Friday, June 28, 2013

My rant on bullying


Bullying is a huge social issue right now. I know that as I parent I have been faced with this issue numerous times. My oldest son suffered from bullying on many occasions when he was younger. 15 years ago I do not think we were as aware of bullying and the impact on our children as we are today. I cannot go back and change what my oldest son went through, I did the best I could. However, we live in a different environment today. One that is aware of how bullying can affect our children. My youngest son has had many situations with bullying. It can be a very frustrating situation when you are dealing with schools, protocols, and parents. Our first occurrence was a when my son was 9. Fourth grade was our worst year ever! It was a constant battle with the school, numerous visits with the principal and finally a formal complaint to the district office. It took the entire school year to resolve the situation. The following school year my son was enrolled in a different school, different district. We managed to get through 5th grade in a new school without any problems. I had hoped that the transition to middle school would be easy. There have been challenges and just when I think one issue is resolved another one pops up. Why do kids have to be so MEAN?!! Is it because kids are facing difficult home lives, their own insecurities, or any number of things that our children face today, that causes them to lash out at their peers? Being bullied is something we need to talk to our kids about. Bullying isn't just face to face anymore, it's also over the internet-video games, computer games, Skype, Facebook, etc. As parents, I think we need to always keep the lines of communication open. I know that becomes more difficult as they become teenagers. I'm a nosy parent. I want to know who my son is with, who he is talking to, playing online with. I am fortunate that my son talks to me. I may not know all of the details, but I do know when something is not quite right and he will come to me when things are beyond what he can deal with. He has to learn how to deal with difficult people and I continue to guide him along the way. Fortunately, he has a great group of friends that he can confide in. I will always be the nosy parent no matter how much my son may dislike it. However, I will let him handle these situations, learn and grow from them, and only take it to a higher level if necessary. Have you dealt with similar situations? If so, what was your approach in dealing with them? Curious to know if I'm on the right track.