Last year I put a post on my FB that was supposed to be tongue in cheek about bullying. But I think a lot of us don’t understand the 2015 version of bullying. So I am taking portions of my original stream of thought and expanding on it. Fasten your seat belts and please keep your arms and legs in the car at all times until it comes to a full stop.
When I was a kid, a few days ago, we all were bullies in some way. I remember one night at the tastee freeze and Creighton Nachtigall put ice cream on my car’s headlights. I charged out of the place and grabbed him. Which he spun me around and it suddenly dawned on me that he was going to kick my ass. Didn’t happen because Wade is awesome and I nearly wet myself. But the point is that was good nature bullying. Builds moral character yada yada. When I bullied my brother it was because I wanted to do things my way or I got pissed. BTW Jeff, I’m sorry. And we all know my way is best because I know better :p. But it all usually blew over in 20 or 30 years. No harm no foul right?
But today . . . oh my god today. It is 24/7. Between things like cell phones, Facebook, twitter (which to me has the perfect name. I think you have to be a twit to use it) how do kids escape? When and where do they find that decompression time? That alone time? It is a constant barrage of self-doubt and being made to feel out of place.
I know you can’t watch the kids 24/7 because I know I tried my best. But I think most parents have no idea what is going on in the “cyber life” of their kids. I was lucky for the most part with my daughter. Working in the computer field I had various monitors on our internet. But once she got the cell phone all bets were off. Those things are very hard to monitor for companies forget a parent. If you want to monitor your child’s cell phone you might look at something like www.mymobilewatchdog.com though.
Should schools not allow cell phones? That’s another topic altogether. But I will tell you that a few years ago when my daughter’s school went on lockdown because of a kid with a weapon. That cell phone gave both of us piece of mind. I knew she was safe in a classroom with a teacher standing guard at the door. She was able to talk/txt to me and the rest of the family which helped keep her calm. So I don’t think that’s the answer either.
You want to stop bullying? Things like this group is a good start but you have to get involved in the schools. Everyone should belong to the PTA, Band Booster, Football Supports, Whatever your kid is involved in you need to be involved in it to. Generally speaking about schools in America, The classes are over crowed. The kids are unruly because we don’t discipline them and let them do their own thing. There are teachers who are still trying. But you know what all of them need? SUPPORT! Every Class room should have a parent in it every day. Not only to help the teacher but so they can see what is going on. Every parent should have the phone number for every other parent in their child’s classroom. My brother and I were very lucky. Sure we cause trouble and mischief when we were teenagers but we grew up in Collinsville. If we did something on the outskirts of town our parents knew before we ever made it home and that was before facebook, cell phones, texting or anything we have now. America needs to be like Mayberry from the TV show and take a lesson from Judge Roy Bean, aka The Hanging Judge, when asked if the extremely low crime rate in his jurisdiction was due to the severity of his punishments, he replied (paraphrase) “It’s not the severity of the punishment that deters crime, it’s the certainty of it.” If my kid is screwing around in school I want to know about it. We can’t expect school officials to do all the work because the majority of the time their hands are tied anyway. But if we don’t know what is going on how do you stop it?
It doesn’t end there though. Kids need LOVE not beatings. If a kid isn’t doing well in school maybe it’s a problem at home. Maybe they don’t have enough to eat. Maybe they’re feeling bullied too. Whatever the reason kids need support, love, understand and knowing someone cares. When was the last time you told your kid you were proud of them? Personally I try to wait until my daughter is around her friends so I can embarrass her. But that’s just me.