Saturday, September 17, 2011

Will Your Children Grow Up To Be Bullies or To Be Bullied?

Last night I watched a documentary on television that boggled my mind when statistics were quoted about the number of children who have taken their own lives as a result of being bullied by other children in school. It is appalling that bullying is so rampant in our schools and our society. Bullies are cowards in my opinion who get away with picking on others because they can, and technology has allowed them to be even more cowardly. Using e-mails, text messaging, cell phones, and even in person children can be amazingly cruel to other children. Take a look at your sweet little infants and toddlers and ask yourself if you would be able to bear it if one day he or she took his/her own life because of being mercilessly tormented by other children. Of course, your answer is "no" so what can you do about it starting now to prevent it from happening? First of all, do not allow your children to misbehave toward other children or animals. Set a good example for them of how to treat others (Golden Rule applies here, folks). Teach them to respect others regardless of their differences. Disagreeing does not mean they have to be disagreeable or mean-spirited. Discipline them appropriately for their ages when they misbehave; make them understand that behaving badly does have consequences. In addition to teaching them how to treat others, also teach them how to deal with bullies. Teach them to not stand by and watch others be bullied but to intervene. Silence is consensus so everyone needs to stand up and speak out to diffuse the power of the bullies. Be part of your local parent/teacher organizations and speak out if bullying is going on in your schools. Help to pass laws in your states that allow school principals to deal with bullying even if it happens off campus so children will realize they cannot hide behind the cloak of anonymity the Internet or hour of day provide. Too many parents have abdicated their responsibility as parents so if there are no consequences at home and none at school, this leaves the victims of the bullies with no place to turn. I have always believed that all children are born sweet and innocent. Unless there is some injury or health condition that causes behavioral issues, I believe there are no bad children but only bad parents. To realize that children would rather commit suicide than face another day of going to school and being bullied and feeling helpless and friendless is horrifying. There are lots of problems in this world that need addressing, and this is one of them. Remember if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem. Protect your children from others and protect others from your children.

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