So young… A problem in his mind that couldn’t be solved…. He hung himself!
I could tell in the urgency of my granddaughter’s voice, that the story she was telling me was troubling for her to even explain. A child at her school, pushed to the point of unreason trough bullying, ended his own life days ago. Please, take a moment and pray for that family, as I’m sure they are facing unimaginable pain and grief.
I would like to write several blog postings regarding the topic of cyber bullying, but for now, I’ll keep the focus specific to one thing that all of us can do right now in offering some relief and guidance for those in their own family who are bullied…. An Immediate Answer to Their Suffering…”Talking”!
Each of us live in the logic and understanding of our own mind. We are influenced, bombarded on occasion, with information that challenges who we are, our self-worth, and our importance to those around us. We all have weaknesses, and embarrassing pieces of our life…insecurities. Digging deeper, we ALL have a very fragile component that contributes in defining who we are… This fragile piece of us, when exposed or exploited, can lead to disastrous consequences.
Through the course of our lifetime, we learn how to deal with these insecurities. Many learn to overcome such things. But, to a young child experiencing the shattering effects of bullying, often it is too much for them to successfully process. Left severely hurting, day after day, their self-relied solution can result in tragedies.
Managing bullying, a topic for another day, feels helpless at times. But today, I would like to introduce a simple concept that when implemented can make a notable difference you a child’s life.
We have to assume that all children experience varying levels of bullying in their young years. That statement in itself is something that your child should know. Not presented to them in a way that it makes their challenge feel insignificant, but rather, to open up a discussion on a topic which many kids find hard to share with others. Being bullied, and not talking about is the red flag that I would like to raise here.
I teach a youth group each week. Today, I approached them asking for their insight as to how this tragedy could have been possible. My response to the answer of the first question I asked was …CHILLING!! The question, “If you were being bullied, to the point of considering taking your own life, how many of you would go to your parents to talk?” ……….NO hands were raised! Wait, What?? Did they understand the question? These are all great kids, from awesome families, yet 100% of them did not see this as a solution to their grief. “We’ll then, what would you do?” I asked. The answer was somewhat unanimous, “I would talk to my friend”.
The good new to this finding was that they all knew that they needed to talk it out. When life gets too hard, they know that talking is a solution. I invite you to place this on the very top of the list in dealing with anyone who is troubled.. Give that person the chance to talk it out… To get it all out, shared with someone, and not allowed to be kept only in their own mind.
Are you curious to hear more insight from my class responses? Here they are.. “Why would you first go to your friends and not your patents”? Answers, “I just need someone to listen, and not go all crazy.” “I would go to my friends, because I can trust them.”
Ok, parents, are you listening? If you are, I would assume that you are just as surprised as I am with these answers.
Parents, in your defense, when placed in the role of parent, we are constantly solving problems… providing direction… and offering ideas for our child to implement. We have earned that title of problem solver, simply because that’s what parents do. But when it comes to this topic, our children are not looking for their problem solver; they are looking for someone to… just…simply…listen!
Let’s not argue these findings. Let us use this information in coming up with something that works, (there I go, being a parent).
This week, it’s time to talk with your kids. Could I suggest the following dialog?
“I’ve just heard something in the news that I would like to talk to you about. A boy in 8th grade had been bullied. It hurt this child. It hurt him so much, that he decided there wasn’t anything else he could do, but end his own life. Bullying is real isn’t it? Do you know that most everyone will experience some type of bullying in their lifetime? Do you know of people in your school who are bullied? Has something like this ever happened to you? (From the finding above, don’t be surprised if their answer is not honest. However, if they do offer to share something with you… go directly into listening mode. Do not feel that you need to provide a solution… remember… letting them talk IS the solution?) Ask open questions like “Tell me how that makes you feel when people say mean things.” Let them talk until they are done. Thank them for sharing something so difficult in their life with you.
If their response to you is that they are not bullied, this is a great chance to share the “Talking” solution with them. To tell them that, if they ever have a friend who is having a big problem, they might come to you and want to talk about it… In fact, did you know that the best thing that someone can do when they face something really hard is to talk about it with someone else?
Teaching our kids this concept…. When your life is hard, it’s time to find someone that you trust and talk to them. This simple fact in itself can be the difference in saving a child’s life.