Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bullied or a bully?

A few days ago I was at the doctor's office getting my weekly allergy shots. To make sure I don't over-react to the medication I need to wait 30 minutes after the shot so they can assess my reaction. This gives me 30 minutes to read People's Magazine every week.

This weeks headline was " Deadly Bullying" and it covered the story about Tyler Clementi who killed himself after being outed by his college room mate as being gay. It also featured Phoebe Prince who took her own life after being bullied at school.

I can't even begin to express the sorrow I feel when I think of all the lives wasted as a result of bullying. Not only the lives that ends but the lives that are crushed and scars that never heal. There are no tell tale reasons why someone is bullied. It can be race, size, sexual preference, glasses, braces, pimples, cloths, hair, accent, rumors, disabilities etc. The list goes on and on. Most often the reason is: just because.

In People's magazine there was an article about how you can tell if your child is bullied. They stress the importance of communication, trust and reassurance. While it is very important for parents, family, friends and teachers to be aware and to be educated on the subject, it is only one side of the problem. Why is there no guidelines to help parents, family, friends and teachers to identify a bully. What if it's your child that is making someone 's life a living hell. What if it's your child that is responsible for someone ending their life?

Maybe you would be heartbroken if you found out your child is a bully. Maybe you will never think of your child as a bully and excuse the behavior as teasing and friendly banter, simply kids being kids. Or maybe you child is a bully because you don't care at all.

I'm not sure how we should stop bullying. But I know we should never stop trying and I know we need to address the bullied as well as the bullies. We also need to remember everyone in between. If your child is neither bullied or a bully they still have a responsibility. I get that it is difficult to muster enough curage to break up a fight, but a smile or a compassionate glance is a start and it is no more difficult than being human.

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