Innocent Bullies on the Playground

Nov 5 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

The other day, while my son was playing inside the residency compound, I had the time to observe how the other kids were playing. Most of them were older than my child, playing different games. One boy, in particular, was chasing after kids with a rock. It was frustrating to witness as a rock is not something to mess around with.

Baffled by the situation, the parents hanging out near the playground told him to stop whatever he was doing. The boy pretended to stop at first, but as soon as our attention was diverted, he picked up the rock and threw it in the direction of another kid. From what I understood, the boy has nothing against the kid he threw the rock at. No parent or guardian in the compound could justify his behaviour.

To witness such a notorious act was disturbing. Parents should be responsible for their kids' behaviour or meet the consequences of them hurting others.

I often worry about my children, especially on school days.

Would they be targets for bullies?

The thought drives me crazy. Regardless, what comes to my mind whenever the subject of little children arises is their small stature, particularly the tiny feet or fingers and their innocence. Children are pure and harmless. Whatever harm they cause should be considered as failing to understand the societal norms and values they live in. This is partly a result of technological exposure or parents' failure to mind their behavioural development.

As a mother, I look for better ways to raise my children.

One of my inspirations comes from parenting videos that show specific "how-to's" on particular issues. Experts provide tips and ideas that are precise and on point. Recently, I started watching Jordan Peterson's lectures. He is a Canadian clinical psychologist and one of the digital world personalities trying to restore Western society's lost or forgotten virtues.

Peterson is articulate. He believes parents' job is to raise children, liked by many or not appalled by any. Such children are well-behaved and have enough awareness about the norms of the society that they are living in. One could argue against Peterson's idea, but raising a child with discipline opens a door for others not to be inconvenienced by their presence. Nobody wants to be around a child misbehaving.

Later that day, I learned that what happened at the playground was a recurrent incident. The boy turns a blind eye to his parents' commands to stop attacking other kids - several times. Schools may contribute to disciplining children, but parents must have authority over their kids through the discipline and reward systems.

If they cannot handle their kids, who can?

The way I grew up is where parents encourage their kids to fight back when aggressed. The morality of such guidance is arguable. Raising a child with a conqueror mentality is subjective, but that should not permit children to hurt others. It might serve as a protective mechanism but raising kids that terrorize others is unbearable.

As Peterson would say, "be fair"; half the problem is solved if parents raise children to be kind and disciplined.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 05,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1175]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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