Welcome to the first in an ongoing series of blogs. The content of which will be varied, topical and hopefully entertaining. So let’s get started, shall we?
Picking a topic for this first blog has been as difficult to choose, as that Christmas gift for the person who has everything. After much deliberation the hot topic of bullying won out.
This is a subject that I believe has touched most of us at some point in our lives. Whether it was as children in grade or high school, or as adults in work and life related situations. There are always individuals who feel that they have the right to force others to bend to their will or whims. For the purposes of this blog we will concentrate on children and how we as adults can lend our strength and experience to our youth, thereby empowering them in their time of need.
As victims, the questions most asked in the aftermath of a bullying event are as follows. Why me? What did I do? How can I make it stop? Does everyone hate me? Will my family think I am weak? Addressing this with our kids can be extremely difficult. Especially due to the fact that most victims of bullying are ashamed and embarrassed. Not only by their inaction against the bully or bullies but also by a deep seated fear of letting down the family that in most cases have spent years telling them how special and loved they are. As parents, big brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts etc. we must pay attention not only to where our young ones are, but also with who are they spending their time. Believe me the nice polite kid that you have seen come and pick up your child or sibling, can change into a monster once out of your sight. This closet bully can devote years to the pursuit of making an innocent child, your loved one, miserable and unhappy.
Let’s take a look at the bullying victim’s questions that we addressed earlier:
1.) Why me? There are a myriad of reasons why an individual can be singled out as a victim of bullying. It could be due to race, body type, intelligence, sensitivity, or just plain bad luck by crossing paths with someone who just has it in for a particular kid. To help deal with this question, the child must be made to understand that this is happening due to flaws in the bully, not themselves. They should always have it reinforced that no matter what color, weight, size of intellect or any other reason a bully may think they have, It is not their fault and they should not feel otherwise.
Have frequent conversations with them to help reiterate this mindset.
2.) What did I do? Again dialogue and discussion is the way to cut to the heart of this question. They have done nothing and are not at fault for being singled out as a victim.
3.) How can I make it stop? Providing a safe environment for a young one to discuss the events of their day. This can go a long way in allowing the child to reveal what is truly going on in their lives. Feeling safe and being able to talk freely with their family, can nip in the bud bullying that can go on for years.
4.) Does everyone hate me? No one is hated by everyone and this is where as a friend or family member, you can step up and remind your loved one, that they have plenty of loved ones. Perhaps a meeting with the family of the bully, to not only air out the beef but to also gain insight into the family interaction that the bully is experiencing. This can go a long way toward resolution.
5.) Will my family think I am weak? Pay attention to the moods of your youngster. If they stop being the child you have known, act immediately on it. Mood swings, temper tantrums, lost interest in things that have always made them happy. These are the symptoms of hidden turmoil and should not be chalked up to “growing pains”.
I hope this subject and subsequent advice helps all of you out there who read this. As we all know bullying can exist everywhere. Even the macho world of NFL football has been touched by this long existing problem.
So remember to pay attention to friends or groups that your young loved one is involved with. That cute well mannered kid that comes to your home to play with your child, could turn out to be a nightmare for you and your family.
See you next time…
By Clark Davis
Children’s Television Writer