In this week’s youtube video, Elizabeth asks how she can explain to a child when it is appropriate to confront a bully – particularly when schools have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of fighting.
Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura
Massachusetts’ new state law requires schools to institute an anti-bullying curriculum, investigate acts of bullying, and report the most serious cases to law enforcement officers. The new law, passed in April, was in response to the suicide of a 15 year old girl who was bullied by a group of South Hadley, Massachusetts students.
We all remember bullying situations from our school years, but those were up close and personal, as opposed to being on the Internet, where public humiliation is the game, and anonymity is the cloak of protection for this disgusting behavior. Cruelty gets protected by abusing the spirit of the First Amendment, as parents and the ACLU fight to protect the evildoers.
In a 1995 Canadian study, researchers used video cameras in a school playground and observed almost five bullying incident an hour! Typically, other children stood by and watched, but did or said nothing to help.
Some psychologist-types are busy making up the expensive curriculum to sell to schools for programs to stop bullying. I guess there’s always someone around who just wants to make a buck.
My take is that schools are afraid to discipline bullying children, because parents (who are negligent in their responsibilities to their children and society) will SUE instead of smacking their kid on the tush and putting him or her to bed without supper and grounding them until they’re ready for social security.
In my day, if you misbehaved at school, you were sent to the dreaded Vice Principal’s office. Punishment would include a severe talking to, extra assignments, time after school, and/or a refusal to allow you to participate in school activities. And guess what? No parent ever complained about protecting their “baby.” The kids would expect to get even more punishment at home.
Today? Parents are not married…divorced…remarried…fighting with exes…shacking up with new honeys…involved in dual-career marriages…focused on porn, drugs, the Internet, shopping…whatever.
Intact families with two parents whose emphasis is family and children are getting more and more rare. Kids see the constant squabbling on TV news, between their parents, in the neighborhood, on radio, on the Internet, where meanness reigns (does anyone post kind things any more?), and on and on.
Where, exactly, are children supposed to learn to be nice?
They don’t see nice at home, in the media, or in the world at large.
Where, then, are children supposed to learn to be nice?
Policing is the last resort in a society where there is no framework for teaching and reinforcing decent behavior. Activist groups by nature are angry and divisive, and that trickles down to neighborhoods and schoolyards as children, fighting for attention and importance (because they’re not getting it at home), group up and torment other children without remorse and without fear of consequences.
Our children have become arrogant because they are largely on their own without parental leadership, guidance, and attention.
The adults have abandoned their responsibilities to the next generations because of their determination to sacrifice nothing and fulfill every desire in spite of their obligations.
I hear this every day on my radio program, and it makes me sad.
The epitome of bullying is the homegrown American terrorist group…which is growing.
Our country, just like our homes, is fragmented by anger. The price is our children are modeling the book “Lord of the Flies.”TrackBack URI
On Monday, I wrote about the event in Massachusetts that you’ve all heard about by now. Several South Hadley, Massachusetts high school students are being tried on felony charges for the harassment of a high school freshman which led to her suicide. It was worse than harassment – it was persecution, both physical and mental, and in the full view of other students and teachers. No one did anything to stop them, not even fellow students. Disgusting, really.
What I want you parents to do is to teach your children to stand between evil and the innocent, even if they risk being ostracized or worse. It is only when people stop just standing by that evil will be squelched.
My son came home from middle school one day to say he was in trouble because he was in a fight. I asked what happened. He told me that some kid was picking on another kid and it got physical. I asked him what happened then? He said that he got into it with the bully. I asked him who won. He looked down at his shoes and muttered “I did.”
I gave him high fives, made his favorite dinner, and sent my husband in to the school the next day to make it clear to the principal that we expected the bully (and not our son) to be punished. I sent my husband, because he is more laid back than I (if you get my drift).
We can have a million court cases and school suspensions. But it is only when parents teach their children to intervene that these bullies will be brought to their knees. They count on the cowardice of your children for their freedom to torment. Tell your children to band together if necessary and do the right thing.TrackBack URI
There is a precedent-setting action being taken by the District Attorney in South Hadley, Massachusetts. A high school freshman, Phoebe Prince, new in town from Ireland, was harassed by a pack of older teens. This was school bullying taken to the extreme: she was subject to threats and physical abuse, and unfortunately, this young girl hanged herself when she could no longer tolerate the terror.
Criminal charges ranging from statutory rape to stalking and civil rights violations have been filed against the teenagers (two boys and four girls).
Unfortunately, the criminal charges stop there. I would add that teachers, the principal and the administration should be subject to criminal charges as well or a civil lawsuit, because the bullying was common knowledge for months, and the girl’s mother twice complained to school staffers. Some bullying was even witnessed by teachers. It’s time to rise up and counter this vicious free-for-all going on in our schools.
Where do the kids get the gall to do this? From everything around them!
Watch “reality” television. It’s all about being mean and out of control. Even American Idol has so-called “judges” who insult people on national television. Watch music videos and listen to mean/hostile lyrics with out-of-control sexually aggressive scenes. What happened to the heartsick love songs of the 1950s?
Watch television or listen to most radio with people shouting angrily at each other, accusing each other of racism and such simply for having a different opinion or point of view. Dominating people by humiliation is what we do for entertainment in our society. “Lord of the Flies”-type behavior from our children should not be a surprise. What is a surprise is that adults and parents stand by, afraid of their own children and handcuffed by political correctness, where vile behavior now becomes protected speech.
That whole town of South Hadley, Massachusetts should be ashamed. Phoebe’s parents should have taken her out of that school the same way I tell parents in step-families to leave with their children when the spouse or the spouse’s children become abusive. The school should have thrown those brats out on their ears, worrying later about whether or not their parents would sue.
