Bullying can sometimes find its roots and sprout from a simple misunderstanding left unchecked.
One of the main reasons that a child can be bullied, is that the child who becomes the bully feels as though they have been slighted or injured in some way. In a specific instance that I am thinking about, a child ate some candy that belonged to another child that was left out and the package was open. In thinking about the invisible rule that candy left out is for everyone to enjoy, you can see where this was probably an innocent act of a sweet tooth.
When the child who owned the candy came back for it, to find it gone, was understandably upset. And even though the child who ate the candy ‘fessed up and said they didn’t know it wasn’t for everyone, the other child (as some kids do) got stuck in the angry feeling.
Here is where this will go if we don’t intervene. What started to happen was the child who’s candy was eaten started whispering and talking to another child about the incident. This is the where it starts to mushroom. As one child begins to agree with the other child and generates more bad feelings and drama and ropes in more kids about it, the incident can quickly get blown out of proportion, and kids who were once friends start down a path that will create enemies.
The only way that we adults can head this off is to make sure that we are tuned in, call it out, and help kids learn the ways to remedy it. In this instance, I acknowledged the frustration of having your candy eaten on you, even if was by mistake. In the meantime, I have purchased a fresh bag of candy for the child who accidentally ate it, to give to the other just to replace it, thereby acknowledging it as a mistake, providing a fix that works for everyone, and preventing a small situation from growing out of control.