Children and teens have always had a certain amount of gang mentality, but it does seem that because of the increase of actual gangs, the bullying may be more dangerous than it was when I was a young woman.
I can't tell you how much I dislike the "kids will be kids" mentality that so many adults have about bullying. I've seen it in parents, I've seen it in some teachers, and I've even seen it in the Principal's office.
While it may be true that kids will be kids, I don't understand why parents don't take the time to sit their children down and explain to them how harmful bullying can be.
There's also the "it will make a man out of him" mentality that some parents have. I will never comprehend that one.
I also don't understand why some parents don't teach their children that it's not okay to make fun of someone just because they're different.
Children who are smarter than the others, heavier than the others, less athletic than the others, socially awkward, children who are perceived as unattractive, or those who do not fit the gender norm are all easy prey for bullies.
It's easy to understand when children are young and don't know any better that they may think that bullying is okay, but I really believe that by the time they are well into elementary school, they should thoroughly understand the consequences of bullying.
This is where I think a lot of parents are dropping the ball. I don't think that many parents actively condone bullying (although I know for a fact that some do), however, they don't speak up enough and teach their children to accept others' differences.
A young person whom I love very much was bullied due to a health issue. The bullying became so bad that there were threatening phone calls made, harmful pranks and on occasion, beatings.
When the parents of the bullies were confronted with their children's behaviour, they made excuses for their children rather than agreeing that their children's actions were wrong.
The school's stance was not very helpful to the bullied child either.
Fortunately, this child's health improved and soon the child was off to a new school and was able to have a fresh start. Many children are not that fortunate.
With the rash of teen suicide that are going on, I really believe that we all need to take a more active role in raising awareness of the consequences of bullying.
I would like to see parents taking responsibility for their children's actions. I would like to see more anti-bullying awareness take place in the school systems starting at an early age. I would like to see the schools take more action when bullying occurs.
Some people survive bullying and become strong, self-confident individuals. For some people, the self-esteem lost due to bullying never recovers. For others, it becomes too unbearable for them to face another day and they make a terrible choice to use a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
I urge everyone to really talk to your kids about these issues and for heaven's sake, take it seriously, whether your child is being bullied or whether your child is the bully. Because it really is serious.
Okay, I'm off the soap box now. On an entirely different note, I wrote my first entry in my new movie blog. I've put the link in this post, but there's also a link under my profile photo. If you're interested in movies, you may find it interesting. I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions that you may have.
It's been another beautiful, warm and sunny day today. This is truly dream weather. In the spirit of my topic today, I'm going to show some photos of my cat Q and her arch-nemesis, my dog Barclay, doing their part to get along.
'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.