I've been trying to write a blog about bullying for months now. Yet every single time I sit down to do a little research on the issue I get so overwhelmed and heartbroken by how cruel people can be that I end up walking away. The issue of bullying in itself seems overpowering (and I'm a 40 year old woman, I can't imagine being a kid these days).
This first blog focuses solely on the issue, not the resolution. Before we can fix any problem, we must first identify it correctly. This is for ALL PARENTS that have kids in school!
Roughly 4,400 kids a year commit suicide, and that's only one suicide per every 100 attempts...consider the reality in that fact alone.
Over 3 millions kids are bullied each year and on average about 160,000 kids EVERY SINGLE DAY stay home from school because of a bullying problem they're facing. Despite the fact that these numbers are so huge, most parents still assume that bullying isn't an issue with "their kids". For most parents this is "someone else's kid" and "someone else's problem".
First of all, as a parent, I think it's important that you understand above ALL things that bullying isn't like it used to be. When briefly discussing that I would be writing this blog, someone on my Facebook page said that "bullying was a right of passage and something we all endured as kids" and he believes everyone is making too big of a deal of it.
That statement, although ignorant, is shared by many. If you agree with this, as a parent you're simply uninformed and are choosing to be a part of the problem. Bullying is NOT like it was for most of us growing up. The bullying happening today is quasi criminal, if not just down right illegal, and the level of relentless cruelty that exists is beyond anything than most of us parents ever had to endure.
When researching this issue I came across a YouTube page of a young lady that had committed suicide apparently because she had sex with a boy and subsequently given into his requests for naked photos via text, which he turned around and shared with the entire school. Everyone started bullying her. Within one week, she was dead.
Assuming the bullying was a handful of girls calling her a slut or a whore...I was shockingly wrong. The things kids were saying to her was on a level of "evil" that blew my mind. And it wasn't 4 or 5, there was a small army of them. Even on the thread of her YouTube In Memoriam video, kids were STILL bullying her. Even after death she was still getting bullied.
And no, they weren't just calling her a whore and a slut, they were saying things like "I'm glad you're dead, no one ever loved you". One guy wrote "I wish I could have ass raped you before you 'offed' yourself". Another one wrote "I'd like to have sex with your dead corpse".
Don't stop reading this because that's hard to hear...if you're a parent you don't get to stick your head in the sand while your kids deal with this reality. SHAME ON YOU! And if you turn a blind eye now, you are PART OF THE PROBLEM and part of the reason kids are dying. Suck it up, grow up...and keep reading! These are OUR kids, our daughters and our sons!
The bullying now isn't just "kids being kids". it's not "just mean". It's demonically evil and it's relentless and it's looks something more like kids being horrible and mean adults, far more than it looks like "kids being kids". The attacks on our children in school these days are beyond anything we ever dealt with. You think this is a right of passage? You think this kids should just "suck it up"? Most adults couldn't endure for half a day what many kids endure for months at school.
Just close your eyes and imagine how you would feel if every single day that you got up and went to work you first had to carpool with people that were making fun of you the entire ride to work. And once you got there everyone in the office started yelling at you, laughing at you, talking about you...groups at a time would come up to you and tell you that not only are you fat, ugly and pointless but that you should just go kill yourself, no one would miss you, in fact, the world would be better without you. They'll even give you the gun to shoot yourself if you would just do them all a favor. You notice that your boss sees all of this and does nothing and you cannot quit your job because it's the law that you work here. The few employees that may be on your side are too scared to say anything so each and every day you get up and you go to work and this is what you deal with. How long would you last? THAT is the reality for millions of kids each year!
Roughly 1200 kids every single day try to kill themselves. Relate it to working hours...that's 150 kids per hour that tried to kill themselves today while you were at work.
By the time it's taken you to read the blog this far, thousands of kids have already dealt with being bullied by someone and hundreds have attempted suicide. THAT is how frequently it happens in schools, which begs the question, WHO IS TO BLAME?
Two things I know for sure: Someone created the bully and/or someone is tolerating the bully.
ARE YOU CREATING A BULLY? Are you mean?
