When a parent finds out that their child is being bullied there are no words to describe the hurt and anger they immediately feel. So many questions come to mind. Who is this kid? Where was the teacher? Did you tell the teacher? What did the teacher do about it? Who are his/her parents? Were you two ever friends? When did this start? What are the other kids saying? How many kids were picking on you? It becomes difficult for the parent to concentrate at work or go on with their day just thinking about what their child is dealing with at school and hoping that their child is not being continuously bullied. Often, it's so bad that you have to pull your child out of the school. I feel for any parent whose child is being bullied. In my opinion, it is always a bigger problem when you find out your child is being bullied than when you find out your child is doing the bullying. That is only my opinion. I had a mother once tell me how badly her daughter was being bullying at school. She was almost in tears and I really felt her pain. I began to notice how bossy and demanding her daughter was with the other children and how she behaved when she didn't get her way. I recognized a little bullying had started. Sometimes you overlook certain behaviors because it is your child. She wasn't the first parent that told me that their child was bullied and I noticed their child bullying another child.
There are things that we need to teach our children as parents. First of all, they all need to know that they should Treat Others As They Want To Be Treated. Do Unto Others.... Yes! A constant reminder is needed. Second, they need to know that every person is different in one way or another but they still have feelings. Third, everyone needs a friend. Especially the kids that everyone is being mean to or talking about. Tell them to image if no one liked them and talked about them and made fun of them. You should ask them how would they feel. Let them know that it doesn't cost anything to be a friend or speak to someone. Just ask them how do they think the kid being bullied feels. It is important to have this conversation with your kids and keep reminding them. Most bullies have no social skills and no feelings of empathy and don't care how other people feel.
As parents, since bullying usually takes place at school, we are relying on the teachers to tell our kids these things and they are not. Bullying is only addressed in some schools in October when they are reminded of "Bullying Prevention Month" or when a major issue needs to be addressed. There are also teachers that are bullies. There are teachers that constantly pick on certain kids. Not all teachers allow bullying or disregard bullying but some teachers only react to certain types of bullying. There are many teachers that bully the children themselves. Most of our children are dealing with the "new school" teachers instead of the "old school" teachers we had that were more compassionate and motherly. Most of our teachers did not take any mess but we knew they cared about us and our parents knew that they cared about us. I know many awesome teachers that love working with kids. I have several friends that are great teachers so this is not an insult to teachers but it is what it is. I know many parents that will agree.
When most people think of bullying you think back to that TV show or cartoon that you watched when the kid was dodging the bully at school because he was going to take his lunch money. We all felt sorry for the kid because he was afraid. Today, bullying consists of much more than a kid trying to prevent someone from taking his lunch money. Most kids are bullied because the other kids feel they don't fit in, the other kids may think they're different, they may not act like the other kids, they may have a different religion, or even because of how they look or even dress. Most bullies bully other kids because they think they are popular or well-liked and it gives them the right to push other kids around because they think that makes them look cool. Many of them are very insecure and have low self esteem. They think if they put others down it will make them look cool or the other kids will like them and won't talk about them. Some kids were even bullied themselves by other kids or maybe even a family member. There are some kids who bully other kids and don't realize they are bullying others because it is learned behavior that has been taught to them. It's behavior they've picked up without them even knowing and it is being passed on to others as normal every day behavior in their eyes. Yes! That means some bullies don't even know they are bullies. When I go into the classrooms to work with the kids I like to make bullying my last discussion. You should see the kids faces when I start describing the different types of bullying and their descriptions. I explain to them and ask them if these are things that they do to others... They immediately start calling out names of the other kids in their classroom or at the school. Bullying should be discussed on a regular basis. Let's Put An End To Bullying!
Parents, please talk to your kids about bullying. Let them know the different types of bullying. Most kids think that bullying is just picking on someone and it's not. Be sure that your child is aware of the different types of bullying.
There is physical, verbal, cyber, and emotional bullying.
Physical - punching, shoving, hitting, socking, tripping, spitting...
Verbal - put down, hurtful comments, name calling, make threats...
Cyber - sending cruel text messages, using the internet, or social media to say/post mean things...
Emotional - excluding, spreading rumors or mean gossip, ruining someone's reputation...
Don't forget to tell them to tell you or their teacher if they feel like they are being bullied.
If your child has been bullied or you know a child that has been bullied please comment below.
Share Your Story... Share your thoughts... What do you think about bullying?
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Los Angeles Black Parent Magazine