So like most people today I learned about the story of Amanda Todd. As I read through the various news reports and watched the video that this girl had put together I couldn’t help but feel such a deep sadness. That sadness has slowly turned to anger towards the people that put this child in this situation in the first place and then fear for my own children. Is this what the future has in store for my son or daughter? Will things ever get better or is the worst yet to come?
Over the past few years it seems that bullying and cyber bullying has come to the forefront and is well documented and known to the world. We hear about these sad stories both in the US and Canada, and we have some great campaigns such as the nomorebullies which started here in Ottawa. The Ontario Government has passed legislation aimed at fighting this epidemic that has already caused so much damage and taken too many young lives too soon. The problem with all of this is that the more attention this topic gets the worse the stories seem to become. What are we supposed to do to make this issue go away?
Every one of us growing up probably had to deal with a bully, so many people have the attitude that it is part of life and you just have to suck it up and get through it. Back when the worst that would happen to you was that you got a few wet willy’s, a charlie horse, or maybe at the worst a black eye or a bloody nose, sure I can buy into that it is part of growing up. The problem is that this is no longer the case, as society has changed and become more desensitized to violence, sex, and drugs today’s youth have to deal with ten times the amount of trouble that we had to deal with when we were their age. In the age of social media, the bullying not only happens at the schoolyard it follows our kids home!!
I read another story about a boy in the US this week that was about to do an interview with a local news channel about standing up to bullies and while they were preparing for the interview and cameras were rolling a few bullies literally came up and attacked this brave boy right in front of the reporter!! Most of the assault was caught on tape and yet these bullies had absolutely no fear of the repercussions for their actions. They didn’t care that there was a news camera rolling!! I was absolutely blown away by what I saw and read and I wondered to myself “What happened to the days when kids respected authority? What happened to the days when you would be afraid of what would happen if you did something wrong?”
I really don’t want to sound like one of those old school, hard line people but I really feel that something has gone wrong when it comes to discipline with the kids of today. Kids have no fear, they know that they can’t be touched for doing something wrong, and if they don’t have the moral compass needed to determine right from wrong we end up with the bullies of today. They don’t care if the teacher sees, they don’t care if the police are called, they don’t care if their parents find out, and as long as they can beat up or harass their victim they are going to do so without remorse. I see what is happening today though the stories like Amanda Todd and I wonder what it is going to be like for my kids as they get older. They are in their first few years of school I have never been so afraid of what the future could bring. Could I end up seeing one of my kids in the hospital? Could I see one of my kids in tears at night looking at a phony facebook page? Or worse, could I see one of my children making a similar video? I can only hope and pray that I give my kids the confidence and strength they will need to deal with the challenges they are inevitably going to face, because unless something dramatic happens soon there will be no avoiding the bullies out there and the tactics are only going to get worse.
So what are we as parents supposed to do? How can we put an end to this epidemic once and for all? There is plenty of awareness out there now but these things are still happening everywhere!! I personally think that there has to be a way, there has to be a way to take the schoolyard, parks, and streets back from the bullies. It is just a matter of finding it, and I hope we find it soon.
I had written a post awhile back about the school system needing to take a stronger and more aggressive stance towards discipline and I certainly stand by the statements I made in that post. I also feel that parents need to step up to the plate and take a firmer approach when it comes to keeping our kids in line. In most cases parents have become too soft on our kids (I can say I have been guilty of this from time to time as well), but for the most part I am very strict but fair with my kids. I really think that the only way to get through to the kids is through the parents, maybe if the parents of the kids that are bullying are identified and embarrassed enough they will take the hint and work getting their kids back onto the straight and narrow. Maybe if there is a 3 strike and you are out policy at school and the parent has to take time off work to stay home with their kids or find them a new school that will take their kid they will realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
I know from personal experience with my son that when there has been an issue at school with hitting or anything I am so worried about him getting kicked out of a program I am at the school or camp in a heartbeat trying to work with them to come up with a solution. My son has had the odd issue with hitting but his mom and I never ignore the problem and work side by side with the schools and camps to find a solution to the issue and use appropriate discipline and have been successful in doing so. Are we strict with our son and daughter? Yes, and we are consistent at both of our houses. If they are in trouble and not allowed to do something at mom’s the same rules apply at dad’s.
Overall I have to say that the saddest part about the fact I am writing this post tonight is that I had to hear about a poor young girl, who could have had so much potential in life had to take her life to get me to write this. This story and others like it are too much to bear and we as a society need to find away to work together with parents, kids, schools, politicians, police, and everyone that can help to find a way to put a stop to this. I hope and pray that Amanda’s life and the others before her can at least teach us the valuable lesson that bullying is wrong, no child should have to endure what these kids have had to go through, and no child should ever be put in a situation where they feel there life is worthless.
I hope and pray that someday there will be no more children taking their own lives because of the cruelty of someone else.
Rest in Peace Amanda Todd, I never knew you but something tells me I will never forget you.