Nashville Moms Blog is proud to partner with the Nashville Public Library to promote literacy and learning among babies, children, and teens in our city. Today our post focuses on the important topic of bullying—an issue that our children and teens face more and more each day.
Our guest poster on the topic is Kayla Mayberry who is 16 and a senior at Middle College High School at Nashville State Community College. She is a part of Totally Outstanding Teen Advocates for the Library (T.O.T.A.L), a group of local teens fully employed by Nashville Public Library. They facilitate workshops for their peers, including workshops on bullying. For more information about T.O.T.A.L. and their work to confront bullying in Middle Tennessee, contact T.O.T.A.L.’s leader, Monica McLaurine: [email protected]
When you were growing up, did you ever see someone being bullied? Were you bullied yourself? People often forget what it was like to be bullied in school. It’s also easy to disassociate from bullying victims, so we don’t have to confront the ugliness or pain of this phenomenon.
The reality, however, is that we cannot forget about bullying—and we cannot be silent about it. The reality is that nearly 70 percent of kids have been bullied and 30 percent have admitted to doing the bullying themselves.
In the past, it might have been acceptable—or even encouraged—for a bullying victim to fight back physically. They might have ended up with a black eye, but the problem would have at least been solved.
That’s not the world we live in today. Things are not as simple as punching or kicking back. In a world full of cell phones and endless social media channels, it’s harder than you might think to get a bully to back down.
Here’s my advice about how you can help your teen when it comes to bullying whether in person or over cyberspace:
- Keep your eyes open for signs that your teen might be coping with bullying. Maybe you notice your child is not spending time with friends anymore or is hanging out at the house more than normal. Maybe she’s lost her appetite, is sleeping less, or is sleeping more. Since we all cope and respond differently, the signs someone is being bullied may not be extreme or overt.
- Don’t ask your teens to give up their cell phones or quit social media. In reality, how likely are my friends and I to stop texting or logging on to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? Trying to ban your teen from the Internet in a world that revolves around the latest tweet or post will only make him more reserved about sharing emotions and experiences with you.
- Don’t immediately confront the parent of your child’s bully; this might make the situation worse for him. The best thing you can do is to go to the school principal or, if necessary, the police.
Kids and teens deal with bullying all around them—at school, through texts, and especially online through hate pages and other social media outlets. We have to deal with all of this daily.
So the very best thing you can do for us is to talk to your kids about bullying.
If your child happens to see someone being bullied and tells you about it later, make sure to do something about the situation. Tell someone who can take care of the issue in a more permanent way.
In the meantime, encourage your child to be a friend to a bullying victim during the person’s time of need. When it comes to bullying in today’s world, every little bit helps.