What should we do with bullies?
I am so depressed at the news of another teen killing herself to escape bullying. We just had a similar case in the Tampa Bay area. Now comes the news of a kid who was charged with bringing knives to school, but here's the clincher: She did it to ward off bullies.
Considering the dramatic reactions, what are we to do with this? Bullying in some respect is a right of passage, but when you add in the Internet element and the barrage that can result when Facebook, Twitter and e-mail can create a virtual pile-on, it gets overwhelming for a kid.
Typically the aftermath has been taken to civil court, but in the Massachusetts case, nine teens have been charged with multiple harassment crimes. School officials and legal experts say there is now some urgency in finding ways to prevent such a tragedy.
Here are some tips on how to check that your own kid isn't getting bullied or being one. You would think it goes without saying that parents don't want their kids to bully other kids. But it seems that maybe parents need to talk to their own kids about it and check their Facebook, My Space and Twitter accounts to see if they are being bullied or being bullies. And I like these Do's and Don'ts from author Barbara Coloroso (Kids Are Worth It):
Tell your child, “I hear you; I am here for you; I believe you; you are not alone in this.”
Tell your child, “It is not your fault.”
Tell your child, “There are things you can do.”
Report the bullying to school personnel.
Don’t minimalize, rationalize or explain away the bully’s behavior.
Don’t solve the problem for your child.
Don’t tell your child to avoid the bully, teach them how not to be a victim.
Don’t tell your child to fight back.
Don’t confront the bully or the bully’s parents alone.
But what do we think about the prosecutor in Colorado who charged the kids with a crime for this? Is that the next wave of bully prevention?
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne