Friday, September 30, 2011

The bully stops here - no more bullying!

Now that I have a child in school full-time, there are many things to think about, new issues to worry about, and lunches to pack every day. So far, grade one has been nothing but wonderful for my son, and we're both so happy.

Watching my son playing with his friends before and after school warms my heart, and makes me want to burst out crying, because these children? They're innocent. They are full of laughter and they are kind to each other. I don't know if it's just my son's school, but I see so much respect between children on the play ground, no matter the difference in age between children. These children? Their lives don't include bullies.


When I was in middle school, I was the victim of bullying. After competing in a relay race in track and field, a girl with the initials M.H beat me up. She pushed me into a locker, hit me, and kicked me, repeatedly telling me I wasn't a fast enough runner. I don't know how I managed to walk out of school and get on the bus without bursting into tears, but as soon as I got home, I started crying. I told my mom everything.

The next day we were in the Principal's office, along with a police officer and the girl who beat me up. After she received a serious warning and a detention, she was very nice to me for the remainder of the school year, going out of her way, almost, to be friendly to me. That wasn't the first or last time I was the victim of bullying, but it is the one incident that I remember the most.

Recently, an 11 year old disabled boy took his own life because he was being bullied. Imagine how awful and depressed a child must feel to take such drastic measures? It's awful. And sadly, he's not the first child to end his life because of bullying. It's happened way too many times for us to be quiet, and I think we have to stand up for our children louder than ever before. Guess what? It's not okay for bullies to get away with their behaviour anymore.

A local radio station, Majic 100 , is doing something wonderful to help spread awareness about the serious issue of bullying.

After seeing so many stories about bullying, the Majic 100 Morning show
with Stu, Angie and Trish decided to do something more than just talk about the issue on-air. The morning show has decided to go around to different schools in Ottawa and surrounding areas to present their anti-bullying message to students, in order to raise awareness of this serious issue.

Stu was a victim of bullying in school, too, so it's also a cause close to his heart. He tweeted that if he had to visit every school in Ottawa to speak up against bullying he would. The #NoMoreBullies hash tag was created and the idea has received amazing support from the community.

Stu told me that they have been inundated with requests from schools, and the emails they've received from parents have made them cry because the stories have been so hard to read. Stu says that "kids being cruel to other kids has to stop." And I completely agree.

As a mother of two children, and as someone who was bullied in school, I know how awful it feels to be a victim of bullying. I'm here to protect my children every way I can, and I am actively involved with my children's lives at school. I'm going to do everything I can so my boys know that it is never okay to be mean to another child, that everyone deserves to be treated fairly, and that no one should be made fun of for any reason.

I am teaching my children to be strong and confident, and letting them know every day that we are here for them, and that there is nothing they can't tell us. Keep communicating with your children, and make sure they know you're always there to listen to them. As parents, it's our job to teachour children right from wrong. As parents, it's also our job to make sure the schools our children attend is a safe place for them to be.


Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

I've recently read another concerned mother's post on her blog about bullying. I wrote this comment there but I thought I'd share it with you too.

This topic is close to my heart. As a youngster, I was bullied by many kids for 10 years until I was 17. My parents both worked long hours and I didn't have anyone to talk to. At one point, I fell into a deep depression. I've come to the realization that the bullies due to their own insecurities and issues at home would then pick on a weaker child with low esteem.

I had a long and heart to heart chat with a bully 20 years later. She'd never forgotten and was gripped with guilt for treating me so badly. It took her decades to locate me (thanks to Facebook) and wanted to apologize personally so that she could move on. I was touched. It's never easy to put your pride aside to apologize. I've also realized that what didn't break me made me stronger. If I hadn't been bullied, I wouldn't have been as compassionate nor understanding. There's always a silver lining in every mishap.

A year ago, my 4 (now 5) year old was bullied in school. Needless to say, I was furious but I remembered an advice my best friend gave to me years ago. I got my daughter to role play to understand how to tackle the issue. I wanted her to learn the skills to be more assertive and independent as I wouldn't be able to fight her battles all the time. It worked and the bully never bothered her again. I had a quiet word to his mother and she was heartbroken but determined to deal with the problem.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

Whenever I hear about a child that took their life due to bullying I want to cry. It's horrifying.

OHmommy said...

This topic is near and dear to me as I was bullied for many years and now, much to my chagrin, am witnessing bullies in my children's lives.

The very first funeral I attended was of my 13 year old student during my first year of teaching. It was horrible.

wendy @ mama one to three said...

This really touches me. I was also a victim of bullies in school so many years ago, and it is a topic I can just barely start to talk about openly. It breaks my heart. I have three kids, and very little expertise in dealing with this... I will think about what you wrote here. best,

Scattered Mom said...

Until agencies that are meant to protect kids actually do instead of servicing their own interests and agendas, nothing will change. It's really sad when adults are only too eager to throw an innocent child under the bus to protect their ass. As a society, I think we need to stand up for what's right and by that example, kids will learn what it means to actually have some morals.

EarnestGirl said...

What you and ScattredMom are saying here about modeling behavior for change is so important. Our kids learn most by what we do, not what they hear. We need to lead the way by listening to our kids and acting in ways that sets a new tone. By speaking out you de-stigmatize the topic and contribute to an atmosphere of strength instead of one of fear or blame. Thank you.

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