If you’re thinking “Well, no one could know that she would kill herself,” you should know that according to one source, “one of the girls posted on Phoebe’s Facebook page right after her suicide: ‘Accomplished.’”
They tormented her to death on purpose.
This is our next generation?TrackBack URI
Little kids sometimes get picked on because they’re small and vulnerable. But a mother wrote me that her 6 foot tall son was being bullied in high school and she was having a hard time figuring out what to do:
Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.
Read transcript here.TrackBack URI
In a recent radio interview, I discussed the issue of “webtribution,” a term coined by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal to describe people who use the Internet to get revenge – i.e., publicly to hurt another human being with whom they are not happy.
The Internet is anonymous, immediate, and gratifying in the moment. In human history, vengeance is not unfamiliar – people haven’t changed that much. Their means of delivering pain has evolved from poison, duels, clever rumors, and Machiavellian manipulation to the world wide web. In some ways, damaging someone’s reputation is akin to murdering them, as their reputation is devastated world-wide and forever, making it difficult for them to function in private relationships as well as in the community and at work.
To quote The Wall Street Journal: “Most of us have heard of someone posting naked photos of an ‘ex’ online. Or writing nasty reviews for a restaurant or book, not because they dislike the product, but because they dislike the person who created it. Or signing up an acquaintance for [unwanted] e-mail advertising lists.”
My opinion is that it should be illegal, as it is immoral, to post information or opinion about people without identifying yourself. Obviously, it is also cowardly. Google and all other such carriers should not permit anonymity. That would immediately change the complexion of what is posted, and I don’t think they’d lose business, except from those who use the Internet for evil (terrorists of the international and interpersonal kind).TrackBack URI
Moms always look to protect their children (as they should). But one Mom who wrote to me wanted to take preventive action, so her son would know what to do in case he was teased at school. The problem? It didn’t work. Watch what I have to say about ‘tease-proofing’ your child:
Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.
Read transcript here.TrackBack URI
I’m a female and a Jew. I personally know something about bias, bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination. There is no doubt in my mind that I have experienced some (shall we say) “bad luck” in my life because I fall into these two categories, but there is probably not a person on the face of the earth who doesn’t have a similar (and probably worse) story to tell with respect to the natural tendency of people to band together based on commonality, from ethnicity to gender to nationalism. Nonetheless, we have a black President with a Jewish chief-of-staff, and a female Secretary of State.
I’m seriously tired of people pulling the race or gender card to explain away their bad behavior. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own actions. This brings me to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open. Serena was losing badly in the semi-finals to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters, and Clijsters had just beaten Serena’s sister, Venus. The match was at the point where Clijsters was but one point from victory, and it was Serena’s serve. She faulted on her first serve. Instead of just going back to the baseline to serve again, she menacingly walked toward the judge, shouting and cursing her, pointing the ball and then the racket at her, as though she were going to strike the woman. Allegedly, she said,“If I could, I would take this [expletive deleted] ball and shove it down your [expletive deleted] throat.”
The line judge went over to the chair umpire and tournament referee as the crowd was booing. According to news reports, Serena said,“Sorry, but there’re a lot of people who’ve said worse. I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious? I didn’t say that.” But the line judge said she did say that, and that with the crowd noise, it was difficult for others to hear the specifics.
I saw that video, and having someone with that venomous rage coming at me, screaming and cursing, shaking a racket in my face (especially since Serena had already smashed a racket earlier in the game when she committed an unforced error) would have scared me too.
Serena was only penalized a point, which, by destiny of timing, turned out to be the match point. Clijsters would have won anyway – she was playing an amazing game, and she did go on to win the U.S. Open.
So, here’s a young woman, used to success, who couldn’t handle being humbled, and she robbed Clijsters of the good feeling of trumping a tennis goddess. This is obviously bad behavior – very bad. The bad boys of tennis games past were also known to behave badly, but, according to news sources, they never threatened the life or well-being of a judge. This was scary and horrendous behavior.
The first reaction of some was to scream “racism!” Oh puleeze. Was anyone saying she behaved badly because she was black? NO. Was anyone saying she was penalized for her behavior because she was black? YES, and that is downright annoying and dumb.
Online, someone posted a comment after the news item, which I think is “right on.” Here’s an excerpt:
There are reasons for rules in competitive sports or banking or finance or education or society. The reasons [for the rules] always have to do with participants being unwilling or unable to manage or discipline their emotions when under duress of any kind. This duress…almost always manifests poorly, but often successfully. Serena…lost her composure in the early stages of this match, played poorly, got behind, and faced almost certain defeat. The foot fault (which many say was correct, many say “iffy,” and some say false) was critical, but not pivotal for Serena. She could have played through it. She had the serve.
But she had first-serve faulted many times, and had lost every second serve point to her opponent. So, she gave in to panic, which led her to say some astoundingly aggressive things to the line judge, who, to her credit, stayed calm, objective, and within the rules. The referee made the proper call, and Serena lost, and then lost again by backpedaling after the match, with cover-up comments and lame excuses.
But this is an era when elites in all walks of life take the liberty of exposing their true selves without much consequence. It’s called “privilege,” and it is, in my mind, the downfall of the American personality, and with it, the downfall of the nation – a little microcosm on a big stage. Pride comes before a fall.
Truth is, she knew she had lost this match, even if that one linesman’s call was bad. Instead of letting her opponent savor the victory point, she surrendered early. Clijster swamped her and her sister, and Williams acted like a classless brat. And classless brats come in all colors, genders and religions. Point…game…match.TrackBack URI