Not My Child
For the past week, the news coverage has been about the massacre at Virginia Tech. I hate to admit it, but I feel almost numb towards the situation. It's not that I don't feel sorrow and sympathy towards the people who were directly affected by this tragedy - I do... but there have been so many massacres over the past decade... it just doesn't surprise me any more.
One thing that seems to be hitting home, however, is that one reason that always seems to be coming up is how the perpetrator always seems to have been teased. They were an outcast. They didn't fit in. Often times it started early. Sometimes it continued their whole lives. One of the reasons these tragedies happen is because of a little harmless teasing.
Since The Princess has started school, I have been struggling with this very issue. It's harmless, I'm told. All kids get teased about something, I hear. Teasing is a part of childhood, I'm advised, tell her to get used to it.
When is teasing harmless, and when does teasing cross the line? Keys To Safer Schools defines teasing as follows:
It is Teasing only if both parties know it is teasing.
Teasing is not about Power, Ridicule or Control.
Teasing does not involve Pain (physical or emotional).
Otherwise it is bullying and should not be accepted by the parents, school or the students.
Why must we teach our children that being teased (or bullied) is just a part of life? Don't let it bother you. Be a duck. Oh, they didn't mean it. Be tough. JUST IGNORE IT.
When your child is being victimized, what do you do? Tell them to tough it out? Or intervene? And when you do intervene, are you faced with a parent who insists that it's harmless?
Maybe it should be harmless. Maybe in some cases it IS harmless. But sometimes it isn't.
Is teasing the only reason for these tragedies? Of course not. There are many factors that can play a role. But for me, I want the teasing to stop. I don't want my child to become a victim because she chose to torment somebody else. I don't want my child to seek revenge because she was picked on.
If stopping the teasing and bullying is a way to possibly prevent ONE tragedy from happening, I am going to do everything in my power to prevent it.
Not MY child.