Thursday, May 7, 2009

a nightmare no one deserves

I saw it many years ago, between two boys who lived on my block. I knew both boys because all the kids played together. They were the same age as my daughter. One boy was a bully and the other was meek and mild, and nice. Everyone knew bully boy, and knew he was a bully. Everyone knew nice guy and knew what a sweet kid he was.

I don't know when it started exactly, but I know it went on for years. It probably started when both boys were in elementary school. It ended when they were in middle school. Bully boy made life miserable for many classmates, but nice guy was one of his favorite targets. Some times the bullying was verbal, some times it was physical. School got involved, to no avail. Police got involved, to some avail.

It ended when nice guy had endured enough, mustered up enough courage, and punched bully boy. [I would have loved to have been there to see it!] From what I heard, bully boy was stunned. From what I heard, other kids cheered... to themselves. Of course, there was a price to pay. Nice guy was suspended for a day or two, and the police were once again called in. But that was about it. Nice guy found something to be proud of and bully boy moved on to torment other kids. I don't know if it had much impact on bully boy, but it changed nice guy's life.

I also saw it when my daughter was in middle school, between some mean girls and herself. Girl bullying is a little different. It's more verbal and manipulation. Mean girls deserve that name, and a few other choice descriptive words. Danielle made it through middle school and chose to attend a different high school than her classmates. Those few short years had a profound impact on her, and her self-esteem. It was so hard, as a parent, to watch and try to fix. There wasn't much we could do.

Oprah did a show yesterday on bullying. It made me mad. It made me sad. It made me cry. Part of the show was about two boys who killed themselves because they felt so tortured and felt as though there was no way out from the constant bullying. There are real and tragic consequences to bullying. It is more common in the schools than you may want to think.

If you have a child in school - and it can happen all the way from elementary to high school, there's a good chance they have seen bullying first hand, if not been part of it in some way. Please don't turn a blind eye to this destructive behavior. If your child is being bullied, please don't tell them to just ignore the bully. That will solve nothing and life ends up being an ongoing nightmare for them. If you suspect your child has bullying tendencies, address it now.

There are many good web sites that talk about bullying, including cyber-bullying - which is growing and can be even more vicious, but I think this one does a good job of covering everything. Again, please don't turn a blind eye to this deep impacting issue. It's something we all should be concerned about.


MightyMom said...

as a long time victim of bullying (from students AND teachers) I can say it breaks my heart to even think my kind hearted kiddo would be in this web.

and I DO believe, sometimes the best thing to do is knock a bully on his ASS. Then maybe he'll think twice about picking on you again. By the way, this same scenario plays out in the adult world and also in world politics too....and it all goes back to elemtary school bully-tactics.


MightyMom said...

oh, and you know me and music right?

Momma Roar said...

Such an important topic, Diana, I'm so glad you posted on it. I think many parents do tell their kids to ignore it - but that doesn't work!! I hope many read this today!!

Karen said...

Seeing kids pick on one another is something that just turns my stomach. It's the hardest part of parenting, especially when your child is the one being picked on. My daughter's middle school has a great program going, teaching the kids not to be part of the "silent majority." They tell them to speak up and defend the one being bullied. I'm encouraged that some schools are coming forward and addressing the issue head on.

Good post.

Melissa said...

My son was a victim for awhile. It was such a horrible thing to watch. I never knew quite what to tell him to help. Things are better now, but that was such a rough year!

Maxine said...

Wow.I've heard of this, and of course, through the years have seen some of it firsthand. Unfortunately, I think some teachers do not know how to handle it properly. There are some sad and tragic stories that go along with this problem and not all of them end in suicide. Some end in ruined lives and people who are unable to function properly in life. It's another area of life that's rooted in sin, and Christ is the only remedy. We can help our children with God's Word more than in any other way, whether they be on the receiving or giving end.

Thanks for handling this sensitive subject.

Christine said...

The bulling of today, I think, is more serious than it was when I was a kid. We did not have the technology that there is today. Back then, sometimes a punch on the nose of the bully could solve the problem. Sadly things are not as simple anymore. It is heartbreaking what some kids are having to go through. My brother punched his bully on the nose. The guy went crying home to his mother. The bulling stopped. I was a lucky girl. I can not remember being bullied. I went to school with a very nice group of well adjusted and well behaved girls. How often does that happen?

Huckdoll said...

Great post.

Even at the 3 year old preschool level, there are bullies present. In the girls school, there are these twin boys that are just horrid. The poke and poke and push and pull hair and get in your face. The teachers do their best to discipline them, but it should really be coming from the parents. Amazingly, the parents are successful, well groomed and seemingly great parents, but their boys are just out of control - at THREE! Disturbing.

Susan said...

Glad you're speaking out on a very important subject. Middle school girls can be the "meanest" I think.

Jamey said...

This is something that is so concerning to me. I hope we are never on either end of it. I can't imagine how that breaks your heart as a parent. One more reason I am nervous for the up and coming years. Being a parent is hard stuff, you wear your heart on your sleeve for sure and it's so easy for someone to crush it through your children.

Amber said...

I have that Oprah saved on my DVR and now I don't have the stomach to watch it. The whole thing makes me sick to think of anyone being victimized that way. :-(