In the news recently we've seen many examples of kids being bullied in school for a number of reasons. Many of these bullying cases center around perceived sexual orientation issues.
Rod has been updating us on his blog about Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker Hoover. Oprah Wednesday show this week featues two moms of kids who committed suicide due to being bullied. My friend Noel listed a book event about the emotional lives of teen boys, which triggered me to write this blog.
Having worked in schools and with students for a few years, I can tell you first-hand that parents are the first to be in denial about any behavioral concerns teachers/administrators bring up about their kids. They don't want to believe their kids have the potential to be bullies, liars, thiefs, physical abusers, blackmailers, or ill-mannered when presented with specific examples or observatioons of this behavior in school. Of course we're not talking about ALL kids, but then again parents don't see their kids ALL day.
And this is in "ideal" situations, where teachers/administrators actually intervene when presented with information about bullies. Most teachers sadly look the other way when it comes to bullying, behavior which is often rooted in sexual orientation, race, class, intelligence, or gender issues that kids can't comprehend or process on their own.
If you (or a close relative) get presented with this information, please take it seriously and have a series of conversations/interventions with your little one. There are some good tips at the government's Stop Bullying Now site. Often, I've seen parents get defensive and feel guilty over what they perceive to be a judgment on their parenting skills. Or, they say things like "Tell the other kid to fight back then...," or "Boys will be boys..." We all know violence isn't a solution to solving relationship problems. We all know enforcing gender roles isn't a solution to how kids should get along.
Sharing the information about your child's behavior isn't a judgment on your parenting skills... only you can assess what you've done/not done. But how parents choose to move forward once presented with information is within their control.
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