As I was flipping through Facebook today, I came across something that really broke my heart. I don't know if you've seen or heard about it, but a girl named Amanda Todd recently committed suicide due to bullying/harassment, and unfortunately this seems to be an increasing trend. Since it's anti bullying month, I felt like I should reflect on this a little on here.
First, it sent me back to my teenage days, and how cruel kids really can be. Overall, I was lucky enough to have friends who loved me, and I also have thick skin. I knew it would get better, and it did. However, I could not even imagine what it would be like to be bullied in this day and age. I'm not a dinosaur yet, but technology has come a long way since I was a teenager.
When I was a kid, you got picked on at school, and went home to a safe haven. You had a land line phone that the whole family shared, and if someone was crazy enough to call your house and be mean, my daddy would have taken over from there... he didn't even like my actual friends so I can only imagine how he would have responded to people who weren't!
Now there is Facebook, and Twitter, and texting, and email, and I'm sure even more places that only kids are aware of, and you can't turn them off. This girl made a mistake, and then that mistake took over her life. Thanks to the ease of the internet, this girl lost herself... her childhood, her integrity, her self respect, and eventually, her life.
My last post was about making moments, and enjoying your kids, and to be completely honest, I am scared to death of them growing up!!! Not just because they are my babies, and they grow up so fast, but because I want to protect them from this cruel world for as long as possible! I am scared to death of the middle/high school years. I can handle the attitude they will get, the fact that I will never be right, the independence. All that I'm ready for, but not being able to do anything about what other kids say and do freaks me out a little bit... a lot actually.
We had a little situation on our little block this summer. JJ is one of the youngest kids on the block, and some of the older kids were being kind of mean to him. He is young enough that we could intervene, and all is good. One of the moms didn't think it was a big deal that her son...who is twice as old as JJ... was bullying JJ until Fat Dad threatened to go get one of JJ's older cousins to help him defend himself. Then the mom came out and got all upset that we were threatening her child and called the cops.
I told the cops that her son had been bullying our son all summer, and my boyfriend was more than a little fed up. They said we should get them involved and not take things into our own hands in the future. She had told the cops that she knew they were fighting but kids will be kids. I love how it wasn't a problem until her son wouldn't have been the biggest kid involved.! I told the cops that if the mother had bothered to come out and talk to her son about bullying my son before we had to even think of getting someone to be his body guard it wouldn't have gotten this far.
Needless to say, they agreed, went back and talked to the little boy, and all is good in the neighborhood again. This is the stuff I can handle. It was easy for me to get involved... it was happening in my front yard. I could do something to stop it from happening again. I can't stop the internet!!!
I am not one to judge another's parenting, but I do wonder where her parents were in all of this. She tried to kill herself a couple of times. After the first attempt, I would have cut her off from the outside world for a little while. Whether it was something so simple as a new phone number to something more drastic like no more Facebook, no more internet, or even home schooling. I don't know all of the details, but I do feel like there had to be a better solution to this poor girls problems, and it's a shame that someone couldn't do more to help her.
As for now, I'm just going to continue to build my kids houses as strong as I can, and work on building an open relationship with them so if...God forbid... anything like this happens to them, we can work on a solution together. At the end of the video she said I have nobody, I need someone. I know when you are that age, your parents are not really considered someone, but I hope that if taking their life were in the equation, I would equal someone to them.
Further more, if my kids think that they will be allowed to have any kind of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, even Disney Jr. account without me being one of their friends... and stalking them, and their activity on said account, they are sadly mistaken!!! Internet, you might be large, and in charge, but you should be warned that this mother will not go down with out a fight : ) I swore to protect these little people to the best of my abilities, and nothing tests a mothers ability quite like an injustice done to one of her children!
On a karma is a bitch note, I will end with a story of karma biting my bullying self right in the behind. Our class was never physically abusive, but we were not always kind with our words... something I still struggle with sometimes. Anyways, there was a kid, we'll call him Mr. Hicks, in the class below us who we all used to pick on. I cannot remember a time when I personally picked, but I do remember being around my guy friends while they picked and not doing anything to stop them... which is just as bad in my opinion.
Anyways, fast forward 5 years, and who does my cousin bring home for Christmas... you guessed it, Mr. Hicks!!! She eventually married that boy my classmates used to tease so badly, and you know what, he's a really nice guy! Had I taken the time to get to know him in high school, I would have seen that back then. Karma, you've just got to love it : )