Today´s visit to Heureka children´s science centre reminded me that many character problems start occurring way before school. It does not take a school to create a bully.
I was playing with these gigantic soft building blocks with my 3-year-old nephew when this approximately 5-year-old kid turned up - with his Mom. He started ripping toys from my nephew, got intentionally on his way in the slide and spent most of his time just beating stuff up.
I gave him nasty looks so he understood to move away but he kept testing the limits. The mother was standing next to this kid, checking her mobile and flicking through the photos on the digital camera. The kid kept running around, jumping recklessly on the pillows and destroying the constructions built by others. The mother witnessed the situation but did not act upon it. The kid had a similar look in his eyes as the jerk sergeants during my military service. He knew he was feared - and was loving it.
I can´t see into this mother´s head. But I can´t accept her actions. Maybe she was just glad of her child not being the "weak" one being bullied. But without intervening she was teaching her son that this kind of action is OK with strangers. She was teaching her son that this is how you get things through.
The situation made me sick and I lured my nephew out of the room with the power of ice cream. The mother was upholding the "boys are boys"/"real men" attitude, which prevents boys from going to hobbies such as dancing, makes them scared of showing weakness or sadness and locks them up in tightly framed expectations where violence is the only allowed method of proving your masculinity.
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