Catch the 48 Hours Bullying Special on Sept 16. Plus, Kim’s Question to Mocha Manual Moms: Is Bullying Different for African Americans?
In case my screams of angst haven't reached your neck of the woods yet, my daughter started middle school last week.
And if I didn't have enough to fret about, I also know that middle school is considered ground zero for bullying.
So I was really eager to attend a special preview lunch for a 48 Hours special on bullying in the digital age that will air on CBS Friday, September 16th at 8:00 EST. The special is aptly titled: Bullying: Words Can Kill.
According to CBS, as the school year begins, more than 160,000 children stay home every day because they are afraid of being bullied. That's staggering!!
The special features parents and victims, including a boy who attempted suicide at 14-years old because of extreme bullying and a mother who lost her daughter because of bullying. Powerful stuff.
The lunch, organized by my friend and fellow Lifetime Mom, Beth Feldman of Role Mommy got together a gangle of thoughtful mom bloggers to discuss the issue, share insights and talk about what we can do.
The conversation was candid and engaging. It was clear schools need to do more to enforce their anti-bullying policies (make sure your school has one). The show highlights a model program at a small school in North Providence, Rhode Island.
But we also talked about the overuse of the word bullying and what exactly it is versus was kid being a jerk or teasing.
One mom mentioned a kindergartener giving her daughter the middle finger as an example of bullying. Maybe that kid is just rude.
But mostly importantly, I want my daughter to know that "bullies" exist in life from the classroom at school to the coffee break room at work and dealing with difficult people is a life skill she must learn regardless of the venue.
And in this digital age of Facebook and Twitter, kids can be "bullied" is new ways that weren't even around when we were kids.
But through it all, my mind (as it usually does) went to my experience as an African American mother and for other mothers of color whose child may be a victim of bullying. I couldn't help but wonder if bullying if different for our children, mostly because it often adds a layer of race into the issue.
Of course there's black on black bullying and brown on brown bullying. But I'm also wondering if we're coping with it the same way or teaching our children the same tools for dealing with bullying.
In our "deal with it" culture, where we often take hardship as par for the course of being black in America, I'm hoping that my own daughter will speak up and tell me if she is being bullied. I'm hoping that I will be properly responsive.
I recently shared a difficult experience with an older relative who didn't really address anything I said, but simply reminded me that my people endured slavery and if we survived that, I could survive this.
Has this ever happened with you?
And while I certainly love to remind my children that they come from kings and queens and a strong people who later survived slavery, I don't want them to think sharing an experience with bullying makes them look weak.
Know what I mean?
What do you think are the cultural nuances of bullying in our communities? Could our "strong" culture be a detriment to our children? How are you preparing your child? Yourself?
And check out these bullying resources for parents from CBS News.