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Moms Talk: Parenting and The Bully

A new movie takes a look at the serious subject of bullying. Parents, have your kids ever been the victims of bullying? Or have you ever been shocked to find your child was the class bully?

Last weekend, the movie Bully opened in select theaters around the country, and already the film is generating conversation, buzz and controversy among communities. 

First rated R for its language and then toned down to PG-13, the movie follows five different kids throughout a school year as they endure different aspects of bullying and share their stories. Two families struggle to come to terms with a child’s suicide, the fallout of repeated bullying. Another mother wrestles with her 14-year-old daughter’s incarceration after the girl brought a gun on a school bus. The movie provides a realistic glimpse into classrooms, cafeterias, playgrounds and the offices of school administration and brings to the table this very pressing and timely subject.

Statistics show that 18 million kids around the country are bullied each year. Though kids have no doubt been bullied since the beginning of time, the issue seems more prevalent these days.

Celebrities like Ellen Degeneres frequently discuss it and talk about being kind to our peers, while other big name figures engage in anti-bullying campaigns to put a stop to these senseless acts. Bullying, we’ve learned, isn’t just the “kid beating up another kid on the playground” scenario, but can also come in the form of verbal abuse, such as a child being perpetually taunted every day in class.

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Then there’s also the issue of Cyberbullying, which has gained just as much attention with kids cruelly crushing their peers on Facebook and other social media sites. Many bullying victims hide their scars from their parents until, as in the case of several tragedies, it’s too late. And a few parents, like the mother in the movie, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum, wondering how they could have been so blind to their child’s bullying behavior.

One thing is for sure: bullying is no joke, and I’m glad movies like Bully are addressing it so candidly.

Growing up, my mother always said to me, “A bully is someone who doesn’t feel good about himself so he makes other people feel bad.” I remembered this through the years, even as I entered into junior high and was taunted in the halls for being too short. But the words stung and stuck with me into adulthood, and though I never took a beating physically, the hurt remained just the same.

As a mother myself now, I stick with my motto that “Hurt people hurt.” Bullies are hurt kids crying out for attention, but in the wake of their actions, they hurt others as well. Some of those kids go on to hurt their peers, continuing the vicious cycle, while others, like those in the movie, tragically look for a way out by ending their lives.

So while anti-bullying campaigns and movies like Bully are a good start, I still believe we have to get to the root of the issue: Why do kids hurt other kids? Are they hurting at home? Are they lonely? Are they angry? Are they struggling in school? There’s usually more going on beyond those hardened eyes, slumped shoulders and ugly glares.

Moms, have your kids ever been a victim of bullying? What did you do, how did you handle it?

On the other end, have you ever discovered your child was the bully? Were you able to remedy the situation?

And went it comes to this subject, do you think schools are doing enough to address it? Will you go see the movie Bully and discuss it with your kids?

judithwelltree April 09, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Hurting kids hurt others, so true! The damage is incalculable and, terrible as it is to the victims, the damage to others around also has huge impact. We have to get to the root of the problem with approprate support & education in the fullest sense of the word, for families to minimise the hurt done to kids. Far more sensitive informed action & support is needed for victims to emower them. We also need much greater awareness on the part of parents & teachers as to the damage done to onlookers. Your's is a really important article, thank you!
Bob Veres April 10, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Here's hoping I'm the only one my daughter bullied!
Martin Henderson April 11, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Where do you think kids learn bullying from? Is it instinctive, part of the DNA to survive, or is it something they somehow learn from watching parents?
MFriedrich April 12, 2012 at 03:19 PM
This issue is as old as dirt. It's surprising to me that whenever Hollywood has a movie out, parents across the country suddenly have an "OMFG did you know about bullying?" epiphany which lasts about 20 minutes. Look, there's a price to pay for schools who demonstrate ignorance and complacency about student bullying. That price can often be named out loud in a court of law with a dollar sign attached to it. For similar reasons, parents of children who bully better get with the program because all indications within our litigious society are pointing to more lawsuits against bullies and their parents, and reams of expensive defense attorneys bills to follow. Yeah, better have your little sit down conference with Buffy and Skippy in 4...3...2....1....
JuliannaSmith April 15, 2012 at 06:45 PM
If these kids were hurting another kids maybe they only need an extra attention from their parents. That's why I personally take care of my children, because I want them to feel that even I'm busy with my work I still have time for them. And aside of that, I also provided them an extra protection so that I will be at ease when they are not with me nor away from me. I would like to share this application I am using to protect them and that is the Panic Button from SafeKidZone that works on mobile phones. Their application has lots of cool features like the safety network which compose of family members, trusted friends and neighbors. And this safety network will be alerted when the child or the subscriber presses the Panic Button when emergency situation occurs. SafeKid Zone has 24/7 Response Call Center and they can instantly route the emergency to the nearest 911 responder. SafeKidZone is connected to all responders like Police, Fire and ambulance/Medical team. This application is not just for kids or children but this also for the entire family .For further knowledge about this application, their website can be visited at: http://safekidzone.com/ and also http://safetrec.com/

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