According to webster's dictionary,
Name-Calling (noun): The act of using offensive names to insult someone; The use of offensive names especially to win an argument or to induce rejection or condemnation (as of a person or project) without objective consideration of the facts.Doesn't sound very intelligent. Basically, it's a form of bullying whereby someone feels the need to break someone else down to make them feel superior.
So it still made me wonder where my kids would be picking up on it. I took some time during the day to pay close attention to how Matt and I spoke to each other, and watched a movie with the boys taking extra note of how the characters interacted. What I found broke my heart.
The movie we watched was riddled with name-calling. Hidden behind comedy and only in a couple scenes were the actions even rebuked. But what made things worse was realizing that the same thing was going on within our house between Matt and I. Yes, we may have known if the intentions were comical or deeper... but there was no way for my boys to discern that behavior. I know in their eyes... what they see us do or say must be "ok" for them to emulate but that's not true. As parents, we didn't sign up claiming to be perfect individuals...and now that our lil humans are developing their own mannerisms and behavior patterns... we have to be more diligent in protecting them from witnessing what could become very damaging behavior.
Bullying is all the rage in our schools and its being broken down into so many levels. Verbal abuse is just one of the ways people with low confidence try to overtake a situation and belittle someone. I don't want to train my kids to be that way, but I also don't want them to be victim. So for now I can start working with them to show them constructive ways to interact and work with someone who is difficult or different from them...because that life lesson will follow them through adulthood. And if I can get them to see the low confidence that's behind this action, maybe they'll be strong enough to turn and walk away, rather than engage. We all know misery loves company.
As for my self-reflection. I'm working on being more vocal on my low tolerance towards name-calling. Whether to myself or others... I'll speak up to stop it. I challenge you all to do the same.
And if you're a victim or verbal or emotional abuse, I encourage you to reach out to a close friend, counselor or church group to get the support you need to fight it.