I’ve seen and heard the argument that a child needs to be around peers and experience bullying to be able to cope with difficult people later in life. I started to wonder how that hypothesis came about. I haven’t done any research, but I did do some thinking.
Why would a parent need to place their child in a school system (public or private) to be able to handle difficult people later in life? Does the bullying whether it is minor or major really help the child deal with future problems? I recall shows like Leave it to Beaver where this type of hypothesis was played out. Beaver had to learn to deal with his peers at school or he would have problems with them in the future. The generation that grew up on Beaver has parented another generation of kids. This idea is prevalent throughout Western society and was likely around long before Beaver existed. Why? Does it really matter?
Think about it. What is the result of bullying in schools? Do kids really learn how to deal with it? Much of the bullying in schools is done behind the backs of teachers and parents may not know about it either. So how are kids learning to deal with it? I know we hear about the extreme cases where someone is so distraught they commit suicide or shoot up their school. But what of the regular Joe who is a victim of bullying? He may not ever commit suicide and not even think about shooting anyone, but he may grow to dislike school. He may grow to have a poor self-concept. Years of not liking school or a poor self-concept can dramatically impact a child’s life and future goals.
Will homeschooling a child eliminate bullying from his or her life? Of course not. But it will drastically reduce it.
As for the premise of a child needing to learn to deal with bullying now to help them later on…I say it is hogwash!
I would rather have a confident mature individual confront a bully than an immature child who is still learning who he is. Who will have more success with a bully? The child who had to deal with bullies his whole life and faced much failure or an adult who has confidence? I suggest that the homeschooled child who has not had the bullying experience that the peer-schooled child has will be more successful as an adult when facing bullies. I don’t have facts or studies to back this up, but it seems like good old common sense to me.