Knowing my children could endure bullying is literally one of my biggest fears. Partly because I had to go through it when I was at school and I don’t want them to have to experience anything like that in their life. EVER. But also because I know the detrimental effects it can have on not only their childhood but in their adult life too.
Elliott started secondary school in September and I’ve just completed Joseph’s application for him to start the following September so my fears seems to be ten fold at the moment. That and the fact it’s Anti Bullying Week. The news seems to be awash with more and more devastating reports of young children feeling like there is no way out and taking their own lives. These children all have supportive families but just don’t seem to escape the torment. It honestly breaks my heart.
I’m not naive enough to believe that everybody will get along all the time, but I think it’s important, paramount even, that all children should know the consequences of their actions and be punished accordingly. Bullying should not be accepted as ‘part of growing up’ It is a serious problem that needs to stop.
We all know bullying takes many forms be it verbal abuse, physical violence, online abuse and more besides. I think online bullying scares me the most as the bullies can’t see the reaction of their victim and see how it is affecting them. Back in the day, nobody had mobile phones and very few people had the internet so if you did get into an argument with a peer during school time you could go home and seek relief in the comfort of your own environment. Today it’s different; when you get home the problem comes with you. Bullies can send messages via social media accounts, humiliating you and encouraging others to join in too. It’s just plain cruel.
Elliott has a mobile phone, and Joseph is ever hopeful Father Christmas will bring him one. I’m in a complete catch 22 about them having one. On one hand I want to be able to contact them if they are out and about so I know they are safe, but on the other hand I just can’t bear to think of them being more vulnerable to bullying. So far they have only been allowed to sign up to one social media site which I have the log in for so I can randomly check everything is above board. We’ve chatted about e-safety and they are aware they are not allowed to talk to strangers. I have also made it absolutely clear to them to be aware of what they are posting and commenting on as things are not as easily erased or forgotten.
I have raised both of them to be kind, caring boys and this is as much a priority to me as teaching them to read and write. The thing that would destroy me more than hearing they are being bullied is learning they have been involved in being cruel to somebody else. I have shared as much of my own experiences with them as possible so they are fully aware of the effects it can have. Ultimately I have to trust them to make the right decisions. I dread to think when Anabelle starts Secondary school how bullying will evolve, but am ever hopeful this dreadful behaviour will stop.
With a wonderful community of mothers such as yourselves, raising kind generous little souls I am sure it will.
Has your child been a victim of bullying? Do you worry about the cruelness of our ever-evolving world? Have you been affected yourself? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below…
Image by Little Beanies