I want to talk about a disturbing trend that has been happening for quite some time but is now in the public eye. I want to talk about bullying. Bullying has been going on for years, but has become far more public because of multi-media, specifically the internet and 24 hour news stations.
What is most disturbing to me is the way that we as adults are handling it. I have seen fathers of perpetrators wink their eyes because they are secretly proud that their child is bullying. Many parents vigorously defend their child; they state that there is no proof and that the victim is making it up, that the victim is lying and sometimes even insinuate that the victim has somehow brought the bullying on themselves. I am not sure why Parents do this…it may be denial…who wants to admit that their child may be victimizing someone else for pleasure?
I have been horrified to see Parents glorify their child’s violence and then somehow try to cover it up.ie: “Peter beat up Tom, and now tom’s parents are mad”. I have seen moms get overly involved in their young daughter’s life (which in itself is disturbing). Some moms get involved in the bickering between the daughter and her friends. Teenagers have to learn how to problem solve and deal with different personalities on their own. Moms should offer advice, but you should not be directly involved, unless it gets out of hand. Moms should not be in the midst of their teenagers quarrels it will only increase the volatility. Then the other Parents will get involved and it goes on and on. You are doing your child so much harm by sending mixed signals. You are giving them a feeling of false entitlement of behaving in am manner and not having to face consequences. If you choose the behavior…you choose the consequence. (Stolen from Dr. Phil). Put simply, this has great potential to simply land your child in jail. Your child being accused of bullying is a red flag. It is not always wise rush to the defense of your child. You are teaching your child that whenever s/he commits an offense Mom/Dad will solve the problem. You want to find out what is going on, first. You have to send a CLEAR signal that when your child is bullying s/he is breaking the law. DO NOT give them a winking eye.
DO NOT wag your finger at your child and tell them it is wrong and then call up your friend and brag about how your child beat up another child. You are giving your child permission to be violent. There are many reasons a child becomes a bully and it is not always the stereotypical reason that the child has aggression at home.
School administration is sometimes been blamed for not doing enough. Some school systems have reacted with a “Zero Tolerance, No Bullying” policy which expels a child for bullying. These policies are oftentimes extremely vague and are more-so designed to protect the school system from lawsuits than to actually protect children from bullying and leaves discretion to a situation that is not black and white. I propose we delve into this complex issue and come up with a comprehensive program that empowers students to stand up for themselves and empowers the administration to intervene; a program that helps parents of bullies guide their child to a more positive way of dealing with aggression.
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