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Glenda Gore: Parents, it's up to us to stop bullying

Bullying. It is no longer just part of being a kid — when our kids are dying because of it.

Lately, I have heard too many heartbreaking stories of kids being bullied to the point of suicide, and I am sick of it!

Why has this bullying thing become such a huge problem, in our society? Is it learned behavior; is it just something in the genes that makes some kids more prone to be bullies, or is it because we have forgotten to teach the golden rule to this generation?

What ever happened to the adage treat others like you want to be treated? It really is that simple; so why can’t we all just get along and love one another, in spite of our differences?

Sure, there will always be mean people. That is just part of life. But we can teach children how to deal with mean people in ways that are lawful and accepted. Laws actually do exist to protect our children from bullies. But we must talk to them. They must know that we are their biggest allies.

Just yesterday, I read a statement that really spoke to me. According to ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.

This is an alarming statistic and a very serious problem for our nation’s youth. Unfortunately, it is happening at earlier ages. As parents, we must do something to stop it.

I recently overheard a conversation where a 3-year-old child was supposedly bullying all of the children in his pre-K class. According to the report, he was out of control. The teachers couldn’t do anything with him. Most of the other kids were scared of him, the teachers said. They also said his parents acted like they didn’t care. They actually said, “boys will be boys.”

My question is why is a 3-year-old child allowed to be a bully? He is a bully because he is allowed to be a bully. His parents are at fault for not caring whether or not he is a bully.

Children will do what they are allowed to get by with, and I know this because I have three children of my own and two of them were born strong-willed. Had they not been disciplined from a very young age and taught to treat others with respect, they could very likely be part of the bullying problem.

We chose to be proactive. We taught them to respect others, especially authority. We made sure they knew their actions had consequences. Believe it or not, it worked. We talk to them. We talk about how our actions make other people feel.

They also know if they were ever caught bullying anyone, they would reap what they sowed. We taught them the “Golden Rule” through love. We love them enough to care about the kind of people they become. We love them by not sparing the rod.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that all kids who happen to be bullies are taught to be, but some are. There are legitimate mental health diagnoses which can lead to children exhibiting negative behavior and being bullies and that is no fault of anyone. I believe those cases are rare.

Like the Church of Christ sign recently said, parents are their children’s textbooks.

It can be something as simple as overhearing a dad say, “only girls and sissy’s play soccer,” or “my son is a man because real men play football and baseball, not soccer.” A seed can be planted, and it can start to root.

Parents, we must do better. The future of this generation depends on us.

It is not the church leaders’ responsibility to teach our children the golden rule. It is not the school teachers’ and leaders’ responsibility to teach our children the golden rule, and to not be bullies. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to respect others and to treat others the way they want to be treated. Nobody really wants to be mistreated!

According to www.bullyingstatistics.org, suicide is the third leading cause of death, among young people, resulting in 4,400 deaths per year. Bullying victims are between 2 and 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to Yale University. A separate study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

These statistics alone should be enough to make us all want to stand up and make whatever changes are necessary to help our children. We have countless anti-bullying campaigns, but we need stricter consequences for the ones who choose to bully others. If you disagree, you are part of the problem.

Tonight, before the clock strikes midnight, 12 more of our nation’s young people will be dead because of suicide related to bullying. This does not have to happen. Talk to your kids, monitor their social media accounts, cell phones and get to know their friends. Hold them accountable for their actions if they are bullying. If they are being bullied, stand up for them.

If you know of a child who is being bullied, let them know you care. Talk to the school officials. We have law enforcement officers on our campuses every day who will gladly help put an end to these senseless situations. There are repercussions for bullies.

JFK once asked, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” As a parent, I say our time is now.

Comments

Rick Cline's picture

Ms. Gore, I would like to comment on your article Parents, it's up to us to stop bullying. You made some very interesting points but I think you missed some really important elements as well. I know that no one wants to hear the real truth behind any controversial issues but I can’t help myself. I have children that were bullied in school and it was very painful to watch. My oldest child changed from a sweet, kind and innocent girl to a person that had to put up defensive walls just to cope with the daily abuse. I asked if she wanted to be home schooled so she could get away from this problem but she said she would lose contact with the few friends that she had, and they too were being bullied. The sad thing about this was that teachers knew this was going on, and who the bullies were and didn’t do anything to stop it. The main reason nothing was done was because the schools administration (Principals and teachers) knew the parents of these kids and they were old school friends or even parents so they turned a blind eye. The police did the same thing unless there was a major incident which forced them to get involved.

Besides the fact that bullies are protected, there is another important reason why this type of behavior goes on at school. Over the course of fifteen years I discovered that the home as I knew it has dramatically changed. I grew up with both of my biological parents in the home. Today, this is a rarity. I was disciplined in love but never abused. Today, children are growing up with multiple step parents or even grandparents and guardians. Many times these homes are abusive and the kids take this behavior to school where they turn their anger on weaker more fragile kids.

I also believe that some of the problem is contributed because of poor family role models. For example, if a parent tells their child not to bully others because it is wrong to miss treat someone for any reason and then the child observes the parent disrespecting a store clerk or manager or even their neighbor what message is this sending. Or what about the parent that says bulling is against the law, and the parent continually runs through red lights, stop signs and changes lanes without signaling. These are laws too. Young people are looking to their parents to set the right example. If the parent cusses out their child or around their child then the child is going to do the same thing. People have the monkey see monkey do mentality. If I miss treat someone and get away with it then someone else will try it too. It is just that simple.

I’m sure there are other reasons behind bullying and why it is so prominent in our society, but I would like to challenge every one. If you observe someone bullying another person, even if it is at McDonalds, or Fred’s, call them out for it. Let the bully know that it’s not ok, even if it is your cousin or uncle or whatever. If necessary call the Police and make them get involved. Bullying is so wrong in so many ways. There is no place in society for bullies.

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