We've all seen the news enough to know that bullying is becoming a bigger issue and people from gardeners to celebrities are speaking out about it. Let me be the first to say, "Well it's about time". Seriously, bullying has been going on for years now and it is an epidemic that is causing alarm all across the board.
As a teenager I had my share of bullies. I was picked on because I was light skinned, because I had long hair, because I wore hand me downs, my teeth were crooked, I had thick glasses, and even because I spoke in proper English. The list was endless. Unfortunately, the bullying didn't stop with me. My sister and brother were both tormented and teased at the hands of bullies. Looking back, we were different from the other kids. We were quiet and withdrawn as a result of the problems our parents were having at home. We had also received culture shock moving back from Germany right into a neighborhood that was less than stellar. At the ages of 11 and 10 my sister and I, for the first time, attended a predominately black middle school. The kids made fun of us because honestly, the learning curriculum in Germany is so far advanced than the U.S. The things they were teaching, we had already learned three times over.
This caused us to be beaten up and made fun of on several occasions. I remember being in class and hating when the teacher had to leave for anything because I knew I was going to suffer in some way. The entire class had gotten quiet and suddenly there were random bursts of laughter all over the classroom. It wasn't until the girl behind me started slapping me in the head did I realize some idiot had set my hair on fire. I was furious, but not enough to tell the teacher or my parents what had happened. The wages of a snitch were costly and horrifying.
Myself, my sister, and brother suffered more at the hands of our tormenters but those moments are still painful to recall. Everyone had a theory of why it was happening. We heard everything from, the kids were from broken homes, to they were insecure with themselves and it made them feel better to attack others. I don't care what the situation is, there is no way it is ever okay to torment and abuse someone else. Parents should have some clues if their child is a bully, because that behavior just doesn't miraculously disappear when school is out. More awareness needs to be raised at home. The problem is with this new generation of kids, the parents are scared of the kids and scared someone will call 911 if they discipline the kids...You want to call 911 on me? I'll give you the phone...
I am a mother to a four and three year old. I realize when they go to school, there will be children there who have bullying tendencies. I encourage my kids to not be afraid of anything or anyone. I am going to ensure we have the type of relationship where they can seek me out and tell me anything, without fear or repercussion. I will admit, I will be the mother at PTA meetings, open houses, parent conferences, and I will make sure I have a relationship with their teachers and principal. If I suspect for one minute my child is being bullied and nothing is being done, I won't hesitate to get to the root of the problem. I won't even say I'm above violence, because I'm not. My children are very important to me and if they can't feel safe at home and at school, what is the world coming to?