When boys tell me that other boys have been mean to them, I often wonder whether the perpetrator knows how unkind he is being and what he is doing. I refer to boys because I have seen a flurry of them recently – many with the same problem. The problem being social exclusion and other boys being encouraged to leave out another child. The child who is left out feels that they haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, they have remained kind and friendly to the perpetrator and all their peers.
So why are they being left out and made to feel like they have no friends? I don’t know the answer especially if I don’t know the bigger picture. If the child is being honest with me then I can only assume that something is going on with the other boy and this kind of power is making him feel good. There could be many reasons for someone being unkind.
Reasons for Being Unkind
Perhaps they are jealous? Perhaps they are not getting the attention they need at home and feel like they have to have it at school? Perhaps they seek control over something? Perhaps they think they are being inclusive and that child has not felt welcome or not been invited? You aren’t always invited into a group – sometimes you just need to follow your friends. Perhaps they are not aware of what they are doing and if the boy told them how they felt they would know and they would stop.
I don’t know the answer but I do know that the boys I see need to see the whole picture, need to see what really is happening and need to make sure that they are not doing anything wrong. If a child examines their own behaviour and can honestly say they have done nothing wrong or to cause the situation, then they need to have the confidence to stand up for themselves and not let the perpetrator impact on their self-esteem. Not always easy to do but an important life lesson to learn.