Think back all the way to high school. I know for some of you that's waaaay back. Had you ever been bullied by someone who thought they were bigger/better/smarter/prettier/ than you? At the time did you ever tell yourself, or more sadly, ever have an adult tell you that is a normal part of growing up?
I think we all have. Some maybe not to the extent of others. But all kids do go through bullying at one time or another in their lives. And it doesn't end there: most adults will experience some form of bullying as well. The key is to recognize it for what it is, take a stand against it, and speak your mind. Let me ask you this: have you stood up for someone else that was being bullied right in front of you? Not many do.
I believe in respecting my elders, as do most if us, as it was drilled into us as children. But children are people too. They have rights, feelings, and a place in this world just as much as adults do. I teach my children the same things we were taught, but also to stand up for themselves. They have a voice, and in the precence of a bullier they are to use it, even if said bullier is an adult.
The problem with bullying in this day and age is that it is easily accessible with the Internet available at our children's fingertips by way of computers, iPods, and iPads. Knowing proper etiquette via the Internet is tough for them as the maturity level isn't there to cope with sarcasm and any subsequent bullying that may be going on. Before long, taunts and name calling and kids puffed up on the rush of anonymity that speaking from behind a computer screen brings causes a big problem fast.
In our house there are no group messages allowed. We have to approve friends that are added as contacts and our son knows we check his messages routinely. We think this is important in order to control what goes on between he and his friends over the Internet. He also knows to make others feel or treat others in any way he would want to be spoken and treated.
On days like today when the anti bullying campaign is in full force I always remember the feelings of helplessness and dispair I felt when bullied. When people say horrible things over and over its easy to begin feeling that way about yourself. Taunts became threats, and soon threats became fists. It's hard to see in front of you when your binder is in front of your face to deflect the spit landing on it.
My husband knows about bullying very personally as well, having had to take different routes home almost everyday just to escape his attackers. All of these things and so much more happened to us, and I don't mention them to get sympathy but rather to raise awareness. We never mentioned these things to our parents, and when we did it was either too late to matter much or dismissed.
Do parents really know the suffering that bullied kids go through? No, probably not. Most, like myself and my husband when we were kids, think that parental interference would make things worse.
I don't believe this, and I don't hold much respect at all for those parents who know how their child may be struggling and don't do anything about it.
Go to the source. Take a stand for your children. Fight for them and their rights. Because our kids have a right to live the best life they can live, and enjoy everything it has to offer. They don't deserve to walk with their heads hung low, retreating into themselves so far that the only option they see to the end of their misery is taking a gun to school.