I believe that bullying is often times (not always) a learned behavior, which should make you wonder, ARE YOU A BULLY TOO? You may dismiss the notion but I just want you to consider this for a minute. I truly do not believe most parents realize that THEY are bullies. Perhaps your kids are learning how to bully from you?
Most kids are getting bullied for (a) being gay (b) having disabilities (c) religious or cultural beliefs (d) racial or ethnic reasons, and/or (e) physical attributes, which can be being deemed "too pretty" as much as it is being "ugly". These are subjects that many adults still take issue with.
What do your kids see at home? How do you treat people when they disagree with you? How do you treat people or talk about people that look different from you or have different opinions than you do?
Your attitude towards the outside world around your kid(s) means everything. Here me out:
Gay rights is a huge topic in our country right now. MANY vehemently disagree with the rights for gays to marry. What do your kids hear you say when discussing this with your spouse or friends? Are you "bullying" with your words on this subject?
It's one thing to say "I don't agree, and here's why....". It's another to say "f*ck those fags I hope they burn in hell" or "gay people make me sick" or "I hope all gay people die of disease" (all of these being responses I've actually seen on the internet on this subject). The adults making these comments I believe are the adults that are raising these bullies!
What you are teaching your kids is called INTOLERANCE and intolerance creates bullies! If that statement upsets you, I would suggest that it also describes you.
We've created a society of intolerance for people that don't look like, dress like, act like, worship like, praise like, pray like, think like and behave exactly as we do. We have become a world of absolute intolerance for those not like us, which is part A of why we have such an issue with bullying..it is in our refusal to see the world as IT TRULY IS...and not just as WE are!
Think twice before you verbally bash someone you disagree with. Remember, your kids are listening, watching and learning. How you treat people does not go unnoticed around your children. You may be a bigger part of the problem than you realize!
You don't have to mean to someone just because they disagree with you. Are you teaching your kids this lesson?
IS YOUR KID A BULLY?
You are probably going to dismiss the idea but if you were truly a loving, concerned, caring and "involved" parent, you'd talk to your kids! Our kids are seriously the kindest human beings on the planet. They pick up spiders and set them outside so they don't kill them. Seriously! They're incredibly sweet and throughtful...
We still sat down and talked to them.
1. Do you see bullying at school
2. Do you personally know of or are you friends with anyone that's bullying someone
3. Are you a bully?
4. Has anyone ever called you a bully?
5. How do you handle kids at school that you feel are "'weird" or different"
6. If you see someone being bullied what do you do? What have you done in the past? How do you handle it?
7. Why do you think people bully?
You will probably be more shocked than you realize to hear how your kids respond to these questions. We forget to communicate with our children. Teach them. They are sponges and want to learn from you!
ARE YOU THE REASON BULLIES BULLY?
Here's some harsh words I'm going to throw out: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. In doing "nothing", you're actually very much taking a stance! In fact, if you do nothing you're taking a strong supportive stance FOR bullies. I learned this when I was 9.
When I was a kid there was one summer night where we were all outside hanging out, grilling, eating fresh watermelon, riding our bikes around, all of the kids and parents were together (you know...how things USED to be).
About four houses down from where we were all hanging out there was a man that suddenly started beating his wife so bad that you could hear her screaming and yelling all the way down the street. Then suddenly, she jumps into their car and starts to drive off, heading straight towards us all. He runs after her, catches up to her and drags her out of the car and literally starts beating the shit out of her in front of all of us.
All of the parents yelled for the kids to go inside. I just assumed all of the dads were going to go tackle him, someone perhaps would call the cops. But instantly I realized they were all retreating indoors too. No one did anything. NO ONE said a word. No one even tried stopping him. There were FIVE men outside at the time that this happened and not ONE of them did anything to help this woman.
I don't think my mom was around but I remember absolutely freaking out asking my dad why he wasn't going out there to stop him and he said "it's none of our business". And then he looked at both my brother and myself and said "don't ever get involved in someone else's fight, it's not your problem".
And THAT my friends is why we have so many bullies.
I remember the look on that ladies face when she saw us all going inside. She looked defeated. It was etched in my memory forever and that experience is one of the things that molded me as a child and made me the person I am today.
More people have the opinion that "if it's not happening to us than who cares".
