Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bullying

I watched Dateline this week and learned more about teenager Phoebe Prince and her suicide. She committed suicide after relentless hounding by fellow students, and the whole time school officials knew it was going on as it was in the halls and online. I find that reprehensible.

The idea that children find it acceptable to join in the harassment of others is appalling to me. And it starts with the parents. Parents don’t always realize that what they say in front of their children has a deep affect on them. And it starts at a young age.

Kids know their parent’s tones and inflections in their voices. They learn it before they can speak. Even as babies, they can distinguish between angry tones and soothing tones. As they grow, they listen to how their parents speak about others around them. If they are critical of someone they meet, the child interprets that as the right to do the same to others. If the child repeatedly hears criticism of themselves or others, they will also feel that act is acceptable.

The problem we have today with bullying is that there are more ways to bully the target. Facebook, Twitter, and texts are the most common forms of communication for teenagers these days. They are all easily accessible on smart phones too. And what do you think most teenagers have? That’s right, a smart phone!

Bullying should not be tolerated in any way. Too many of our young people accept that it is part of life and that is just wrong. No one should be hounded by anyone as they grow up. We have enough pressures at that age. Why should we have added angst from those insecure and mean kids?

Parents! Pay attention! Watch what you say!

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