Friday, March 16, 2012

Make another joke while they hang another rope

Some alarming news:

Did you know 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying?

I'm sorry but ONE IN SEVEN. And it starts in KINDERGARTEN. Not only is it starting crazy young, but the consequences have also become more terrible by the second. Forget the days of being stuffed into lockers and hung on the flagpole by your underwear. Some kids are mean. Really mean. Other kids are committing suicide. Shooting up schools. Cutting, drinking, drugging, numbing the pain. Dropping out of school. They're having their self-esteem ripped from their chests and buried in the dirt.

Kids. My God. KIDS.

I have a kid. Two, actually, though only one is old enough to wipe her own butt. It's only been lately she, too, has had problems with a certain clique that makes her cry, pushes her down, makes her feel less than beautiful. On some days, that is. Other days, they're all best friends. However harmless, I see the pain in those big eyes and I know what I have to do: Protect her. Always. Until the Day I die.

And I know I'm not alone.

Whether it's your child or not, you hear these stories and your heart breaks. If it doesn't, you're made of stone or jaded by all the violence. It's not okay, though.


Monday I'll be revealing what you can do to make it stop. Because instead of division, we need unity. Instead of hate, we need love, or at the very least, tolerance and acceptance. It may start with the bullies, but it ends with us.

You can read more about bullying from my friends:

Talli Roland
LM Preston
Donna Martin
Sheri Larsen
Jonathon Arntson
Nicole Zoltack
Jessica Bell
Dawn Ius 
PK Hrezo

Until Monday, read, listen, watch, think.

"Never forget the fragility of adolescence..."

-Bullying drove 8th-grader to suicide
-10-year-old girl commits suicide because of bullying
-Jarod's Story
-Ryan's Story

Candyland. OUT.


Jessica Bell said...

Poor li'l Lil. :( My heart aches for her. xoxo

Matthew MacNish said...

I forgot to post about this. I'll add link to you and the others, though. It's got to stop.

Kate said...

I also just heard about a new documentary yesterday on the Diane Rehm show. I think it was called BULLIED and sounds amazing!

Kelly Polark said...

Awful that kids are so terrible to one another. I know schools are doing more to work against bullying, but parents need to be aware as well and make sure their own child is doing the right thing.

And yes, teaching kids being kind to one another should start in kindergarten (earlier at home). The teacher I work with does an excellent job with this. With two of us in the room emphasizing this, our classroom is a positive place. I hope the kids carry it onto the bus and at the park at home.

Marta Szemik said...

My chest tightens as I read this. It hits close to home. My son was in grade 2 when an 8th grader decided to bully his friend. My son stood up for his friend, so the 8th grader picked on him to the point where the police was involved. I didn't have a clue it was happening until the principal called me.
Let me tell you, lots has changed since then, including us signing the kids up for karate and teaching them how to protect themselves against bullies.
The karate program not only teaches the kids self defense from physical threats but also verbal and how to deal with bullies.
The saddest part was the 8th GRADER picking on someone in grade 2!

Dawn Dalton said...

When I was writing my post for this, my chest constricted just thinking about how I was teased as a kid. My heart hurts for your little girl. As always, I am touched by your words. xo

Patty Blount said...

My son very nearly became a statistic. Read his story:

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I truly believe the problem starts and ends with us - the parents. We're busier than ever before, we indulge our kids with gadgets that were never intended as toys with next to no preparation on how to use them, and we teach them it's every man for himself.

When someone has the GALL to tell us our kid isn't an angel, our response is typically "Not MY kid!" and we close our minds.

We need to be ready to listen, ready to DO THE WORK (because it's going to be hard) and we must be ready to accept when it's OUR kid that's the problem. Trust me, that's a hard lesson to learn.

Dawn Malone said...

My boys have been bullied, I've seen other kids bullied, and I remember being bullied by another girl when I was in 3rd grade. It must stop. We've come a long way in calling attention to it, but there's more work to do. Like Marta, my boys have taken taekwando lessons. This has dramatically improved their confidence levels over the years, and the bullying has stopped. Now, I talk to them about being vigilant when they see bullying, helping others who don't have a voice.

Nicole Zoltack said...

1 in 7. That's disgusting and disturbing. Bullying has to end.

Stephen Tremp said...

1 in 7 is a very sad stat. Glad to see you and the others today taking a stand and helping people to help themselves and their kids!

February Grace said...

I just found out about this but I wrote a post this morning!

Pk Hrezo said...

AT my daughter's preschool there was a clique of 4 year olds who were mean to other girls. I couldnt believe it! 4 years old!! The sad part is, this is a learned behavior. It is NOT innate to find pleasure in making others feel weak.
Thanks for sharing in the posts!

Jenny S. Morris said...

My son's in the 2nd grade and I see the pain in his eyes too. And it's those kids that some days he thinks are his best friends. I can't wait to read your Monday post. ;0)

Johanna Garth said...

I'll be back on Monday to read your post. Last year my daughter had an incident with girl bullying that was so tough!

SA Larsenッ said...

OMGosh. You mentioned the other day about Lil' but seriously? She's five and there are cliques at her school already? That is so sad. Makes me wonder how kids that young even know how to bully/intimidate others. I'm glad you sweet little girl has you.

Laura Marcella said...

I can't believe five-year-olds have cliques already. When my nephew was in kindergarten he had a Thomas the Train lunch box and one of the boys made fun of it and called him a baby. At only five he was already embarrassed to carry a Thomas lunch box. How sad is that? Someone had to put it into that other child's head about Thomas the Train being for babies, and that's what's scary: to think an older kid or adult speaking to a five-year-old like that.

Bullying must stop among adults first. Only then will children learn to be kind, compassionate, and respectful. I don't watch reality shows, but I've seen previews and hear people discuss them. They seem horrible: adult women bullying each other while their kids stand around and watch. (And sadly, the public watches that trash which is like saying they approve.) What do you expect your kid is going to turn out to be if you treat others with such contempt and disrespect? It boggles my mind what some parents are thinking and doing.

LM Preston said...

Oh my these post make me so sad. But I know there is a way. Unfortunately the kids that bully may be doing it because they hurt too.

Leslie Rose said...

It's sad that in our elementary school we need to have anti-bullying curriculum. Cyber/texting bullying is on the rise even in elementary school.

D.J. Kirkby said...

Children can be so cruel to each other but the bullies are even worse. Even more scary is that those bullies grow up and carry on bullying....

Jo Schaffer said...

This is a serious problem. Makes home school look good.

Somehow parents need to have an open dialog with their kids and empower them to stand up for themselves. And schools need to have a zero tolerance policy on bullying.

Any parent who has had a child bullied knows the heart ache and frustration--and we can't fight it alone.

Thanks for gettin' loud. xo

Diaz said...

Children can be so cruel to each other but the bullies are even worse. Even more scary is that those bullies grow up and carry on bullying....