Bullying has got to stop. Recently, while watching the news, I heard about a 9 year old boy who, over the summer, told his mom he was gay. He wasn't sure how she would take it but her response was, I love you no matter who you are. He was proud of who he was and couldn't wait to tell his friends at school. He did when school started. His so called friends told him he should kill himself. Well, 4 days after school had started, he did just that, he killed himself.
There was another incident when a young African-American boy told me he was being bullied because he was in an AP class. Some other boys told him he didn't belong in that class because he was black and therefore dumb.
When are we, as adults and parents, going to take responsibility and stop allowing this bullying to continue? When are we going to start teaching our children what can happen if and/or when they bully someone? It starts with our children. As I have said before, children are very alert and hear and see everything we, as parents, do and say. If they see us acting like bullies, then they think it is ok for them to bully. It is NOT ok for anyone to bully, regardless of who he or she is.
As parents and adults, it is our responsibility to set an example. Even if you don't have any children or if they are grown adults, we all need to set an example. I'm sure many of you can talk about times you have been in a restaurant, grocery store, mall or somewhere in public and witnessed someone bullying someone else. How many of these times have we just walked away because we didn't want to get involved? How would you feel if you got home and watched the news and learned that a child committed suicide because they were bullied that day? And what if that was the child you saw being bullied and did nothing about it? IT would be too late then.
The other thing that is important is talking to your children about bullying. Ask them if they are or have been bullied. Talk to them about not being afraid to tell someone. They have to understand that if they keep it to themselves it will only get worse. They will get more depressed and turn inward. There are signs that a child is being bullied. If the bullying is physical the signs could include headaches, stomachaches, changes in appetite, dizziness or even bedwetting. Signs of verbal bullying could include irritability, sadness, trouble sleeping, loneliness, feeling isolated, lack of friends and tiredness to name a few.
We need to educate our children and work with our schools to increase bullying education and awareness. It is time for everyone to get involved and not leave it up to the next person.