I grew up in the 90s and early 00’s, times were different. Everyone wasn’t so sensitive, things weren’t as heavy. Even the subject of bullying wasn’t something I thought about. I was fortunate enough to never have experienced it. I never had to deal with being bullied so I never saw it as a major problem. Besides, I feel the definition of bullied back then was completely different from being bullied today. Growing up it was normal for other kids to taunt you or say stupid things every now and then. It’s a part of growing up, that is my honest opinion. I do feel there is a fine line between grade school taunting and bullying. As I got older, I became more aware of just how horrible bullying had gotten and the horrible effects it caused.
In the times we live in today, with social media and the ability to reach someone so easily, bullying has seem to be growing at an alarming rate, or one would think. I couldn’t help but wonder if this problem has been just as bad all along and I’ve been ignorant to the importance of being aware. Obviously, with social media I’ve been seeing the causes of bullying every time I pick up my phone. Being a mom, I started to pay a lot more attention and decided to educate myself on just what was happening with our kids today.
I have three boys that I have spoken to plenty of times about bullying but I haven’t given too much detail on who they are. I have Jayden, who is my oldest, soon to be 9 years old. Jayden is the most sensitive out of my kids. He wears his heart on sleeve and literally sees life for everything good it brings. He wants everything to be fun and he wants everyone to be happy. Then there’s Kameron, the middle child, soon to be 4 years old. He’s my fire cracker, my wild child. He’s unapologetically himself at all times and could care less how you feel about it. He’s a bit more aggressive, but just as happy and loving as Jayden. Lastly, we have Tristan, the baby of the bunch, freshly 1 year old. He’s still pretty new so we are figuring him out. He’s seems to be more of a chill, go with the flow type of kid. He keeps a smile on his face and isn’t bothered easily. Why would anyone pick on these kinds of kids? Could these kids be bullies themselves?
My kids are loving, sweet, smart, and so much more. Why would anyone ever want to hurt them or make them feel bad? More importantly, why would anyone want to have to deal with me!? Because if you mess with my kids, you’re messing with me. When it comes to my boys all logic and any level of understanding goes out the window. I just know you wouldn’t be able to get me to understand why someone is hurting my child, physically, mentally, or emotionally. As a mother, I have a real fear of any of my kids being bullied. The thought of one of them suffering day after day breaks my heart. To try and avoid this heart break for my kids, I decided to educate myself.
In doing a lot of reading, I found that there is no clear way to stop or prevent bullying. Which is understandable given there’s no clear understanding of what makes someone a bully. One in every five students REPORTS being bullied. Females are more likely to report bullying than males (which wasn’t surprising). Studies show kids who don’t get enough attention at home, see violence at home, or are picked on themselves tend to become bullies. But studies also show that bullying comes from a group of kids, very rarely is one kid bullying by themselves. I also found it very interesting that bullying is more likely to stop when another peer steps in rather than an adult. The main reason kids are bullied? For their physical appearance and race/ethnicity.
I could go on and on with all the “stats” and findings I read about. One thing was clear, bullying is a serious problem that needs to be talked about and assessed more. Even though with growing awareness it seems that bullying may be on the decline. I still feel it’s a huge problem that parents need to make themselves more aware of. It’s important as parents we keep communication open with our kids. Talk about bullying openly and honestly. Make sure they feel comfortable letting us know when something is wrong. It is also important to make them confident in being comfortable with speaking up when something wrong is happening.
I am a huge advocate of my child protecting their personal space and not allowing anyone to violate that. I give them permission to act accordingly if someone violates their space. That includes if someone gets physical with them. I’ve made it very clear I would have their back if they had to protect themselves. Where I struggle is getting them to understand they can also be violated mentally and emotionally. And how important it is to protect that space as well. The thought of being completely helpless if my kids are going through something like bullying really makes me upset. But all I can do is make sure I create a safe and open environment to make sure if something like this does begin to happen they will be willing to open up. I also want to make sure the environment I create doesn’t turn them into bullies. I just want my boys to be well rounded humans. I will give them my all and do it with love.