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One in three students say they have been bullied at school.

One in three.

Why are our children so mean to each other? I wish I knew the answer.

But honestly, I’m not sure the answer matters. What is the point in debating the source of the problem? I’m afraid it will only lead to pointing fingers. And pointing fingers won’t change the fact that this is a problem. It’s our problem.

So what do we do? Again, I wish I knew. Unfortunately, I don’t.

What I do know is this: I will promise if you will promise.

I will promise to teach my child how to be kind.

I won’t just assume it comes naturally. I will talk to her about kindness and empathy. I will notice when she is being kind. I will value kindness in her the way I do any other achievement. I will help her see herself as a kind and thoughtful person. I will talk to her about what it means to be a good friend.

I will promise if you will promise.

I will promise to think about your child.

I won’t label your child as a “bully” if I hear he or she has been unkind. I will remember that all of our children are just that—children. They are learning. And in all learning, people make mistakes. That does not mean they are bad. It means they are learning. And these social challenges are simply opportunities to learn how to be better.

I will promise if you will promise.

I will promise to work together.

With you, with our children, with their teachers, and with anyone else who is part of the team helping to shape these young people. When our children treat each other with kindness and respect, we all benefit. Therefore, it is in the best interest of our children and ourselves to work together. When you come to me with concerns about your child or mine, I promise to do my best to listen, to be open-minded, to not get defensive, and to work together with you for our kids. I promise to remember that we are the same.

I will promise if you will promise.

And last but not least, I will promise to be kind.

Nothing teaches our children more than the example we set. I promise to be thoughtful about the words I say to and around my child. I promise to look for opportunities to model kindness. I promise to practice thinking about others, in the grocery store, in the school drop-off line, at sports practice, in traffic, and at home with my spouse. I promise to pay attention to my own behavior. I promise to be accountable to my children, to admit when I make a mistake, when I should have been kind but wasn’t.

I promise to do the best I can for our children.

I will promise if you will promise.

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Megan Launchbaugh

Megan is a Nebraska native who is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She spent eight years working in the education field before studying to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. Most recently she has begun exploring stay-at-home-mommyhood while raising her two daughters in a blended family with her amazing husband. She loves taking pictures, ordering books from Amazon, wishing she could play the guitar, and planning what she will go back to school for next. She blogs about authenticity and raising authentic children and, when she isn't cleaning up toys or folding laundry, she can be found writing in her own little corners of the Internet. Keeper of the Snacks: Mommyhood Unedited http://www.keeperofthesnacks.wordpress.com/ Connect with Megan: Facebook http://www.facebook.com/keeperofthesnacks Twitter @keeperofsnacks

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