Back to school=back to bullying?

Gosh, I hope not.  But I know better.  Here’s my random brain dump on the subject.  This is based on my experience as a teenager and as a mom of teenagers.  Am I the perfect mom?  Absolutely NOT.  I do what I can with what I have and hope for the best.

First, a reminder to parents. The pain and heartache your kids feel now is absolutely and totally real.  It could quite possibly be the most pain they have ever felt.  Just because you now have decades more experience don’t forget how you felt at that age.  Sure you got past it and have now experienced much more of life’s ups and downs.  The awful truth is that some teens don’t make it thru that.  Hug your kids everyday.  Listen to them, even when it seems trivial.  When it’s not trivial, they will come to you, knowing you are always there to listen.

Now to the kids.   I promise high school is temporary and it sucks for many people.  It is awkward, judgmental, stressful and an unfortunate requisite for the next stage of your life.  But I promise it is far better to peak later on in life than now.  I know it looks so awesome now when someone is totally popular.  I assure you they too feel insecure.  They have fat days.  Their face will break out too.  Their popularity means they have more people watching.  Not as cool now, eh?

You will see (and many will participate in) bullying.  That word gets tossed around a lot, but let me break it down a little.  When two kids say something to one all by themself, that’s bullying.  When the more popular girl says something catty under her breath toward a classmate, that’s bullying.  When you hear someone say something and it makes your tummy churn, that’s probably bullying.  It can be a single event.  It can be repeated over and over in different ways.

What can you do?  I am hopeful that you would stand up to the bully and call them on it.  However, I am realistic enough to know that is not how high school works.  So, if that is not an option, try this.  Just go over to the victim and give them an out.  Go start a conversation about something, anything, to interrupt what’s happening.  Go tell them you like their shoes and ask where they got them.  Ask them a question about a class you may (or may not) have together.  The idea is to stop the meanness and give the victim dignity in the situation.  Show them they are not alone and you saw what happened, and it’s not ok.

If you are the bully, watch out, karma’s a bitch and we are all just human and will grin when it comes back to get you.

Do what you can to remove the stress that you can control.  Do a few good things for people that need it and for you.  Talk with your parents, or a “trusted adult.”  For me that means that when kids come talk to me with their problems, they get a hug.  They talk thru the problem.  I make sure they understand the world is not ending.  I don’t judge them.  Then I make sure they know how to talk with their parents to get thru whatever it is as a team.  I keep your secrets safe (from other kids), I’ve got no one to tell.

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