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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bullying controversy: Where are the parents?

This bullying story is really tragic.  Several people (minors and adults) have been charged with various crimes.  That's all well and good, but my question is where are the parents?

Not the parents of the bullies, but the parents of this girl that got bullied.  Whatever the media reports, there is no way that the bullying alone was what drove her to commit suicide.  It's a horrible thing that happened, but sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself why.  Why would bullying drive this teenage girl to end her own life?  What was going on in her own life when it happened?  Where in the hell were her parents?  There had to be mental issues prior to the bullying.

Which brings me to bullying in general.  I'm not sure that bullying has gotten worse in the last twenty years.  It's the reaction to the bullying that has changed.  Parents have taken the responsibility of protecting their children from themselves and put it on the school who in turn put it on law enforcement.  When I was a kid, short of getting physically abused, the school would not step in.  Why should they?  From 3rd grade all the way to high school there was a boy that bullied me constantly.  And he was MEAN.  Not physically, but verbally.  I would go home in tears and wonder what I ever did.  I've been prone to depression my entire life, but never did I think about committing suicide.  What I did was go home and talk to my mom.  Or rather I would go home and cry on her shoulder and she would do what a parent should do: she counseled me.  She talked to me and gave me tools to cope.  She gave me ideas on how to stay or get out of situations where this boy (who I hope is working the counter at McDonalds) would verbally attack me.

I'm now in a place where I'm the mom.  I've already had to give my nine year old advice on bullying.  Even if I don't give him the exact right advice, you better believe that I would know if he depressed way before he even (God forbid) contemplated suicide.  I want to know where Phoebe Prince's parents were during the whole thing.  You aren't bullied for months without your parents knowing.  If your parents know you're being bullied, they know how it's affecting you.  They would see changes in behavior.  Phoebe's suicide was avoidable.  If her parents had been more aware of their daughter or helped her cope and deal with the bullies, she might still be here today.  If the bullies' parents didn't have their heads up their asses, their kids wouldn't be such assholes. 

Step up parents.  Take responsibility.


Rowena said...

This is very true. I wondered where the parents were too. I mean, Brenna and I aren't the perfect mother/daughter combo but I know when she's not having a good day. I know when she's having a great day and I can gauge her moods. When I can tell that she's not having a good day/week, I'll ask her about it. We talk. I counsel her when I need to and listen when she needs to talk.

I thought that was what parents did.

Holly said...

I disagree with you that bullying alone could cause a child to commit suicide. I think kids can be extremely cruel and someone doesn't have to have prior mental issues to contemplate - or commit - suicide if they're being bullied.

I do agree with you 100% about the parents stepping up and taking responsibility. It frustrates me to no end when I see parents shrugging their children off, or saying things like, "Well, the school will handle it."

They need to step up and be parents.

Holly said...

sorry, I meant to say that bullying alone couldn't cause a person to commit suicide.

Casee said...

That's what is pissing me off. The responsibility keeps getting passed to someone else. If Will or Kelsey had a problem this big, I wouldn't be "calling" the school. My ass would be in the principal's office, at the Superintendent's office, etc.