As an author and speaker about bullying, that was my question as I was lying in bed this morning. I cannot emphasize enough the fact that we must get away from the name calling, the drama, the finger pointing, and settle on a common sense approach. Leaving behind the unhealthy: “cover my behind approach” and the blame throwing, whether this from the family of a bullied child, the family of the child that is doing the bullying, or the teachers and schools. Our Goal should be a Healthy Childhood for ALL Children.
How do we accomplish that when there is such diversity and anger?
Going through my Facebook the other day someone had “tagged” me in on a video a father of a 14 year old girl, who was pushed to the “breaking point” by the constant torment of the father of two 14 year old twin girls who had harassed his daughter. To make a long story short, this father laid his “case” out on social media, and the anger started to flow from people watching this video. In watching the video, I – myself got quite disturbed, and saddened, by the horrible content and choice of language used by the twin’s father against this loving and kindhearted dad. If this was not my field of expertise I probably would have left the video and just felt another horrible, mean spirited “bullying situation” had taken place. However, I was not satisfied, there had to be more to the story so I did some research. The conclusion to the whole story was that the twins and their mother had to move out of state because they felt threatened, the father of the twins had lost his job, and was in a rehab for drug use. The father and the 14 year old girl had long accepted the apology, and were now in disbelief and so very saddened by the harassment and threats coming from the public towards this other family. The father stated that people needed to get along and to please stop the hate.
Why am I spending time telling you this, what importance does it have, and how does this all come down to the headline of my story, “Are Bullied Children Falling Through the Cracks?” I believe we must stop, take a breath, and ground ourselves. We must look at what the ultimate Goal is, which should be a Healthy Childhood for All Children.
So, are bullied children falling through the cracks? I believe YES, because most people do not understand the definition of bullying. If someone plays a prank on your child, or spills juice on them, startles them so that they drop their lunch tray, embarrasses them, then that is not bullying. It’s a prank. Some school officials have stated that parental overreaction has become almost a bigger problem than the bullying. School officials spend time dealing with “aggressive” parents demanding their child be “saved” from bullying, when in reality it was a one-time prank. In the meantime, a child that continues to receive horrible verbal abuse, repeated aggressive behavior towards them – done with the malicious intent to do harm both physically and mentally – are standing by watching, and wondering, what the “heck” this world is coming to. They are asking us if we understand that by overreacting to bullying, we are promoting it. Please take some time to consider this. Can you see the direction we are going? We must take the definition of bullying serious so that the right children receive the help and attention they need. Please…familiarize yourself with what is considered bullying:
REPEATED, Aggressive behavior intended to HURT another person Physically or Mentally; unwanted aggressive behavior among school-age children that involves a power imbalance.
So if we can come to an agreement and a willingness to want change, to use common sense and be a part of the solutions, chose to do a little more investigating, use our filters and see the problem for what it is, we will find the truth by communicating and asking the right questions to find out if our child is being bullied or pranked. However, it is of the utmost importance you take charge and come to the right conclusion. Bullying is nothing to ignore. If the right children do not get the help needed, the outcome can be devastating. We do not need more horror stories on the news; we must do our part to be a part of the solution!
Things that you as a parent MUST be aware of is not only if your child is being bullied, but also what your teenager is downloading on their SMARTPHONE, who your children are hanging out with at school, and who are they talking to online? As of right now there are some seriously scary apps available for our children to download on their smart phone that unless you are a “techie” you will not understand. Take it from me, if your child has any of the following apps on their phone, a red flag should pop up in your head: ThighGap, Down App, Snapchat, Secret-Sharing Sites, Frail, Sexting, Yik Yak, Ask.fm. Do your research and figure out what is going on.
We can make a difference in the life of ALL children. We can learn to be more aware of our child’s cyberspace world. We don’t need to feel intimidated by technology. We do not need to feel fearful or overwhelmed. There are answers to many of today’s challenges in raising a healthy child.
If you like what you have read and you want to know more go to here and sign up for a 20 minute FREE consultation with me. I would love to be there for you and your child, helping you move forward with confidence, joy, and contentment.
We are in this together. You do not have to feel like: “It’s me against the world and I’m about to get crushed”. There is a simpler way, and a good way to feel: It’s me and the world, and it’s all going to be OK.
By Anita Telle