Hi everyone! Please visit 3girlsblogging.com. The current weekly topic is bullying. At 3GB, our weekly column covers three different perspectives: the stay-at-home mom, the medical professional, and the tween/teen. Our lead columnists are Dr. Sue-Ellen Franklyn, an internist, Zaharah Zaidi, a tween author, and Lisa Franklyn-Zaidi, a former financial analyst.
Here is the stay-at-home mom's view-- The Substantive Mom:
Where do we stand as a society against bullying? Given a staggering statistic issued by the U.S. Justice Department that 1 out of every 4 children is bullied, there should be a direct, clear-cut response. But quite the opposite has occurred. Perhaps as a society we have become jaded, and we are stirred to action (at least temporarily) only when something tragic happens. Should we wait for a horrific murder or a suicide to motivate us to end this epidemic in our schools and community? I think not. We need to take a strong stand and a new approach to this problem. And no, I don’t think we should wait for some mandate from our state legislature. That seems ludicrous to me. We all know that, with all of the bureaucracy involved, nothing much will come of any state anti-bullying mandate. It’s more a show of good faith and a reelection ploy for our politicians than anything.
My older son, Arshad, who is in fourth grade, has been bullied on and off since first grade. We have always taught him to take the high road. Arshad speaks up for himself and reports any incidents to school officials and to us. From our experience, school officials have not been able to control the situation. One isolated incident rolls into another. Real action needs to be taken. There should be a zero tolerance policy for any form of bullying. Just recently, a second grader spat on Arshad for absolutely no reason. An easy going, mild-mannered child, Arshad reported the incident to the bus driver, and I called the school. But enough is enough. I told the assistant principal that Arshad has been dealing with this nonsense for too long. Bullies quickly realized that he would not retaliate and that school officials would only give them a tap on the wrist. Recently, we have instructed Arshad to defend himself both physically and verbally. It saddens me that I have been forced to modify my son’s naturally sweet disposition. I remind myself that my most important job is to protect him.
Because of my experience with bullying at Arshad’s school, I researched and discovered a national organization called We’re Kick’in It (KI). KI has real solutions to many of the problems facing our youth. It involves all members of our community (children, parents, school administrators, and society as a whole). I would like to see my son’s school use the KI approach and make anti-bullying programs a part of the school curriculum. Just as with good manners, our children will not learn how to prevent bullying in one day via a 40-minute assembly.
We can rid our society of this disease. All it takes is for us to realize that we are all in this together. There should be no more pointing fingers. Children make mistakes and can change. As parents, we should not be so defensive when our child is accused of bullying. We should listen to the facts, and if it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, well, guess what? It’s probably a duck. Get your child the help that he or she needs before the problem gets out of hand. Let’s also take a stand, say farewell to the boys-will-be-boys mentality, and give our children a safe academic environment to acquire skills they need for life. No more taps on the wrist. Let’s think outside of the box and give appropriate punishments to bullies. If there are real consequences for their actions, we are more likely to see real change.