Saturday, July 25, 2015

Good Girls Bully Too

By their indifference to abuse, bullying, and harassment, parents, teachers, and employers send additional, subtle messages often written between the lines: You must also endure whatever comes with the package. It happens. Life is tough. Kids will be kids.
Frank Peretti

This is the post I never wanted to write. Each time I think of it, I'm shamed from my head to my toes, my heart aches and fills with acid shamefulness.

It was grade school. I've never thought of myself as a mean child. My mother was the epitome of kindness. I should have been. The incident resides in the forefront of my mind in vivid detail. One of my classmates brought pickled pigs feet in her lunch. To a fourth or fifth grade me, that was funny. Who eats those (obviously many do since most grocery stores carry them)? Even though the setting was a private Christian school, and our class was small, the chorus of teasing began in unison and went far beyond acceptable.

I wonder how she felt. Did she tell her parents or did she keep her pain so far hidden it has remained through the decades and wounds her every time it surfaces? If anyone would have asked my mother if I was a bully, I'm sure she would have said no. But that day? I was. 

Incidents such as these comprise why I think it's so important to have conversations with your children about bullying. Conversation can reveal if your child is bullying or if they are being bullied.

  • Does your child know what bullying is?

A bully's behavior hurts, humiliates, or harms another person physically or emotionally.
  • Make time each day (the supper table or riding in the car) where everyone shares one good thing and one hard thing that occurred in their day. 

  • Share national and local news about treating others with respect and kindness or neglecting to do so. Great conversation starter. 

  • Discuss how to get help when your child witnesses a bullying incident. 
Make sure your child knows it's acceptable to get help or tell a person in authority. Read Isaiah 1:17: Go to bat for the defenseless.

  • Establish an open social media rule. Check to make sure your child is using cyberspace relationships with respect and that others are respecting them.

  • Watch for symptoms that alert you that your child is being bullied. 

Anxiety, depression, sudden desire to stay home from school, falling grades
  • Explain how gossip can also be a form of bullying 

Gossip is true, partially true, or not true at all. Yet, it's still wrong if it's negative and unkind. It's usually personal and shocking.
  • Don't permit your children to call names, ridicule, taunt, intimidate, violate or tease excessively or physically hurt each other.

  • Memorize this verse together: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

  • Use Biblical examples of bullying.
  1. Goliath laughed and poked fun at David. 
  2. Joseph's brothers bullied him because of their jealousy. 
  3. Jesus was bullied by the religious leaders. 

Many define bullying as ongoing instead of 
a one-time action. I believe any unkind action, however often, is a form of bullying. It is our responsibility to educate our children on a daily basis. Before you say, "not my child" remember, the good girl can bully -- and carry the shame for life.

Free Printable/Choose Your Bully Topic: Child's Journal Sheet


Denise said...

I was bullied in school, because of my weight, left many heart scars. bless you for sharing, love you.

Terra said...

I like your approach to learning about bullying and stopping bullying by reading and applying Scripture.

HungryForGod (Andi) said...

when i was a kid, i was SO bullied - for the way i looked (too thin) - for the fact that i was disabled - they coulda used something like what you wrote years ago

Kandi said...

I was often bullied at school and because I grew a hard heart. I didn't care. Didn't care what people thought of me and if I hurt any one. I learned thought. I hope I am teaching my kids well enough. My son came home from school one day and told me he didn't like a new kid. I asked him why- he goes "well my friends say......" I stopped him in his tracks and I asked him what HE thinks. After talking we decided that he would be a friend to this new kid, and help him and give him a chance. Because I reminded my son that HE was that new kid just 2 years ago. Talking to your kids and being open to them I think makes a huge difference.

Sharon said...

I was bullied in 7th grade - teased unmercifully, shunned, belittled. It was awful, and the pain is still there. It took me a long time to realize that the Lord understood what I felt. For HE was a man of sorrows, and was bullied and rejected, too.

