Bully: A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
These people scare me. They scare me because they are out there and parents are allowing their kids to become them.
Why? Why would you allow you child to be THAT kid?
Sadly, I know the answer is either that you don’t care, don’t notice, or that you’re a bully yourself.
The shooting at Taft High School brings this issue right to the forefront again. The shooter, Bryan Oliver was bullied. A reader called me today (after reading my column) and we talked about this issue. While we in NO WAY condone what Oliver did, we are sad that he was picked on so much that he felt this was the only option: To kill the kid who picked on him and then to either kill himself or go to prison.
How bad was it that he felt that was the solution? Tehachapi teen Seth Walsh took his own life after being bullied.
Can you imagine? That killing yourself and/or someone else is seen as your ONLY option?
Put the issue of gun rights completely aside. Let’s talk about bullying.
The schools can only do so much. While they need to be able to identify it and protect students, the alleged bully’s parents need to be addressed. If the bullying continues, what is being done? Who monitors the situation?
And what exactly would you say is bullying? My son told me he was bullied, but in reality some kids just wouldn’t let him into their game. That’s not bullying, that’s just kids being kids. It may not be nice, but that’s life. But it isn’t bullying.
Is it bullying when a 5-year-old hits your 5-year-old every day? What about at age 9? Is it bullying when 12 year old girls tease another about her weight? Or having braces? What if the teasing happens once or twice a week? Once or twice a day? Or is that part of being a teen?
I honestly think some of the stuff people call bullying is just kids being (mean) kids. Some of it definitely is bullying, especially where kids are going out of their way to torment someone.
As parents we have to teach our kids to accept each other as they are. Teachers and school administrators are in a tough spot. They see so many kids every day, how do they know the full story? They can’t see these kids between classes. What should they be doing? Some sort of on-campus restraining order? Then what happen off campus?
And what about online? Do you monitor your kids’ Facebook account? Have you taught them to shrug off the little stuff and have confidence in themselves?
Let’s have this conversation. Comment below, you don’t even have to register, just submit your email address. We don’t do anything with them, it’s mainly to prevent spammers.
Here are some talking points:
• What specifically do we expect from our teachers and school administrators?
• What is and isn’t bullying vs. kids just being kids?
• Were you bullied or picked on as a kid? What happened? How did you deal with it?
• Has your child been bullied? How was it handled?
• If a child complains of being bullied at school, should the parents of the alleged bully be called right away?