These last few weeks we’ve been hearing about an upserge in teen suicides, Ellen had a video spreading around the internet and Facebook.
I agree that something needs to be done about it, but I don’t think responsibility is placed solely on the bully. Yes, what they do is hurtful and wrong, but maybe it happens more frequently because nobody wants to step up or step in to help. Maybe they know by doing so that there is a suspension or expulsion waiting for them.
There in lies an important problem, one that is hardly ever discussed and should be brought further into the light. Good kids are suffering because of stupid mistakes. Like the girl who was helping her parents move accidentally dropped a steak knife in her car and forgot to pick it up. Well the campus security saw it and she was reprimanded. I can’t remember if she was expelled or suspended, but that’s not the point. The point is it never should have been an issue.
Yes, yes I know, after Columbine they had to lock down security. Let’s face it, zero tolerance has been around long before that. My high school had it. Zero tolerance is not the only factor in this either, we should look at the parents of the abused (for lack of a better term) and see what the kid is taught at home. Weather fighting of any kind is frowned upon or if they may be overprotected. Let’s face it, parents don’t want their kids hurt. I get that. I’m a parent myself. Sometimes though, you have to let them get hurt, otherwise they won’t be desensitized to pain later on in life.
As adults, we deal with things on a much higher stress threshold that kids today may not be prepared for. Yet, our schools and society in general are taking these lessons away by saying “no, you can’t play with that toy knife” or “no you can’t take karate lessons because you’ll get hurt”. How about this, “No, you cannot defend yourself if you are attacked.”?
Really, why punish the kid for defending themselves or others? What is the lesson being learned? Forget finding out the cause and just punish them both, that’s the easier thing to do. Why should you deal with the parents of the instigator when we can cop-out and punish them both? My wife and I have told our kids and will continue to remind them that if they defend themselves or someone else, they will not be punished at home.
We also tell them that we trump their teachers, and if the teacher has a problem with this, they can call me and I’ll deal with them. Schools need to realize who really is raising the kids. Wow, I’m going off topic again. Sorry.
The point I’m trying to make is that, the kids that don’t take care of themselves will not last as an adult. They won’t compete for that job, or fight to keep family together when it gets rocky. That’s if they make it to an adult. Now, your kids should let an adult know what’s going on, I’m not disputing that.
However if they do run to an adult and that adult takes care of the bully, then what happens? Bullies have friends, and the retaliation will escalate. So what do you do? You teach them how to stand up for themselves, or enroll them in a self defense class. Let them have the self-esteem to fight back. Win or lose, they will be able to have their heads high because they know that you have their back by giving them the freedom to fight back.