What if I told you that your child is a bully? How would you react? Would you welcome the idea that your child isn’t that perfect angel you thought him or her to be? Would you listen with an impartial, unbiased ear? What if I told you that my child cries him or herself to sleep every night because the horror your child puts him or her through. What if you told me my child was a bully? How would I react? Would I listen with an impartial, unbiased ear? I feel like we are all under the impression that our children are perfect. Those of us that know our children aren’t perfect, know that they make minor mistakes. “My child isn’t capable of being a bully” “You are just over reacting” “that’s just kids being kids”
Fact is kids are different today then when we grew up. We didn’t grow up with the Facebook, Twitter, email, and social media at our fingertips. Bullying is easier today then ever. Don’t think that your kids “know better” either. It’s happening right underneath our nose and we may not know it. Playful teasing we may call it. Whatever you want to call it, the end result is flat out brutal. One way or the other, we’ve all been bullied. Whether you were teased, picked on, or just plain ignored. To a certain degree it’s happened. Maybe not on a large scale but I’m guessing it’s happened. We know how this feels. We can put ourselves in the shoes of the individual being bullied. What about the parents though?
Part of being a parent is to do everything and anything to protect your child or children. You comfort when they have an earache. Rock them to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night. Sing to them when they cry. Kiss their “boo boos” with your magic kisses. Clean the scrape and put a band aid on it. Console them when their boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with them. We all have different ways of handling these kind of situations. History has provided us a playbook on how to handle these kinds of issues. These kind of issues have been around for years. Cyber bullying has not however. Texting, the Facebook, tweets, and emails are all relatively new. Our generation is the one writing the playbook on this form of bullying. So how are we doing? Not so good. What if I were to tell you it’s my child at the root of your child’s terror?
Bullying is happening in our schools. In any given school you can pick out a student who is going through this. Let’s look at this through the eyes of the parents. How do we react when that bully messages our child on the Facebook and is calling him or her vulgar names? The harassment doesn’t stop there though. The bully takes it as far as messaging the parent! What if I told you that your kid is messaging me telling me that my kid is a ______? How do we as parents make sure our kids aren’t the bully? Where is the play book for that? Kids may not feel safe going to school or other social events because they are terrified of a bully or worse yet, a group of bullies. How do you defend yourself against a gang of people? I don’t have answers for any of these questions which saddens me. The audacity of someone to expand their reign of terror to parents is unbelievable to me.
As a parent of a child who has been bullied, a world wind of emotions go through you. I’ll spare you the adjectives that you can guess would be coming next. The feeling of sitting at work waiting for a phone call or an email saying that your child has been beaten is indescribable. Knowing that your child is at work and may or may not be safe is unsettling. This happens everywhere. School, work, and even our churches. Your child doesn’t feel safe unless they are at home. Even at home, you find them behind a bedroom door with the sad sounds of sniffling and exhaustion from crying. No one should have to hear their 14 year old child cry them self to sleep. It’s difficult having a talk with your child about if they have thoughts of taking things too far. I don’t understand why these talks have to be had anymore. Have you ever came home from work and your child starts sobbing uncontrollably in your arms? If not, imagine that. What if I told you it’s your child that caused this?
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is regardless of where you live, some type of bullying is happening. It takes two to make this happen. If you know of someone getting bullied, perhaps you spend some time with your son or daughter. Maybe you take the extra few minutes and find out what the stem of the issue is. What happens if during these conversations, you find out it’s your child doing the bullying? You can say that the person being bullied is over reacting or being a “drama queen” but how would you feel if that was your son or daughter? I believe you wouldn’t be so quick to say it’s just kids being kids.
I’m a firm believer in the golden rule; “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. It’s a pretty solid message. It breaks my heart knowing what goes on while my head is turned. It saddens me knowing that this is happening. I’m not an expert on this by any means. There’s several others out there that have far more experience in this than me. It’s sad knowing that due to the little experience I have with it and how if impacted me and my family. My experience was on a very small scale considering what what is happening now. My heart goes out to those that have had to endure such brutality. I pray for those families that struggle with this. I ask you to do the same. It’s a serious issue that demands our attention as parents.
Before I send my children to school on Monday, my bride and I will have a talk with all our children. We will warn them about the dangers of bullying. We will have an in depth conversation about the repercussions that come with bullying. It’s a scary topic that I feel doesn’t get talked about enough. We spend lots of time talking about the dangers of drugs, and alcohol. Bullying, in my opinion, is just as bad. It effects the lives of our children and us as parents. It’s an epidemic that doesn’t get discussed enough.
I hope this reaches one parent or perhaps one bully. I hope that one word or one paragraph resonates enough that maybe it dawns on them how horrible bullying can be. Maybe you read this, or another post regarding the same topic and you show sympathy for those that you are affecting. I wonder if bullies know the trickle down effect their actions have. It effects school work, studies, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, religion, social skills, and many others.
Generally I’m rather fluent with words. I feel like I’ve covered quite the array of topics in the short amount of time I’ve been “writing”. I’ve discussed the loss of loved ones as well as once in a lifetime trips. The topic of bullying is incredibly difficult as it reaches so many. My goal here is not to call out your kid or mine. I guess the goal is to draw awareness to something that happens in our own backyard. To maybe help that one child that may be going through it. If anything, I know there will be a discussion with my children regarding this.
For families that have this happening to you, my heart goes out to you. Stay strong. Know that you have support. Find that support and lean on them. Someone loves you more than the illwill the bully has for you. Love is stronger than hate. Although times may be difficult now, things will get easier. It may not seem like it now, but it will. You are loved by more than you think. Don’t let the cruelty of a select few bring down how incredibly special and gifted you are. Love yourself more than you dislike them for what they are doing. Keep in mind that the people that love you, are there for you. No matter what you may think, your higher power is there for you. Your parents love you and it’s never too late to find a healthy relationship with them.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow bullying will stop. With the help of everyone it will stop. For those of you that are doing the bullying, I’ll spare you the normal things you hear. I will ask a question though. Why? I don’t understand how hurting others can make you feel so good. Instead of asking “How would you feel if this were happening to you?” I’ll propose a new question. How would you feel if someone was bullying your little brother or sister? Anyone that you love for that matter.
“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
― Michael J. Fox