interesting.

My husband calls their chicken coop “The Chicken Palace.” He’s right. It has water and electricity with a thermostat in case it gets too cold for them during the night. They have a spacious wire covered pen for safety, one side wet while the other side is covered. Then two other open pens that they can migrate to when I open their pen door. There’s even an automatic door that locks them in at night for safety. Aside from all that, they are let out for most of the day; hence they have pretty good life for being chickens.

But no matter what, they seek their freedom. Everyday, there are two or three that fly over the pen fence and roam the yard. It baffles me that they would want more room. I have come to accept that all creatures desire some sort of freedom.

Parents Can Give Away The Control They Don’t Need

Your kids too desire freedom. The easiest way to give them freedom is to share control with them. Offer them choices about things that do not matter to you: “Do you want to hold my right hand or my left hand?”

Do you really care how their room is decorated? Do you care which chair they sit in? No? Then instead of, “Sit down” try “Do you want to sit in this chair or this chair?” In other words, offer them choices about issues that directly impact them, but are not important to you.

Choices in Parenting: Why?

Why give all of these choices? What’s the point? Since these simple options you’re giving them are not important to you, its easy to offer around 20 choices a day. Doing this will make every regular request less stressful for you, and more empowering to them. You will notice less power struggles (fussing, arguing, etc…) and more bonding on a daily basis. Let them create, grow, fall and get up. There is no easier way to give freedom. To understand this concept more, here is an awesome, practical guide from Love and Logic to help you share control through choices. You can find more of my favorite resources here, or on one of my Pinterest boards.

Tomato Sauce Parenting Lesson

I recently, had a profound parenting lesson in a very unexpected setting. Who would have thought that an Italian chef making tomato sauce would turn into a parenting lesson

I was in Italy, Tuscany to be specific. If you know anything about the area of Tuscany, you know it’s all about the food and wine. And yes, we really enjoyed both! In fact my friend saw my Facebook posts and commented that all the pictures were of food and that it was a bit creepy. I agreed but hey, what can I say, every dish was a masterpiece!

Tomato Sauce Parenting?

One of the days we had a chef spend the day with us shopping for the ingredients in the local town and then cooking at our villa. Did I say villa? Oh yes, very fun trip!

When he was making a simple red sauce he told us that it is important to never buy the diced tomatoes because it is always the “junk” of the tomatoes. You should always use the whole canned tomatoes and “gently massage the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to break it down making them sweet, if you chop, it will be come bitter.” One of the other people in our group commented that that sounds a lot like how we should handle our kids. My ears perked right up, you know, anything to do with parenting!

“Chopping” Makes Kids Bitter

As I thought about the chef’s instructions and the person’s comment, I saw the link. When we “Chop” at our kids we make them bitter. Conversely, when we are calm, gentle and empathetic with setting limits we teach them about real life, they become a sweet masterpiece.

Parenting Challenge (for all of us):

How do you “chop” your kids? For me, it’s when I set too high of expectations for them. When they were young, it was nagging them and lecturing to them instead of just using calm consequences.

  • What are your tools to massage them to make them sweet?

The tool I use most is Enforceable Statements. It is a tool that helps a parent set a limit while sharing control with the child.