Marie Roker-Jones explains that the real problem of bullying is the bystanders who do nothing to stop it.
Whenever my teen son complains about a situation, I ask him “What are you doing to change it?” It always makes him think about how his actions or lack of action impacts those around him. This is especially true when it comes to bullying.
We can’t turn a blind eye to bullying because it affects us as a world, country, neighborhood and family. It seems like I can’t turn on the news without hearing either about a bullying incident or about a child who has taken his or her life as a result of constant bullying.
Bullying is not new to us as adults, but the forms and tactics kids are using to bully others is foreign to us. We try hard to understand what it is like to be a kid today and hit scares us. We don’t think about how bullying affects a child until it is our child.
I talk to my son constantly about his duty as a human being to speak up and speak out when he sees injustice. It’s very easy to stand back and watch as another child is humiliated, ridiculed and beaten down physically, emotionally and mentally. However, if we don’t teach our kids to intervene and speak up for the bullying victim, we’ll be raising a generation of wimps.
Recently, a boy was bullied on the bus and instead of helping him, the other kids recorded the incident on their phones. What will become of the next generation, if they aren’t empowered enough to help another person? It saddens me to think that our children are lacking compassion and empathy.
It’s time for us as parents to address the real problem of bullying: Bystanders who look away or stay quiet. Is this what we want for our children? If not, we need to help them to make the right decision and tell them that they must “be the change they want to see in the world.”
We have to change their mindset and get them to realize that speaking up is not snitching. We have to earn their trust and confidence to confide in us about bullying situations online and at school. We have to remind them that they are either part of the problem or part of the solution.
What are you telling your son about bullying?
Originally appeared at Raising Great Men
Photo: Flickr/Davidlohr Bueso