Bullying culture needs to be stopped

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Bullying and cyberbullying is on the rise in America.  It is running rampant among our youth, down the halls of their schools as well as on their phones and computers.  There has also been an alarming increase in teen suicides, school violence, and depression.

What can we do to help our children not succumb to, or become involved in bullying?

Each one of us should participate in providing our children with aid, not only with increased awareness and education, but with our own public behavior.

We are using mean, nasty and bully-inducing words to describe one another and believing it is okay to do so in a public forum. Well, obviously some folks didn’t grow up with me!  If I disrespected anyone by calling them disparaging names, oh my, I probably would still be sitting in a corner today, that is, if I could even sit!

Many of our government leaders, as well as ourselves, are using words which openly mock, undermine, belittle, and slander one another. And, no matter what political side on which we may stand, we should all steadfastly stand on the side of our children.  After all, they are America’s future, and right now, 1 in 4 have experienced some form of bullying in school. 

Over half of all young people have received intimidating, threatening or nasty messages online, most of those coming on their cell phones.  Bullying victims are two-to-nine times more likely to consider suicide.  I could keep writing the statistics, but there are too many; all are staggering.

Who is listening when we call someone a loser, ignorant, or a moron? How would you feel if you were called one of those names in front of your peers, your coworkers, or friends?  What if you were a mere child and heard or read those words describing you?

Children who are struggling with acceptance and peer pressure need to hear someone call them a ‘loser’ or other cruel words like most of us need to listen to news we have a fatal illness. 

When I was a young, insecure teen, I overheard a bully talking to a group of his friends.  He pointed to me and told the others, “She is such a loser!” I had no idea what I had done to be labeled such, but the hurt was so profound,  it required more strength than I knew I possessed to return to school. I was an innocent child dealing with undiagnosed depression, and my mind wasn’t mature enough to realize life ebbs and flows over a long period. I didn’t understand that time can heal wounds and increase courage.

When we openly use demeaning and mean-spirited statements concerning a person, how many unwise young folks are listening?  They unconsciously believe, “Well, he/she uses those words, so it is okay for me to do the same, right?”  If we think it is okay, then we probably just created another bully. 

We can disagree, we can debate, and we can speak our piece without calling someone a name.  We can get angry; we can shout from the tallest building related to how we feel without belittling another.  If we set this type of example, we teach those listening civility and control.    

If any of us causes a person to feel less valuable or less important to society than ourselves, we should feel extreme guilt and sorrow.  If we use bullying tactics or mock another, then we must realize we just slapped God in the face and hurt those children we say we love.

Our children are under so much pressure today to achieve, to be competitive and become winners.  We try to provide our young ones with the best we can offer, but are we offering them our best examples of ourselves?

We should first and foremost educate our children that winning in life requires good behavior.  We need to not only be involved in their schoolwork, their ballgames, or their dance recitals but actively, daily, teach them how to treat others with respect and dignity.  It is our job to instill in them kindness, fairness, and empathy by our example.

Parents must bear the responsibility of showing each child the value of each and every person. 

Some feel they have a license to write offensive words to anyone on the internet because they believe it is acceptable.  Cyberbullies hide in the halls of hate using abusive language and exercising their freedom of speech. However, when they do,  who are they impressing, who are they benefiting, and who are they pushing off a cliff?

If the future of America is in the hands of our children, then we need to lay down our bullying words, take their hands and lead the way.