This was a wonderful post, and had such good stuff in it. It's sad that we have to talk about this subject, but if we don't, the consequences are even sadder.

Might the Lord forgive me for any *mean* that I ever did, and might He help us teach our children and grandchildren the necessity of being kind and gentle in a world that can be so very cruel.


Bishop said...

I was bullied when I was in school because I was quiet. That was great information. Thank you, for sharing!

Mary Collins said...

Good tips to help prevent bullying and to help those that are being bullied. It is such a heartbreaking problem.

Marissa D said...

Wonderful... We have had many conversations on bullying and continue to discuss the power of words and attitudes. It's something that needs to be on our parent radar daily even though we want to wish it away.


Ally King said...

Bullying is a hot topic in our home--we are very careful about the words we choose. Thanks for another thoughtful post!

Brandi Davis said...

Coming from an abused and bullied childhood, I am trying so hard to teach my girls that bullying is wrong. And I am often surprised by their responses to stories I share about kids being bullied.

Denise said...

I was bullied for various things in school, so you can bet your booty that, when I found out my daughter's best friend was mean to another close friend of my daughter and made my daughter so along with it, I was angry. I made them both apologize for their part in it.

The Foster Parenthood said...

Thank you for being vulnerable and honest about this truly important topic. May our daughters be the change in their generation.

Jonathan Key said...

I was bullied in school as well. Mainly because we moved around so much and I was typically the new kid. This is a good post and needs to be talked about!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

I can understand why you wouldn't want to write this, but I'm glad you did as I know you are going to help so many!

Jodi Spencer said...

Thank you for your honesty and for sharing! I hate hate hate bullying and don't understand why kids are so mean. It's one of my hot buttons with my kids -- anyone who spends any time around my family knows there's no faster way to get disciplined by me than to be unnecessarily ugly to another child, especially unprovoked.

Thank you!

Marie said...

Its really good to have open honest discussions on this!

Anonymous said...

I experienced bullying as a child by one senior in school and could never forget even when we all grew up. Bullying is terrible and i am glad your post deals with it across board. Thanks for this post.

Annesphamily said...

I heard my children talking about our oldest son's former girlfriend recently. Why he helped her get a job where he works, is beyond my comprehension! Once I caught her raising her hand to hit my son in Walmart! I stepped in between them but in my heart I wanted to punch her in the nose! She was such a brutal person and I am grateful that the hand of God literally stopped me in my tracks! She was a terribly abusive young woman and I often wonder if she changed since she married someone else and had a baby. But my kids, three of them, work with her, and she recently had gastric banding surgery. She is on oxygen and is a very young lady. I would like to ask for prayer for Nicole, regarding her health and if she is still a bully. I once was beaten up by a girl in my neighborhood. I think today if I saw her I would be afraid to walk on the same side of the street although I prayed about it and I did not say things about her mother as she was told! It bothered me for a long time that someone would be so cruel. Her mother was very ill and passed away while we were still young. I honestly never said a thing about her mother, I knew I would be in trouble at my own home with my parents.But I am imperfect too. I know I have gossiped and when I heard someone generalizing about "unwed mothers" and I had been one long ago with my first child, I remember that pain. But I should have prayed and instead I thought of all the mean things I could say to them, it was the doctor I worked for and his office manager. I struggle with words sometime saying things that are not very nice and I continue to pray about it. I am glad you opened up about this, it is good to let things out and bullying has become so wicked that people take their own lives. I do not understand the hatefulness today, but so many do not have a personal relationship with Our Lord. I think God allows us to falter because it reminds us He is ultimately the one who paid the price for our sins. Your words are always so kind and filled with with encouragement. Thank you for this Pamela. I did not mean to take up such a long space with my comment. God bless you for sharing this.

Sacha said...

I love the public talk about bullying. Because bullying is real and sometimes is not mention at home and our children could be the victim of bullying or be the bully.

Mirror Watching-GinaB said...

Thank you for this open conversation. I learned a few things today.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful approach to deal with bullying.