Today someone somewhere decided that we need to bring Awareness to bullying by all wearing pink t-shirts today. I am not doing it. Miraculously, Char is not wearing pink today either, despite the fact that at least 85% of her wardrobe consists of that colour. Awareness. What does that even mean anymore? Yes, we can all go around today and tell the world Bullying is Bad and We Shouldn't Do It, but what will that accomplish? I don't believe it will do anything. Bullies will still bully. Kids will and still do suffer.
I have been bullied and am the parent of a child who has been bullied. I am also the mom of a kid who was doing the bullying. In my own experience with bullies I found that my parents were the ones who were most helpful. They let me skip school sometimes. They berated the principal of the school and made sure the bullies were suspended after one particularly awful incident. They kept me busy with piano lessons, Girl Guides and swimming lessons. They sent me to summer camp in a place where the kids didn't know they were supposed to bully me. The other thing that helped me was time. In time, I grew up, moved away and let my growing up and turning out OK be my personal victory over the bullies.
I considered homeschooling my own kids as a way to protect them from the awful world and the assholes in it. When my child was bullied, we called the school. It continued. We had to go over and knock on the bully's door and talk to the parents directly. Among my friends, I have also found that it is the parents that are the ones that seem to have the most impact on dealing with bullies. When I was told by another parent that her child and mine were caught picking on a kid on the playground at school I was mortified. I made my child apologize to the child that was picked on and re-enforced over and over that it is inappropriate behaviour.
So, let's take this anti-bullying campaign out of the schools. How about we agree that raising kids is really hard and that as parents, it should be our goal to not raise assholes. If someone knocks on your door and tells you your kid was a jerk to theirs, it is OK to be mortified and shocked. At that point, don't deny the incident happened or accuse the accuser of lying. Open up a line of communication, no matter how hard that could be, and get to the bottom of things. Deal with it. Deal with your child. Don't take it personally. Keep talking. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away. Hoping the school will deal with it so you don't have to will not help.
You can wear whatever colour shirt you want.