On Bullying

I meant to do a post about this last week, on National Anti Bullying Day.  I didn’t have time but I didn’t want this to pass by without commenting on it.

Surprisingly, there is a bit of controversy over this.  Some people say that people have become too easily offended by words.  Some say that it’s a part of growing up.  Some say that our society has brought it upon ourselves due to the violent nature of television and video games.

To me, the first issue about being to sensitive over just words may be a little true.  They are, in fact, just words.  It’s their context to hurt others that’s the problem.  “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

I find this statement false.  I was bullied.  I was pushed around because I’m short.  I was constantly the subject of ridicule because I’m half asian.  I was even teased by a coach because of my last name (he thought it was a clever play on words, I found it to be humiliating and isolating).  I didn’t have it as bad as others did, but I still remember.  I remember the shame, that pain… and to a child that’s learning to handle their emotions and who is learning about themselves, bullying can be the trigger that makes things seem like they’re spiraling out of control.

It’s not part of growing up when it results in someone taking their own life. 

It doesn’t just stop at words though.  I’ve read countless articles on students physically harassing other students because they seem different. 

It scares me.  It makes me angry. 

LJ has special needs.  He will always look different from the norm.  He might not ever be able to defend himself.  He might not ever be able to tell me that something happened.  This is one of my biggest fears.  I don’t know what I’d do if I ever found out he was being bullied.

Talk to your kids.  Role play if you have to.  Talk to them about what to do on either side, whether they’re the bully or being bullied.  Talk to them about what to do if they are a witness of bullying.  I’ve read plenty of articles where the bullying was witnessed but no one came forward.  Sometimes the victims of bullying (because they ARE victims) are too ashamed to come forward themselves. 

Let’s start instilling compassion and acceptance in our children.  The world will be a better place because of it.

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