How to beat the bullies - Coeur d'Alene Press: Editorial

How to beat the bullies

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Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013 12:00 am

The best tool parents can use in getting to the root of many bully problems is readily available, costs very little, requires no complicated assembly and no oversight from elected officials, school administrators or law enforcement personnel.

The tool is a mirror.

We know that's a ruthless suggestion for people who think personal responsibility is a burden best borne by somebody else. It's far easier when we parents simply continue to do an outstanding job of modeling behavior for our kids that encourages adoption of roles as bully, victim or bystander.

Think about your household and the messages the adults in it consistently send. How are disagreements or even the expression of disparate opinions addressed? How prevalent is respect and reason even when emotions run hot? How do parents deal with challenges when they feel like they're being bullied or need to exert their influence over others?

In all these cases, be assured your children are paying attention. There's also a very good chance they're emulating you - for better and for worse.

Because many of us have abdicated so much parental responsibility to electronic baby sitters, those means of communication carry far greater weight in our children's lives than is reasonable or healthy. Nasty text messages aren't just abbreviated jargon popping up on your child's smartphone; they're devastating personal assaults. Stupid, hurtful remarks posted via social media aren't ignored or laughed off like they should be; they too often go straight to the heart and cause real pain.

It would be convenient to blame society for bullying in its various manifestations, but society is our creation, and as individuals we need to own it before we can change it. What do we expect when we place a premium on those who shout loudest, not those who speak wisest? When we make incivility the order of the day, not the exception it once was? When we nurture a communication monster that consumes respect and kindness and expels all caps and exclamation marks?

The best way to change society is from within, from our own living rooms and dining rooms when we can communicate clearly and honestly with our kids about what's happening in their lives and how they can deal with their challenges. We'll see real change when we consistently behave as we want our children to behave, but that takes more than a mirror. Just like facing bullies, it takes courage, too.

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  • Idaho Roper posted at 12:07 am on Tue, Apr 2, 2013.

    Idaho Roper Posts: 117

    OMG!! Be the parent of your own kids!!?? But it is so much easier to let the iParent take care of it, let the teachers watch them during the day and then whine when something happens.

  • Ziggy posted at 10:53 am on Sat, Mar 9, 2013.

    Ziggy Posts: 1229

    Bravo! Couldn't be said better. This, indeed, is the crux of the problem. It all begins at home.

  • Sunshinegirl posted at 3:31 pm on Fri, Mar 8, 2013.

    Sunshinegirl Posts: 79

    Joshido - My interpretation of this article is treat your kids with kindness and respect and they will model that with others. If everyone did that, then everyone would be respectful. Often the bullies are being bullied by someone themselves and are lashing out as a cry for help.

  • Magscoll posted at 11:52 am on Fri, Mar 8, 2013.

    Magscoll Posts: 1

    Well said! How many times have we as parents raised our voices over what we feel is an injustice? I know that I am guilty of this and have yelled a little too loud without knowing what my children are hearing. All children learn from watching and listening to how mom and dad react to situations. Our job is to model the behavior we want to see in our children. Let is all take a long hard look in that mirror and maybe we can relearn how to speak and act respectfully to each other. We all know the saying," treat people the way you want to be treated", well mom and dad let us do this ourselves and hopefully our children will follow suit. I read a quote the other day that I wish we all could adhere to, "be kind whenever possible. It's always possible".
    Dali Lama

  • Joshido posted at 11:49 am on Fri, Mar 8, 2013.

    Joshido Posts: 77

    This opinion, while eloquently written, lacks a true focus. Are you saying proper parenting is all that is required to stop bullying completely? Psychological studies suggest that children that know how to properly digest and respond appropriately to violence and slander, are children who deal and prevent bullying the best. There are samples taken across the US. By sheltering our children and teenagers from things like violent movies/games and social media, they in-turn lack the experience to deal with it when it happens to them in person. Just food for thought.

    I agree however that our youth do need to be more selective of who they allow into their social media circles and that they need not worry over the cowardice of saying something online vs to their face, but can we truly understand something that was absent in our days that is now so prevalent?

  • boohoo2U posted at 6:06 am on Fri, Mar 8, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    Practice a quick gouge to the eyes in your mirror. Report the bully - teach others to do the same.

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