You think that your children are safe because they’re homeschooled. You’re with them during the day. You know who their friends are. You know who the parents of their friends are, and the adults in charge of the activities they attend. You’re protecting them from bullies, because they can’t be bullied if they aren’t ever out of the sphere of adult protection.
Unfortunately, bullies don’t just hang out in school yards anymore.
Bullies can appear in many, many different places. They appear in sports activities. They appear in clubs. They appear in churches.
And there aren’t always adults watching.
Sometimes, adults look the other way in spite of the bullying, because they don’t want to see. Sometimes, they ignore the obvious because they think it’s just normal childhood behavior. And sometimes, they are so impressed by the “usual” attitudes of the children they are in charge of that they don’t believe them capable of that kind of behavior.
Sometimes, bullies are popular kids. Sometimes, they’re the ones at the forefront of activities, pushing their way in and pushing others out. Sometimes, they’re the ones that the teachers like the best—the ones that volunteer to help at every opportunity. They’re the ones who are well-liked and even respected by the adults in charge of the group.
That doesn’t make them less cruel.
Make sure that you’re watching your kids. You can’t watch them every second. You can’t go with them everywhere that they go—but you can be aware of them. You can take note when they suddenly stop wanting to attend an activity that they once enjoyed, or when they are spending more time hiding behind you than with their peers. You will know if their attitudes change, or their behaviors change.
Watch your kids. Ask questions. And then stand up for them—because they need to know that they’re protected no matter where they are.