Lisa was one of my first school friends, a history dating back to elementary school. As teen moms we plunged head first into parenting. I remember thinking Lisa was so strong and mature about the whole thing. She had a very supportive family, and was so well-loved.
Lisa has raised a daughter and is still raising her young son. A topic near and dear to both our hearts is bullying. We reminisced about how we hated to see the effects on our young, and teen, children. She and I both have strong opinions on the topic, Lisa shares in her fifth tip.
Lisa, “For moms of teens: When my daughter turned into a teen, I distinctly remember the time she realized “mommy” didn’t know everything. She was 12. She came home from school and said someone was teasing her. I told her, “turn the other cheek.”
Looking back, I was wrong. I should have told her to stick up for herself. The next day she came home and said she got teased worse. The look in her face was like a knife through my heart. Such disappointment.
I learned not to do that with my son. I tell him, “stand up for yourself.” He knows if he does stand up he will never get in trouble.” Tip #5
Bullying is avoided by few, if any. It was painfully present in my school years, and even more painfully present when it impacted my son. I can only empathize with Lisa, when it comes to bringing a daughter through the ordeal.
When raising Michael, I too followed Lisa’s first line of defense. I suggested walking away, turning the other cheek, and the likely failure of telling an adult. How I wish I could say these were effective solutions. I wish after four decades, and much examination, I had some proven wisdom to pass along. In our case, these options did not remedy two generations of bullying.
I thought, teaching respect, communication skills, conflict resolution, and instilling a positive self-image, would certainly enable my son to avoid the pitfalls of bullying. Unfortunately, those skills were no match for such schoolyard complexities.
I’m afraid I must report, I did not find effective tools as a child, an adolescent, a parent, or as a professional. I have not yet identified any fail-safe way to manage bullying. It is a powerful and heart-breaking social construct!
Our kids, and their safety, depend on further advancements in this area. I urge training, targeted prevention, application of research and proven programs, combined with immediate intervention with children, parents, and professionals. All hopes are to keep kids safe, and feeling safe!
The goal should be intervention in the early years. When a girl gets her hair pulled, a kid gets pushed on the school grounds, steals a hat, or another’s homework – all red flags raise. We should collectively be working to identify and address these matters, effectively, efficiently, and with the involvement of families!
Bullying does not just go away!
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Next week, Marilyn on fear of failure.