I rarely watch the news, but for whatever reason, I tuned in tonight. Perhaps it was because it was talking about a 12 year old girl who committed suicide after she was being bullied at school.
Images of this young, vibrant girl popped up on the screen while her friends spoke in the background of their memories of her, and the recent situations she was experiencing at school.
It was disheartening, tragic and sobering. This is the reality for our kids today. But hasn’t bullying been around forever? I can recall being teased in elementary school, confronted in the school yard… I think many of us can. But what is tragic is the amount of kids today who feel like suicide is their only answer. So I started asking myself why.
One of the moms on the news program questioned whether the girls parents knew what was going on; had they had conversations with their child about what was going on at school? Which raises a great question. Are we effectively communicating with our kids? She also went on to question if the parents were monitoring their daughters internet/social media use as a majority of the bullying was taking place online? That brings up another great question (debate). Is there a line (and if so, where) when it comes to monitoring your child on internet/social media? Do you spy on them? Ask for their passwords? Forbid them to use it? (Which I know many parents who have tried, but in my opinion, I think we are way beyond that being an option).
I’m not sure what the answers are or if there is even a one-size-fits-all solution. But what I do know is that the next time my son or daughter comes homes upset about something that has happened with friends, I’m going to pay extra attention. I’m going to make sure that they know I have their back. That I’m on their side and that no matter what, I’m there! That they are loved and valued and supported. Because at the end of the day, isn’t it our job as parents to create that primary space of security and belonging? Isn’t it our job to make sure that we send our kids out into the world with a full bucket of love and self esteem, so that no matter what the world throws at them, that they have enough supply to endure?