Bullying has Become a National Epidemic        

By Jo Ann Wentzel

 

Every day there are more instances of the epidemic of bullying. There are more ‘helps’ in place as schools and teachers, parents and other students are made aware of just how harmful this behavior can be. The countless suicides we hear about as a result of bullying have risen and the problem still has not gone away. We need to teach morals at home that exclude bad name calling and horrific acts meant for only one thing, hurting someone else. We, as parents, need to teach values and morals that hold the belief, all human life is important. The principal of treating others as you wish to be treated is a valuable tool in guiding behavior. When humiliation is part of the goal a person who bullies can often find ammunition to use if they pretend to befriend that person. The betrayal is as harsh as the photos they post online. Some of these acts are verbal and some go further when it graduates to the physical act of bullying. Things get out of hand as it goes way too far. When the person bullying decides to physically hurt someone or the bullied person decides to retaliate by shooting up a school and then taking their own life, we have lost the battle.

Kids’ teasing each other and even making fun of each other is not a new thing. Since time began, probably, one child often was less than kind to another child, but now the problem has elevated. There are too many kids who are too sensitive and too many other kids who are desensitized.

In earlier years we were taught ‘sticks and stones will break your bones but, words will never hurt you.” Maybe that was in a healthier time when cruelty was not taken to this level. Maybe at the time when fights were settled with fists rather than guns or knives, everyone just did not take anger as far verbally. They did not dish out such personal and emotional distress.

Now, the bullying techniques also include posting horrible, hurtful things online. They involve making use of personal secrets and confidences and also pictures not meant for the general public. Kids today must be more careful of what they share and with whom. They also, unfortunately, cannot always trust those they believe they can trust.

The bullying in several cases now has gotten so bad that the targeted kids could not take it anymore and in some cases took their own lives. What a terrible, horrific tragedy for all involved just because someone could not just dislike a person without aggressively and incessantly bombarding them with hate.

We need to know our kids and their true personalities. Then if kids are truly known to the parents and their teachers as to who they really are and how they are interacting with others. It is the best way to stop this abuse that is responsible for so many deaths now. It is the best way for kids to feel like they have someone on their side to help and protect them. When they feel like they are battling this issue by themselves, they may give up.

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