I had an interesting talk with one of my sons and his best friend a couple of days ago. My sons friend said, "Mr. Christensen, Tom (name changed) is being mean to me and is calling me mean names. Tom is a year older than these boys. He called my sons' friend gay, weak, a pansy, and stupid. That this young boy needed counselling for his flaws. I instructed both boys to not associate with Tom, to do activities where Tom is not. Tom is angry and a bully and needs to be ignored. I also asked the boy to talk to his dad and see what he would suggest.
All these boys live in the same neighborhood. I do not live in this neighborhood anymore. I asked Rachel to talk to the needed interested parties to rectify the bullying problem. I will make sure that this loop get closed and complete. Kids today need as must love and support as possible. Bullying behavior needs to stop. These boys came to me, we had a good conversation about it. They trust us adults to help. I am gratified that we are giving this opportunity to help.
I remember when I was experiencing some of the similar name calling and bullying....I did not know who to turn to. Most adults were distant, not as caring, and had a "just deal with it" attitude. It seemed that there would be no recourse for the bullies back then. That is why it is SO important to abhor behavior like this and correct it immediately. These type of negative interactions can have lasting influence on an individual. It needs to stop.
This next part is to show the differences in generational attitudes.....this is NOT to disparage the people involved.
I remember when I was at the point in my life 18 months ago....fragile, unsure, exhausted, shamed, unstable, and frightful. I was speaking with my parents about all the things that have gone on in my life, being brutally honest. The response I got from my father was, "We all get hurt and have been abused in our lives....you just learn to deal with it and get over it." I know that this was not meant as hurtful or uncaring.....this is merely the method that my father had used to adapt to his situations. I, on the other hand, will not keep quiet, will express my continually, and address each issue as needed.
I believe that because of the "deal with it" attitude that has been prevalent in society for decades has fostered the secretiveness of abuse, bullying, and hateful acts against individuals in less fortunate circumstances. That is why we see in the news people coming forward against these type of acts. Bullying and hate crimes take center stage because they are unacceptable acts. People feel that they have a voice (or are getting one) and there won't be as much retaliation as before. Generation Y is standing up for injustices that have been ignored. My parents generation (generally) have not addressed these "under-ground" activities.
Back to my son and his friend.......the boys were asking for help and we as adults MUST help them. This will ensure that they trust us and the "system" and will continue to reach out for help in future instances. I am so grateful to be here for them and hope that they will continue to trust. Wake up parents....listen and react in healthy ways to foster a safe place for all.