Update: January 19th, 2012 - Shocking Update via Huffpo
". . .most parents of bullied children have no idea about the anguish their sons and daughters are enduring,
because the kids aren't talking. . . "
- Marlo Thomas
A heart- wrenching must-read for parents by actress and activist, Marlo Thomas, with a
a rousing call-for-action to put a stop to rampant bullying. Here are a few excerpts from her post, "Free to Be . . . Not Anymore," including tips for parents for identifying the
signs of whether your child is being bullied.
In his Kindnessabovemalice website, Kameron's father shares his story, which obviously inspired Marlo Thomas with these take-aways for parents (and schools):Just how many dead teenagers, driven to end their own lives, is it going to take for adults to stand up and say, What the hell is going on? There was a time when the words "Free to Be" embodied a hope that whatever a kid was, was good enough. But "freedom" doesn't describe the world of this generation. Or of their parents. One of those parents wrote to me on my Facebook page.
"Hi, Marlo," wrote Kevin Jacobsen of New York. "Our son Kameron was bullied relentlessly and committed suicide on January 18th. He was 14. In lieu of flowers, we asked for donations to go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, my mom's favorite for decades. I know you're busy, but just wondering if you could take a look at our son. We have nothing else to lose."
He then posted the link to a website he'd built to honor his son, called KindnessAboveMalice.org. I logged on, but could barely look at the child's face.
He was beautiful. . .
There are some stats that are worth highlighting:Kevin Jennings, the assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Education, told me that most parents of bullied children have no idea about the anguish their sons and daughters are enduring, because the kids aren't talking. They're ashamed to admit it, because they think it's a sign of weakness, and they want to handle it themselves.
But if more parents would get into the game, Jennings said, we might be able to turn things around. He told me that the majority of parents haven't been trained to look for signs of bullying in their child's life. But they need to. And they can start by asking themselves a few questions:
- Does your child not want to ride the school bus any more?
- Does your child often wake in the morning complaining about stomach aches and asking to stay home from school?
- Are your child's friends not coming around so much any more?
- Has your child stopped receiving invitations to parties?
Most important, said Jennings, is if you suspect your child is being bullied, you must become proactive, and try to get that child to talk.
And I think we all have to start to talk.
If there's one thing I've learned over the years about tackling problems, it's that the first thing you need to do is spark the conversation. So let's start talking about bullying. With our neighbors. With our friends and family. With fellow parents at PTA meetings. And with each other -- right here. Let me hear what you think. It's time to take bullying down.
In the meantime, if you're worried that a child in your life might be a victim -- or is,
in fact, the bully -- there are some helpful thoughts at such websites as stopbullying.gov. I'm sure there are countless other sites, and I'd like to know about those, as well. We don't have the time -- or any more kids' lives -- to waste.
Link to full post HERE, via Huffington Post."According to current statistics, one out of every four teenagers across America is bullied in their neighborhoods and schools; 160,000 students stay home from school every day because of their fear of being bullied; and each month, nearly 300,000 students are physically attacked inside their secondary schools.
Online, things are even worse: 43 percent of kids are cyber-bullied, while 53 percent admit to having said something mean and hurtful to another kid online."
Previously published by The Daily Riff May 29, 2011
Related posts The Daily Riff:
Two Schools: Which One Builds a Better Bully?
How To Turn Your Kid Into a Bully
Bullying and the Brain: Tips for Parents
Thugs in the Locker Room: Listen to the "Culture Of Silence"
Parents: Be a Pit Bull about Bullying
Dealing with Parents of a Cyberbully
Pickling the Cyberbullying Virus
Do Adult Leaders Model the Educational Values They Espouse?