The Bullying Epidemic

I was recently invited to join a Facebook group created with the intent to stop bullying. This particular group was started because of the recent suicide of a 12 year-old girl in our town. Sadly, she took her life, as too many have, because she was being bullied.

Parents in the group have offered suggestions for how to stop bullying.  Some say we should teach our children to love others and to have compassion for everyone. Others want our schools to be more proactive, by teaching students about the harmful effects of bullying and by punishing those who engage in it. Others think we need to teach our kids to defend themselves.

I agree that, as parents, we should teach our children to love and accept everyone and that bullying is harmful and can have tragic consequences. I also agree that kids need to know how to defend themselves.

But I think that too many people mistakenly believe that bullying can be stopped. I don’t share that belief. After all, bullying has existed since the beginning of time. The first recorded bully, Cain, a son of Adam and Eve, killed his brother Abel out of jealousy.

Rather than thinking we can stop bullying, I think it’s important that we be realistic and acknowledge the facts.

  1. There will always be crappy parents who will raise crappy kids.
  2. There will always be good parents whose kids will sometimes do crappy things.
  3. There will always be kids who are filled with rage because their self-esteem has been so battered and broken that they are looking for someone to take it out on.
  4. Today’s public schools are so overburdened by rules, regulations and government intervention that we can’t realistically expect much help there.
  5. The middle, junior and high school years are the most stressful and confusing times of kids’ lives.
  6. The electronic age we’re now living in has escalated bullying to a level no parents today experienced when growing up. The secrecy this provides has allowed bullying to become so much more than painful. It sometimes becomes tragically lethal.

I believe that parents are the first line of defense in insulating and protecting kids against bullying. To accomplish that I believe we must:

  • instill in our kids a sense of their true value and worth.
  • teach them that their value and worth are not determined by what others say about them but, rather, by who they choose to be and by what they choose to do.
  • show them that bullying is actually a cry for help from someone who has little self-worth, whether the bully knows it or not.
  • ensure that our kids know how to defend themselves – physically, verbally and emotionally.

I also believe that bullying as we now know it will continue until parents begin strictly monitoring their kids’ electronic lives. Yes, they’ll hate us for it, but only temporarily.

As long as we allow bullying to hide in electronic darkness it will continue to poison our kids’ lives. And sadly, there will continue to be kids who will take their own lives, believing that is the only escape route available to them.

However, knowing every thing our kids are doing online will shine a light on bullying that will bring it out into the revealing light of day, thus depriving it of the secrecy it needs to continue its often tragic, deadly path.

The Rock and I have already made a decision about Pebbles‘ cellphone, tablet and computer use. Of course she’ll need those devices to reach us and so we can reach her when she’s old enough to be away from home without us. She’ll need them for school work, entertainment and to stay in touch with friends.

But she will not have the freedom to roam the electronic highway unsupervised until we are certain she has developed the maturity to handle the dangers that lurk there.

God has entrusted her to us. How could we do otherwise?

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About Mai Stone

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs…jolted by every pebble on the road.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher ~ A sense of humor is essential for surviving the pebbles on life’s road. Especially when they’re the size of boulders.
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11 Responses to The Bullying Epidemic

  1. Gibber says:

    It’s such a scary and fine line. Sometimes I’m glad that I don’t have children. I’m sorry that 12 year old took her life. It took me back. I almost ended mine when I was 11 because I was not only being bullied by a guy but molested and more. Add on being bullied at home by abuse.

    Like

  2. scifihammy says:

    You are so right that bullying is much worse now with all the technology.

    Like

  3. Miss C says:

    Oh no, so very sad. I do agree with everything that you have said and I honestly don’t believe that bullying will ever stop. In fact, the digital age has allowed it to become so much worse. I think that one thing that we need to teach our kids is to speak up. A lot of kids keep quiet about bullying and it only comes out when it is too late such is the case with this girl.

    Like

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