One of the most prolific things I've ever read is a poem written by a prominent pastor from a concentration camp during World War II entitled "First They Came For the Jews". In it he discussed how the Nazi's were coming after everyone, town by town...and he watched them all being taken away in groups... and did nothing.
(here's the poem)
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
He eloquently put into writing one of the biggest issues we have when it comes to bullying: NO ONE STANDS UP FOR ONE ANOTHER ANYMORE!
The poem in today's schools would look a lot like this:
First they came for the gays, and I did not speak out, because I am not gay.
And then they came for the disabled kids, and I didn't speak out, because I am not disabled.
Then they came for those that were of different races, and I did not speak out, because I am in the majority.
And then they came for me...and there was no one left to speak out for me.
If you stand around and watch someone get bullied and keep your head down, "just feeling thankful it's not you"...it will someday be you...and in that moment you'll look around and wish someone stood up for you too and you will undoubtedly remember the time you did nothing to help others in need!
MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER AS PARENTS -
CYBER BULLYING IS YOUR FAULT
Parents, we've given up TOO MUCH control to the kids, the system, the schools and the government. It's time we take it all back!
Taking back control is key. We have become a society where we rely too much on public assistance. It's not the teachers responsibility to teach my kids about bullying. It is MY responsibility as a parent and I'm sick of these parents blaming schools for THEIR own lack of parenting!
Cyber bullying is just as big of an issue as school yard bullying, if not more now. THIS IS 100% completely within your control. TAKE BACK YOUR CONTROL. Our 14 year old doesn't have Facebook. We told her when she was younger she could have one in high school...but then high school rolled around and she started seeing how many people are being bullied online so she made the decision herself to not be apart of any of it.
I am sickened by what these parents are allowing their kids to do online. If your kids have a Facebook page and YOU'RE NOT "friends" with them, you're an uninvolved parent. If your kids have a phone and you don't' have control over it, you're an uninvolved parent. If your kids refuse to let you see what they're doing online, you're an uninvolved parent. If you don't have control over the computers in your home, you're an uninvolved parent!
And if you're an uninvolved parent than you are part of the problem in this country. In fact, you're the biggest part of the problem! We are afraid for our children because of all of wild kids roaming around this country without any parental supervision. We are afraid for our kids because of all of the "uninvolved parents" out there.
If you're going to be adult enough to have kids than for GODS SAKE PLEASE be adult enough to parent them or give them to someone who will! The school didn't give birth to your child. The government didn't get pregnant. YOU DID! Take responsibility for your role as a parent. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO BE RESPONSIBLE and AFFECTIVE, PRODUCTIVE ADULTS IN THIS WORLD!
Consequences create character and teach responsibility. Why did we move so far away from implementing consequences in this country?
I threw dirt in someones face in 2nd grade and my parents stood in the counselors office and watched me getting spanked with a board. You know what? I never threw dirt again! It was JUST that easy for me to learn!
In conclusion...I understand that there are exceptions to all of these things I've said. Please don't bother disagreeing with me and then bullying me into your point of view. I posted on Facebook that I was merely going to be discussing this issue and there was one guy in particular that started calling everyone names and being very hateful just because no one agreed with him. And therein lies the ultimate problem back to intolerance that we've cultivated.
Walk away considering these things:
1. HOW DO YOU REACT to people that disagree with you? How do you treat people that have different religious views or live different lives? How outwardly judgmental are you as a parent? What are you teaching your kids today?
2. Bullying isn't like it used to be. Adults would be placed in jail for most of the stuff that's freely happening on school grounds these days.
3. When was the last time you talked to your kids?
Being a good parent means being involved. It means knowing more than what your kid prefers to eat for dinner, it's about knowing how they would react in certain situations. Do you REALLY know your kids
WARNING: (this is NOT easy to see)
To show you how bad things are...I took photos of some things I found online. Below are comments on two separate threads on YouTube from In Memoriam videos someone made about these kids that committed suicide. You can see the vicious attacks STILL happening, even after death. And let me tell you...these are mild compared to some of the other ones I saw.
These are the kids that our kids go to school with!
BULLYING-AMERICA'S NEWEST DISEASE
If you have kids, these articles are a must read for all parents.