V. >> I love reading blogs. I love the discussions in the threads under the blog posts even better! Now, I’m even writing a blog, and REALLY looking forward to the discussions that will follow these posts. However, when I read some of the comments that other moms write, I can’t help but think “no wonder there is so much bullying in our children’s schools!”
Working with teens in the mental health field, I am on the frontlines when it comes to bullying. I see firsthand how it can destroy someone’s self-esteem, and make going to school and dreadful experience… Having myself been severely bullied as a kid, I sincerely hope that, as a society, we can work on solutions to get this to stop.
Let’s face it: teens bully each other because they don’t know other ways of dealing with conflict and differences. Being a teen means wanting to blend in, not stand out. So when you stand out like a soar thumb, other kids don’t know how to process that. When you have a fight with your friends, and you don’t know how to resolve the conflict and communicate properly, you might turn to bullying them. I honestly don’t think that most teenagers bully with the intention of causing as much harm as they do. I sincerely think that, in a moment of ignorance, misunderstanding, and anger, they take out their emotions on their peers in very destructive ways.
As parents, watching our kids get ostracized can be physically painful to watch. We want to be able to help them, and often times, we just don’t know what to do or say. We can talk about all kinds of stuff that, as parents and other adults surrounding kids, we can do to help eradicate bullying (and maybe one day I can write about that), but for now, we need to work on our own relationships between ourselves, as adults.
I vehemently believe that, when us adults learn to talk to each other, learn to resolve our own conflicts in a positive way, learn to process different cultures and ways of being, and when we can discuss heated topics without resorting to name calling, it will be a hell of a lot easier for us to teach it to our children.
I decided to start my own blog, along with my sister, because I was appalled by the tone of what is written on other mommy blogs out there on the Internet. While discussing with my sister, I stated that I was so tired of reading judgy, negative pieces about what is going on in the world. I am tired of trying to discuss hot topics with moms and be called names for what I believe. I am tired of witnessing people stating their opinions, but in such a way that no further discussion can happen because they are being so arrogant. A person might be stating the truth, or might be right to feel a certain way. But feeling that you’re right, or have the opinion of the majority doesn’t make it okay to be so disrespectful to others.
We often talk about mommy wars. Judging each other as moms seems to be an engrained part of our culture – it’s like we find that it’s our right to tell people off because we are personally offended by their choices and actions. And when we try debating, it’s like we’re completely incompetent on how to state that we disagree without making personal jabs at each other.
On top of that, the fact that we are anonymous online makes it sooo much easier to let loose and insult someone, because you don’t have to look at that person in the eyes. You don’t have to read their answer. You probably won’t get punished or penalized because you hurt someone’s feelings.
Because of all this, mommy blogs can be the nastiest websites online. It’s sad… How can we expect our children to rise above bullying if we don’t even see how we’re modeling that negative behaviour?
Sometimes, I try telling people that the way that they are communicating their disagreements can be disrespectful. I get the answer that they are allowed to disagree with others. Somehow, it seems as though some people just have no idea that you can disagree with others without having to denigrate them. Having an opinion doesn’t give you the permission to try to destroy someone’s reputation.
As adults, we need to learn when to mind our own business. We need to learn to communicate negative feelings without name-calling. We need to learn how to disagree gracefully. We need to learn to get along with people that might do things differently than us. And then we need to turn around, and help our children do the same.
That day, bullying will no longer be an uncontrollable societal issue.