Posted April 23, 2010on:
Lila: One of the times I hate the most was when I was a teenager. Awkward, pimply, insecure. What a horrible time. I cannot even imagine having to be a teenager now with all the stimuli set up around them. Heaven forbid they do not have the same things their friends have, like a cool iPod or stylish clothes. It seems like they are hounded by all sorts of things and all they want to do is fit in. That Phoebe Prince case is so sad to me. The girl was taunted so badly that she felt the only way out was to kill herself. Why didn’t anybody step in? Why couldn’t they stop the harassment? That is one beautiful life that is lost. Makes me fearful for Thomas.
Beatrice: It is shocking to me that someone would go to the extreme of ending their life. I had an easy childhood and teenage life where I was oblivious to people being teased and bullied. I never saw it happen and I never would have thought to do this. I do remember a group of “mean girls” in junior high and they were ostracized so badly that their antics backfired on them, and they eventually had no one including each other.
Toolman and I, talk about this all the time and how people are not raising their children with empathy, but instead with entitlement. If my children come home being bullied, I would go to the end of the earth to protect them.
L: That’s because you fit in. I tried so hard to fit in and the truth is I am different. I was never harassed or anything, but being a teenager was so hard. I remember going on a trip once in HS, and there was a boy, who was scrawny and quiet, who was taunted on the whole trip. It was awful. They accused him of doing nasty things with his cat. I know everyone on the bus laughed, but I kept thinking to myself, please stop. The poor kid left the school after that incident.
I wish I was strong enough to tell them to stop. I hope my son grows up to never treat people like that and more importantly, be able to intervene.
B: That is so sad! I know it happens, because you hear all the media reports on it. It is our job to teach our kids that it is unacceptable, and it starts at a very very young age. Brody, E’claire and I, were in a Target a few weeks ago, when a man walked by who was a little person. Brody stared at him, turned as he walked by and started to laugh. He went on and on about how that man was funny because he was so short like a kid. I was completely shocked that Brody would do that, because he use to never notice differences. I laid into him and made a point to tell him that he should not make jokes, poke fun or laugh at people who have differences from the norm. He actually tried to argue with me over why he thought it was funny. Needless to say we had a big discussion about it. I did not let it go, and will not be quiet when something like this happens. It is our job as parents to give our children the tools to do right.
L: It is so hard because they are reacting the way people will naturally react. I think we have to start at a very young age to teach them about people and how everyone is different.
I look at people and I can tell who was picked on and who wasn’t. For example, I know Oliver was a bully. He has told me about some of the things they’ve done and he thinks they are just funny jokes. I told him once you bug someone repeatedly, you are bullying them. Kids at that age need help in expressing themselves. They have not found their voice. You keeping shutting them down and that’s when you have kids with real emotional problems. I hate bullies.
B: Bullying is no joke, that is for sure. My husband’s sister was basically bragging that her cousin (the one she thinks is her daughter) is a bully. I think bullies are really insecure people, and often times they grow up still being a bully into adult life. You can see it. My husband was always the big kid, and once sports mattered in school everyone wanted to be his best friend. He is a gentle giant, and often goes out of his way to stick up for the underdog. That is what I fell in love with him the most, and I know he won’t put up with any crap from our kids or if they think they are going to give it, he will shut them down.
I am happy those bullies that caused Phoebe Prince’s death are being prosecuted. This is what needs to happen so other kids will rethink what they think is cool by being a follower with the rest of the bullies. Bullying = Coward!
L: Phoebe Prince was not the only incident. The Columbine boys were bullied and it led them to do something super tragic. We had that one mom who pretended to be a random kid, to bully another kid. That girl killed herself. This constant taunting cause kids to be depressed, which leads them to take antidepressants. How does this all stop?
B: I don’t think it will ever completely stop. You have parents who were bullies raising bullies. It appears to have become more extreme, and like we talked about on day one of our blog, it comes in all forms now. Cyber bullying is also new and if law enforcement and laws get created and passed to put a stop to it and punish these people then it will become less and less of an issue. We are all accountable to help put a stop to it.
L: Here here, sister!!! To protect their innocence and well-being of our children!