Our community was recently rocked by the loss of not one, but two innocent lives. When I say innocent, I mean these souls were nothing more than children, a young girl of only 15 and a young boy of only 12. Even more senseless is these two adolescences took their own lives after feeling they had no other option due to bullying- and all in the span of a month. As a mother of almost-9-year-old twins, this scares me.
Bullying has been around as long as there has been humanity, it isn’t anything new, but that doesn’t make it right. It is my belief that tragedies like this can be stopped at home though. Parents need raise their children to embrace diversity instead of condemn it. Parents needs to raise their children to respect one another. Parents needs to understand that they are raising bullies, and often condoning such behavior.
A friend did bring up an interesting thought when the first suicide was making its way through the news- she is clear to state that she doesn’t want anyone to take offense to what is obviously her opinion, but she had seen a rise in antibullying posts. While she believed this is great, she goes on to say “can anyone remember a time where there were no bullies?… Bullies have been around long before us… They are here to stay in our schools (private, public, and Christian) and our place of employment. At the playground or at the supermarket. Even spouses and siblings bully each other. There’s no end in sight. I teach my kids not to bully and they better pray to God if I ever find out otherwise, but I also teach them to be strong. I don’t cradle my children. I’m not afraid to hurt their feelings. I pick on them, play pranks, and teach them to take a joke… I am training them to have thick skin, and to hold their own. I don’t like it if someone says something mean to them or if they start to cry because of a little jerk. But guess what? I will help them get over it and except it. Teach them to let lies and cruelness roll off their backs. We cannot control bullies, but we can control how we teach our children to deal with them.”
This raises an interesting question- do we, as parents, need to understand that we are raising our children to be weak? Weak willed, weak minded, and have so little self-esteem that they are allowing others to define them- especially those who don’t deserve to be our definers? Do we need to teach our children to cope with bullies as we cannot change the bullies ourselves?
It’s my opinion- and honestly my hope- that we need to support our children. If they come to us with such complaints, we need to validate their self-worth, be supportive, and not blow off such feelings. Shortly after the young boy- a 7th grader in our town with a population of just over 46,000, took his own life by firearm, there was a district meeting in which several families stood up to the district. This boy did not come forward to his family, but he did bring it up to several teachers, the middle school vice principal, and other school officials- and all his reports were ignored. Unfortunately, several other families had the same complaints. Their children’s calls for help were being ignored- and that is just uncalled for. I hope that if my children are ever in such a situation, they have the strength and courage, and feel they have the support, to come to me.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Are we raising softees? Or has bullying just gotten out of hand?