I can't not write about this because most recently my oldest daughter who is 11 yrs old was teased very, very badly on the recess yard last week. The short version of the story is after 4 straight days of her being sick with a bad stomach ache & not eating, I asked her if something happened in school or was she worried about something, because it just wasn't right the way she was feeling and acting.
After I asked the question about 15 minutes later she came to me to tell me what happened in school. It broke my heart, made me sad & angry. At that same time I felt lucky and I was grateful that my child trusted me enough to tell me the whole story of how humiliated she was. Why lucky & grateful? I believe the more I can get my 11 year old to talk to me as her Mother, the more I can protect & guide her as she grows.
Its funny because after the last few months and how apparent the issue of bullying is throughout our country at the moment I have been vocal in discussing this with some of my family and friends. Trying to think to myself why it is such a problem, why didn't the children who took their own lives have anyone to turn to to help them. It is such an epidemic right now the the President of the United States had to make a special announcement about last week! Let me ask you after that speech or all the news about the bullying stories have you talked to your children about bullying reminded them the effects it has on others? I know I did, I hear my daughter and her friends gossip about others. It drives me crazy, I keep reminding her that she needs to leave people alone and let them be who they want to be. But it is to no surprise to me that some girls or boys find that they can gossip or treat others like crap because they see their parents doing it to others.
The other thing that really bothers me in this whole situation and why I believe it is getting worse when in reality it should be getting better is that so many parents are either in denial or so wrapped up in themselves, their gym time, parties, what Uggs or ipod their child has, how they can improve their careers etc so the basic principles and values that we as parents are supposed to be teaching them simply are not being done. Which is then effecting and taking a toll on the parents out there who actually are responsible and remind their children on a daily basis of how to be a good person and what it takes. Did you know that children only really know to think either black and white? The part to think "grey" in your brain isn't fully developed until they are in their late teens. So that means we need to be their grey essentially on a daily basis.
I am NOT perfect by any means and anything that I am saying here is my opinion, I am not the best parent always. I will say I do NOT get caught up in the "clicks" at my school. Honestly, I have been there done that, I know who my true friends are and I have learned very valuable lessons from growing up and refuse to get into the middle of the drama. Frankly, I also realize it will not do anything for my child's education so why bother. Some do, there are some ridiculous clicks in my daughter's school as many others I am sure. But I honestly don't get it and can't figure out what is missing that they would want to be like that as an adult and parent. What is the point gossiping and shunning other parents out as if we are going to a high school party on Friday night. Again, for me....been there done that, its wrong and a waste of time. If you have enough energy to talk about others and find ways to make others miserable turn your energy into something positive and make a little difference somewhere in your community.
It is no surprise to me again, we are all human no one is perfect, in my past career there were always some sort of drama. Even now it cracks me up in this party blogoshere world, there are actual party bullies so to speak. Some of these women believe they invented the whole idea of a birthday party or basing a child's party around a theme. Some think they were the firsts ones to put candy in a jar! I'm 37 and from when I can remember growing up as a young child my grandmother always had beautiful jars filled with candy. I'm not talking about the company that stole a picture and claimed to be their work or someone directly copying your specific work to a "T". But the reality is when someone copies you, take it as a compliment. Your work has inspired someone to be just like you!! Get over it, their is so much to go around. Use that as more inspiration for you to improve your work and be different and creative. Don't be caddy and mean, makes you look bad. Another thing I have learned and tell my child everyday, it is much more rewarding and easier to nice then mean. You feel better and get so much more out of life.
So it really is no surprise some peoples children treat other peoples children like crap...that this vicious circle of bullying and the excuse of "that it is apart of growing up" or "right of passage" still continues and is getting worse. Like I said, I see it today amongst adults and if the adults are doing it no wonder kids are doing it. Right of passage a part of growing up.....no way no how I say....that is just an excuse for some not to have to parent. Believe me this past summer when I attempted to talk to a mother who's daughter told my daughter at the pool "go away your my school, friend not my summer friend". The Mother told me..."You know kids, that just the way they are" WHAT???!!! Seriously, no wonder your child thinks she better than anyone and can disrepect her peers the way she does. If it were my child I would have said you need to apologize or I will personally make sure you have no friends at all for the summer. People aren't light switches you just don't turn them on and off. It was an easy thing for Haley to get over, the worst part of it was I think what the mother had said in response to it. Again, just me and my opinion. The reality is you can not treat people any which way you want.
Here is my point basically in all of this, this is what I believe because of my Catholic faith and how I truly feel we should be. God created us, not the mean bullying in the classroom or on the street....we are not to judge others or disrespect them. I'm not saying don't stick up or protect yourself when others treat you like badly. We need to teach our children that, give them the tools for the both good and bad experiences in life. A simple come back to arm your child with for someone being mean is "What did I ever do to you, just leave me alone". We need to remind them, when they see something bad going on they should try to help the person in need. One day they personally might need the help!
Lastly, if not anything for everyone's sake "Leave people alone, worry about yourself" please.
Again, my disclaimer is these are my opinions and feelings from my experiences in my life. We can NOT command love, but we CAN command respect and simply to be kind to each other.
I feel better now that I wrote this! I will continue to pray for all the children out there in this world that they find a way to be pleasant and nice to their peers.
Peace, Love & Say NO to teasing and being a bully!!