Bullying – Revisited

04/19/2011

Shortly after I wrote the blog about bullying, a number of things happened.  First of all, and most shocking (to me) was the story that hit the web about the little 7-year-old girl whose parents had plastic surgery on her ears to stop the bullying.  Her ears, according to the article I read on yahoo, were ‘cup’ ears… think Kate Hudson, Ron Howard, etc.  Usually people outgrow this… or maybe grow into their ears 🙂  But, this family decided that the only choice was plastic surgery. 

I could not imagine having surgery done on my child to avoid bullying, it seemed quite extreme.  I, however, know nothing about their situation but did wonder what kind of message that sends to people who bully and I also wondered if other options had been tried (I’m sure they were). Everyone has to make decisions they feel are best for their families even when they may not make sense to anyone else.

I originally wrote the blog about bullying when my son, who is in 6th grade in Colorado (not Chicago, not NY, not some hardcore city) came home and asked me what “ass-raping” was.  Naturally, I assumed that watching prison movies must be something new they were doing in school.  When he assured me they were not watching prison movies, I started asking what other kinds of ‘names’ they were learning.  He went on to tell me that kids at the school frequently call each other “bitch”, the “n” word, “sexual molesters”, and “gay” (if you don’t have a girlfriend and are male).  My son is also the minority at his school and is frequently made fun of for his pale skin and blue eyes.  It’s very hard to teach your child about racism when they are being targeted.  It hit home with how many people of many different races may have felt at one time. 

I heard more than one story about boys bullying girls into having sex, about sweet, smart kids going completely crazy on a bullies and trying to smash their heads in (and then being suspended for it), suicide, depression, failing grades, fear. Is bullying an epidemic?  So, what is the cure?  My brother suggests he pay a ‘visit’… lol.  No, we aren’t Italian in case you are wondering… we’re worse… we’re Flemish. 😉

One of the most drastic but best suggestions I’d heard was avoidance.  Normally, I’m not an advocate of avoidance, but, after considering carefully what it was I would be helping my own child avoid it was:  lack of self-worth, lack of confidence, pain, suffering, and peer pressure.  What I’ve heard in response to this is that I will be teaching my child to run away and not face their fears, but, am I seriously going to put my child is a situation that could hurt him mentally, emotionally, maybe physically to build character?  My job as a parent, is to keep my child safe.  He is my responsibility.  I’m raising an adult.  Someone who will need to go out and function successfully in our society.  Someone that may have a family of his own one day.  And, I just can’t see how dealing with bullying will help him in any of those situations.

So, for us, possibly home-schooling and learning some kind of martial arts that teaches respect for others and oneself is what I feel is best.  It’s true, I’m altering our lives to avoid bullying, same as the family, that had plastic surgery on their daughter… but, at what point would one ever stop trying to protect their children?  Or should?

Thanks for reading.

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