We all know that bullying has been a societal issue since even some of us were kids, but today’s bullying has taken on a whole new face. Today’s bullies reach our children through the internet, phones, chat sites, etc. When I was a kid, the school bully would be waiting for you on the play ground or after school. Even then, there was the possibility of an adult to be around to monitor the situation or other kids there to possibly come to you rescue. But today, kids are given electronic devices such as phones or personal computers as early as 7 years old. My 18-year-old son just got a phone when he started driving last year. He has it with him in the event he has car issues or an emergency. I never thought my own kids would be a target for bullying, and so far, because of our stringent rules of computer access as well as strict rules on cell phone use, we’ve been lucky. But, bullies always will find their way to those that they choose to harass.
Last week, my daughter was walking from class to meet my husband on the other side of campus to go home. As she passed 3 girls, they made a comment on her attire. Now, all my kids have been raised to be independent, self-confident thinkers. This is one of those times I’m proud to say it helped them. As my daughter heard what they said, she didn’t acknowledge their comment nor did it bother her. She continued on without giving it a second thought. I was so proud of her when she told me what passed through her head as she heard this comment. She told me, “Mom, I immediately thought, ‘I’m my own person!’ then she proceeded to say, ‘besides, I’m at the middle school because THEY asked ME. THEY want ME to be in band class, I don’t have to be there, heck, I’m in college!” In case many of you aren’t aware, Emily is 12 years old, technically should be in 7th grade, but is taking high school level math, english and science AND is the youngest student our community college has ever accepted into their performing arts classes. Last week she was notified that she is being inducted into the honor society for leadership. Her self-confidence since pulling her and my other 5 kids out of school 2 years ago to home school has sky-rocketed and her musical talent and abilities has surpassed most people her age and older. Why kids choose to bully or try to hurt another’s feelings has always puzzled me. I have to say, I put majority of the blame on parents. Parents should teach their children to be empathetic, kind, forgiving beings, not look for the weakest person one can sink their claws into. With so many terrible things happening in the world today, our kids should feel safe in their own school and community without the threat of their peers judging, bullying and invading their right to feel safe and confident in who they are.
Til next week….