I realize that I've been MIA for a little while. There really isn't much of an update to give about life right now other than I'm really looking forward to having energy again. I'm exhausted every day when I get home from work so if I even get around to responding to emails, it's a feat of sheer will and sweat.
I had a thought while I was driving home today through the winter rain. I thought back to those queen bees in school, the mean girls, the bullies. I'm not referring to just females although I realize the words I previously used may seem to suggest otherwise. My experience in life was with both male and female bullies; those experiences are definitely not ones that I look back on and laugh at now. Not because I'm a pansy or because I don't know how to stand up for myself. But because looking back at those memories makes me sad. I'm sad for the child that I was that endured the teasing and whatnot but I'm also sad for the other child, the bully in the situation.
Obviously, this frame of thought leads me to thinking about the next 18 years or so of raising our first child. Pregnancy sort of grabs hold of your conscious (all levels, sub and un included) and I've found that everything directly relates to my pregnancy now (and I'm fairly certain that others around me find it obnoxious and I can't blame them...really how does office paper relate to my pregnancy?). So of course, as I was thinking about this "bully" topic, I began to wonder about my own child.
I realized something in college about bullies (sad it took me that long). I realized that bullying is a form of displaying insecurity. I suddenly had this thought about the "mean girls" and "bullies" that I knew: what is it about you that makes you want to hate me? (or something to that effect). I finally realized that the issue really wasn't about me all along but it was really about the bully themselves. I'm fairly certain I remember my parents telling me that when I would complain about mean people and I really wish I had understood then what they meant.
As well as with the bully though, catty gossip is typically encouraged with a dash of insecurity in the gossiping parties. Looking back on all of the friends I've had, the nicest ones were the least likely to gossip. I, unfortunately, did not have the sense to be closer to those girls and wound up spending way too much time on people who didn't really want to be close to me.
Alright so what does all of this dribble boil down to? My question is: how do you raise a child with a strong sense of self and confidence? I know that my parents were encouraging and supportive. But I also know that I struggled with self-esteem/confidence issues for years. It wasn't until my early 20s did I really start to have a strong sense of self-confidence. Was that an issue brought on by an environment outside of the home? I would be lying if I didn't say I worry about the struggles my child will face. Will he/she be picked on in school and tormented? Or (worse) will they be the one tormenting others? I'd like to think that we would raise a child to be loving, compassionate, and open minded about people but isn't that what every parent wants for their child? So isn't that likely what the parents of the bullies wanted?