Episode 4: Don’t violate my NAP — Bullying

Main idea: Teaching children the importance of standing up for themselves and others

The non-aggression principle or “NAP” and the non-violent principle or “NVP” as approached by Libertarian moms basically means teaching your kids: Don’t hurt people. Don’t take their stuff.
  • The purpose and scope of the podcast
  • What you can expect in each episode: funny mom stories, common experiences, and honest conversations about how our Libertarian principles play a role in our parenting
  • Who we are
    • I’m Kasie, I’m in Columbia and we just had our first year of middle school. Day two I went Mama Bear on the sixth grade Vice Principal.
    • I’m Jessica, and I live in the Upstate of SC. I have two sons, one preteen and one elementary aged. With my eldest being a rising sixth grader we have recently had many discussions around bullying. 
  • Today’s topic: Don’t violate my NAP – non-aggression principle / NVP – non-violence principle
    • Beginning anecdote — Jessica’s story about the boys’ breakfast bully at school, the boys’ first experience with a bully. How each boy handled the situation, and the conversations had after the fact. 
    • Kasie: HB says there is so much anti-bullying talk in her elementary and middle school that kids who tried to bully would be shamed for their behavior. She did identify the “cool kids” group — self-proclaimed “popular” without any specific reason for being so. So the bullying is there, it’s just super passive aggressive.
    • Helping the kids understand the NAP (Non-Aggression Principle)
      • The NAP is a cornerstone of Libertarianism, guiding principle against using aggression and force as a means of making others believe or do what we want them to do (simplified)
        • How does this relate to schoolyard or cafeteria bullies? Bullies are aggressors, whether they want to steal someone’s juice or are just seeking attention or validation.
        • Note- Self-Defense is not aggression when used against an aggressor, and is acceptable when necessary for the defense of self or others against an aggressor.
    • How do we talk to our children about this?
      • Jessica notes: I think it is so important to make the distinction between aggression/force and self-defense/defense of others. My pre-teen is a big boy (5’4, 170 lbs), which is why his nickname is Tank. We have not only had discussions about their specific experience with the Breakfast Bully, but also those you see online- like the kids beating up a special needs child or a child who is smaller and seemingly incapable of defending themselves. One of the things we have also taught Jackson is that he not only has the right to defend himself should he find himself in a situation like that, but that he should also never stand by and allow that to happen to someone else. It is important to me for him to understand that he has an obligation to step in in those situations where someone who is defenseless needs help. He will never be punished at home for defending himself or someone else, no matter what the consequence may be at school (or wherever the instance occurs). 
      • Kasie notes: I think standing up for herself is the thing I try to teach Hollie, but also how to diffuse conflict through negotiation, listening and trying first to understand and then to be understood. Our Mama Bear experience was about the dress code. We can do an entire episode on how dress codes unfairly target girls and blame girls for boys’ sexual appetites; suffice it to say, her Vice Principal decided he would single Hollie out, on multiple occasions, about the skirts she wore. They were athletic skirts with built-in shorts and she frequently wore leggings underneath or, if she had bare legs because it was 100 degrees, she had long socks up over her knees. She was adorable and original, and non-conforming and he picked on her. 
      • Jessica notes: This is not only with regard to physical aggression either. It applies to verbal aggression as well. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” clearly never experienced verbal abuse. Words can be hurtful, and they can be just as damaging as physical action (ie: racial slurs, using words like “retard” in jest, etc.). “Measure your words” has been an important and reinforced lesson in our home. 
      • Kasie notes: I haven’t always stood up for myself when it comes to my own wardrobe choices. I conformed for a long time. A lot longer than I like to admit, frankly. I’m intentionally eccentric. I think of it as a rock star look and Hollie’s look is similar. It’s different and she has a right to express herself. More than anything, at age 11 and age 12 is when her self confidence is taking the biggest beating, that an adult would intentionally criticize her self-expression was devastating. We’re still recovering. Both of us.
    • The “Why”
      • Continuing the work of those who came before us 
        • Kasie notes: When we’re teaching our kids to be themselves and be comfortable in their own skin, we have to remember that some people will reject nonconformity and make it hard on our Liberty-loving kids.
    • Why these are Libertarian ideas — if we haven’t covered that already, let’s put it into context for them. Staying with our Libertarian niche will earn more audience than straying from the advertised brand of parenting advice.
  • Coming up on the next episode: Applesauce & Anarchy – how to talk about Portland, riots, and the federal deployment of armed troops
  • Follow us on all the socials
  • Thanks and goodbye

Published by kasiewhitener

Author of After December, host of Write On SC, YouTube channels for both and blogging like it's my job at http://kasiewhitener.com

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