A little girl died. Twelve years young. I don’t know her. I don’t even know her family, yet my heart is crushed, overwhelmed with sadness for her. It is all I have been thinking about, since I learned of it last night. Maybe because I’m a mom, maybe because I have a step-son that just turned 12, maybe because I’m freaking human?!
She didn’t die because she was sick. She didn’t die because of an accident. She was bullied, and she chose to die. I can’t bear the thought of, “What if that was my kid?”. Hell … What if that was YOUR kid?
“It won’t happen to my kid!” … “Bully?! My kid?! NEVER!” … “I know my child, and he/she is fine.”
ARE THEY?! Do you KNOW if your child is okay? Better yet, do you know if your child is the bully? Have you checked through your child’s phone, tablet, etc., to SEE what they are getting in to? Do you regularly have conversations with your children about how THEIR day was? Do you have conversations about the “kid” that doesn’t have any friends?
“We’ve set our parental controls, they can’t get to that “stuff”.” … REALLY?! … They can’t?! Did you remember to set the parental controls at every single one of their friends’ homes, too?!
I remember when my, now almost 16 year old, daughter acquired her very first Instagram account. I was like a fly on shit checking in after her, setting controls, CONTROLLING who she followed, and who was allowed to follow her back. PHEW!! That’s a lot of work!! That’s a whole other job, within itself. These days, parents don’t have time to check, recheck, check again … Oh, and add on a sibling or two, or Lord help you … more, yes I fall into this category, as well, lol, who also have phones, tablets, etc., it’s exhausting to try and keep up. I also remember the ridicule I received from family members/friends regarding my daughter’s account, and how many followers she had, etc.
As the years have passed, I see family and friends children now on Instagram, at a younger age, than my daughter was. Which, I can go on for hours about that topic, however, my point is this: it’s easy to point fingers, when you haven’t “been there and done that”. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there AND done that! You can monitor everything you like, but it all comes down to one thing… Yup, you guessed it … PARENTING!! Now, I am NOT saying to never check their stuff, but the sneak attack is always the best approach, and Ohhhh SOOO much better <insert evil laugh>. If they suspect it’s coming, they will hide and/or delete all the shit they don’t want you to see. TRUST ME!
“Your child has a phone? Aren’t they in 2nd or 3rd grade? … Ohhhhh, you’re going to CLOSELY monitor them. Cool. Now THAT makes sense.”
NO IT DOESN’T!! Children don’t have filters. They say what they want, when they want. Until a young person has the ability to THINK about what they are going to say, they shouldn’t have any type of time, on any type of social ANYTHING! The end! You cannot erase words that are typed and sent. Plain and simple.
Let’s not forget the kids without phones, tablets, etc.. I know these days it’s all about “keeping up with the Jones”, I get it. However, there are little people in Pre-School, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. These little people, hopefully, don’t have access to freely be on any type of device without the proper supervision. It’s during these years that parents and teachers are going above and beyond to raise Bully Awareness. It stops at a certain grade level for whatever reason. Maybe they feel the first 6 years or so of Bully Awareness, in public school, is enough? Well it’s not.
As the mother of two high school age children, one middle school, and one elementary, I’m here to tell you that it stops. I feel fortunate to live where I live. Our school systems really do go above and beyond to raise awareness for Bullying, along with our community.
As a matter of fact, I remember when a good friend of our family, Tommy Peterson, started this “little” Organization, along with the kicker from the Denver Broncos, Brandon McManus, 2016 Super Bowl Champ (Not to throw any names around or anything) called The Anti-Bully Squad. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not so little.
The Anti-Bully Squad (aka: ABS) has over 40,000 SQUAD MEMBERS from the United States, plus FOUR other countries! They give assemblies in NJ, PA, NY, CO & UT. Lee Rouson, a 2-time Super Bowl Champ with the NY Giants, wink wink, is their Vice President. They team up with the NY Jets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, The NJ Devils, and the Sussex County Minor’s, for Bully Awareness. They are ahhhhh-mazing, and I’m proud to call Tommy, my friend. For more information on ABS, please check them out on their website, at: antibullysquad.org . They are always there, ready for new Squad Members!! It will truly benefit you to check them out!!
In closing, I’d like to leave you all with this ..
Kindness: noun. The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
The word KIND, always comes to mind, in these situations. BE KIND! It’s not that hard. It’s so stinking simple. Our children emulate us. They follow OUR footsteps, from the moment they are aware. When YOU are kind, THEY are kind. Communicate … Always talk to your kids. Be involved. Be Gentle. Be Aware. Be Considerate. Be Friendly. Be Generous. Be Tender. Be Gracious. Be anything … but MEAN. Please, just be kind.