Do You Worry About Bullying?

One of the things that scares me the most about parenting school-aged kids is bullying. Because even though we’re all positive that we’re raising the most intelligent, kind and responsible kids….the truth is we send them off on that school bus every morning and we have no control over their social interactions with other kids. I cross my fingers every day that I’ve given my boys the tools they need to go out and conquer the elementary school world with confidence. But what if they are being bullied? And perhaps worse…what if they are bullying others?

The recent buzz about the documentary ‘Bully’ has gotten me thinking…a lot. Have you seen it in the news? It chronicles “a year in the life of America’s bullying crisis” and some of the scenes are beyond heart breaking. I think it’s going to be a game changer for lots of people. Take a look at the trailer:

It’s obvious by now that bullying is a major social issue facing kids today. So serious that it has even driven some kids to suicide. (How terrifying is that?) Statistics show that 3 million students will miss school each month because they feel unsafe. 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying. These statistics always leave me feeling very helpless…with more questions than answers. What’s the best way to talk to our kids about it? What do we say and when? How involved should parents get if it happens? Can I trust that the school will handle bullying appropriately? Is my child telling me everything that’s going on? What can we do to change things? 
I think the most important thing we can do is just TALK about bullying…often, openly and honestly. Even if I don’t know the most effective or appropriate things to tell my kids, I know for sure that we have to keep that line of conversation wide open for them. I have made my boys promise me two things. First, that they will NEVER bully another child. And second, that if they are being bullied in any way they will not be afraid to tell me or my husband. If only it could stay that easy, right?  I’m bracing tightly for the day they turn into moody middle-schoolers who want a Facebook account and a cell phone.
How do you address the topic of bullying with your kids? Have you or your child ever experienced bullying? What words of wisdom do you have for other parents?
Check out http://thebullyproject.com/indexflash.html for more information about ‘Bully’ and some really great resources for parents, kids, teachers and advocates.

Comments

  1. My niece was bullied in first grade by an older boy. He said terrible things to her and shoved her to the ground. I don’t know how my sister didn’t go ballistic. This year, it seems her male teacher is bullying her. He makes her cry, he tells her she’s slow, he’s made her not want to be at school anymore. We’ve heard from others that this particular teacher has treated others the same way. My sister went to the principal to complain last week; since the teacher was on vacation, we won’t know what disciplinary action will be taken until later this week.

    In February, a 12-year-old girl in this same school district committed suicide, allegedly due to bullying.

    So, yes, I worry about bullying.

    • Seriously? Being bullied by her own teacher…and in a district where there has already been a suicide??? That is beyond deplorable. I’m SO glad your sister went to the administration…probably not the easiest thing to do…but the most important. I hope your niece is able to keep her chin up through it all. Hug her!

  2. I worry about it. My son was bullied a little by a kid in our own neighborhood. This kid has a really hard life and it taking it out on the world but we told him that we will absolutely not tolerate his behavior. He’s been scarce for a while and slowly making his way back into my son’s circle. I’m hoping he realized his way of doing things was not working.

    • So great that you could confront the child who was bullying. (Not a comfortable thing to do, I’m sure.) I hope your son will feel comfortable talking with you about it if there’s a problem again…Fingers crossed there won’t be, right?

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