Bullying=Rite of Passage?

When parents are discussing bullying, you are likely to hear some (or all) of the following:
* It’s a rite of passage.
* I survived it, and it made me stronger.
* Kids will be kids.
* It’s normal in school.
* You can’t protect your kid from everything.
* There are bullies everywhere; kids have to learn to handle them.
* It’s not so bad.

Do you agree with any of those statements? I can see how parents can think that bullying is an unavoidable fact of life, but I disagree that bullying is “normal” or a “rite of passage.” My job as a parent is to teach my child to behave better than the bullies. It’s also my job to shield her and protect her from abuse. It helps that I am aggressive by nature. 🙂

Even as a kid in high school, I defended the underdog. Kids would pick on the ones who didn’t fit in and make fun of economically disadvantaged students, but when I saw it, I took a stand. It was not—and is not—funny. I’m not telling this to make you think I’m “better” than anyone else; I’m trying to let you know that one voice can make a difference. Especially if that voice is loud and persistent!

We are inundated by stories of bullying and teen suicide. Don’t you think it’s time we make our voices heard? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Bullying is neither acceptable nor normal. Shouldn’t we teach our kids that making fun of others is wrong? Isn’t there enough room on this planet for differences? Shouldn’t we make the bullies accountable for their destructive behavior? Shouldn’t they be the ones in counseling? Instead of doing “damage control” for the victims of bullying, shouldn’t some strong consequences be in place to stop it in the first place?

Some bullies, when confronted, make excuses and blame everyone else to avoid taking responsibility. We are told we should feel sorry for the bullies because:
* They come from broken homes.
* They can’t help it.
* His/her parents are alcoholics/drug addicts.
* They didn’t mean to do it!
* They were just playing around.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy any of those excuses. I may feel sory for unfortunate circumstances, but each person is responsible for his/her own actions no matter what. There are plenty of kids from broken homes who do not choose to abuse others. (I realize there are disorders that make control difficult, but there are treatments available.)
It’s time to accept responsibility, speak up for those who can’t and teach our children compassion.

Stand Down or Speak Up?

We all send our kids to school hoping they will be safe, nurtured and integrated into a learning atmosphere where they are not teased, bullied or made uncomfortable. Now let’s examine what actually happens in the real world.

Our kids enter kindergarten. What happens? They learn, yes. Some learn to tease and bully. If it is tolerated, it continues. Others learn to either fight back or withdraw and try to escape notice. These behaviors become habits, and we all know how hard habits are to break. Many times the bullying and/or teasing follows the victims all the way into high school. Is it right? No. Should people speak out instead of silently abetting the bullies? Yes. Does it always work out that way? No.

Talk to your children about bullying and harassment at school. Let them know it’s ok to complain about it. Tell an adult and don’t stop speaking up until the bad behavior stops. They may end up being someone’s hero. Doing the right thing is not easy, but the self-respect earned is priceless.

Things That Make Me Angry

1. People who look for excuses not to do something rather than finding a way to accomplish something
2. People who think pets are disposable
3. Hearing someone say, “Why do we have to learn a foreign language?”
4. People who make fun of others
5. Whining
6. Character flaws like cheating, lying, etc.
7. Uninvited guests (unless it’s someone I love–if you have to ask, it’s not you)
8. Being pressured (to buy something, work extra, etc.—I get to decide)
9. Parents who have no authority
10. People who mind my business (unless you pay my bills, stay out of my personal life)