Friday, October 19, 2012

Don't Be a Bully!

October is Bully Awareness Month. Didja know? My kids had a "wear orange" day last week in support of bullying awareness. And my friend, Kate Rothwell, wrote a wonderful blog post about the effects of bullying today (several other authors are also participating in blogging about bullying today - I wickedly borrowed the idea for my own blog today...)

I have a son, my oldest, who has Asperger's. He's a wonderful young man, but with some autistic "quirks" - and yes, he has been the target of bullies. When he was younger, it would get him wound up, and a couple times, his middle school counselor called me - I've talked him down over the phone and there was one occasion, I had to go to the school to talk him down. "Talk him down" = code for avert a meltdown.

It's not okay to be a bully.

It disturbs me, the story about a Presidential candidate who shall remain unnamed, the stories about him, in concert with others, forcibly held down a kid who was perceived as different, and cut/shaved his hair. That makes everyone involved, except for the victim - obviously - a bully. It disturbs me because I am the mother of a child who is often perceived as "different," a kid who very likely has to deal with on a daily basis - bullying of one form or another. He doesn't always tell me about the minor things, I hear about the major things. He's also very sensitive to his brothers being bullied.

It's not okay to be a bully.

These days, it's just not playground/school bullying that we need to be aware of - we've added the Internet to the mix, and bullying isn't just about shoving a kid to the ground on a daily basis. We have gay and lesbian youth who are bullied for their preferences, "special" kids (like my son) who are bullied for being different, cyber-bullying. As parents and educators, it's up to us to remain vigilnt and aware - to teach our kids to not be bullies and how to stand up for themselves against bullies, if necessary.

It's not okay to be a bully.

It doesn't just happen to children or teens. Young adults, even older adults aren't immune to bullying. As adults, we have the benefit of experience and I dare say we're pretty good at being able to tell when we're being bullied, and hopefully somewhat better equipped to deal with bullying. No matter where we are in life, no matter what our circumstances, we don't have to tolerate bullies.

It's not okay to be a bully. This here is a no bullying zone.

Internet resources: NCTSN: Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, National Awareness Days, Stomp Out Bullying, Anti-Bullying Images

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