Why It’s Important To Teach Our Kids About Bullying

January 29, 2018

I wanted to take some time and write about a sensitive issue. Bullying can be a sensitive subject for people. I am very cautious when it comes to writing about certain topics, as it can offend some people. But I know the Lord prompted me to write in regards to this issue for a reason.

Some time back Kimberly Jones posted a video that went viral about her son Keaton Jones, who was a victim of being bullied in school. I’m sure you’ve all watched the video by now. This 11 year-old kid in middle school was bullied. Peers in his school made fun of his nose, telling him he has no friends, poring milk on him, and etc.

When I first watched Keaton’s video my heart broke. My heart shattered for him! I couldn’t believe this child was a victim to bullying. My heart broke for him, and my heart broke for his mother. Can you imagine what Kimberly Jones was thinking when she hears her son, her baby is being bullied in school?

When I hear about a child being bullied or an adult’s story of how they were bullied, I immediately have flash backs to when I was a child. I have been a victim to a form of bullying as a kid.

As a kid growing up, girls used to make fun of me and always called me gullible. They thought they could take advantage of me and my kindness. After the girls would take advantage me they would tell me they didn’t want to play with me anymore, and tell me to go home. I remember one time after playing in the summer heat we would all go swimming in one of the neighbor’s pool. Once I got there and went to jump in the pool I was told I wasn’t wanted. They would say, “Go home Jackie! We didn’t want you to come swimming with us. Geez, you’re so gullible.”

Can you imagine how I felt walking home? Feeling like the smallest rock on the pavement and everyone trampling over me. Just kicking me aside. I was crushed! My heart-broken feeling like no one wanted to be my friend. All I wanted, like any other girl, was to have friends. I didn’t go to school like the rest of my peers. I was homeschooled my entire life. The only time I was able to have a social life was either at church or with the neighborhood kids. I walked back home crying! I cried my eyes out in disbelief. My spirit broken. Feeling unwanted.

In my tween years I was very tall for my age. And since I was very tall, I was also very skinny. The neighborhood kids used to make fun of me all the time. I still remember to this day the names they used to call me – pencil, skinny ball point pen, celery stick, scallion, Twizzler, stick figure, needle, etc. Hearing those harsh words does damage as you get older. I started to automatically think there’s something wrong with me. Because I was always made fun of, I somehow felt that my peers were more superior over me.

When things like this would happen, my parents would teach me about forgiveness. Since Jesus forgave us we also must forgive. So time after time coming home from playing with these kids and crying, I always forgave them. Then the kids would come back later in the evening asking me to come back out and play. Those years were a roller coaster of emotions. Feeling wanted when they asked me to come play, and then feeling unwanted when they would make fun of me, take advantage of me, or reject me.

When I think about what I went through as a kid, and now seeing Keaton’s video, is this what it really looks like in our school districts? Kids being bullied for just existing or being made fun of for the way God designed them? To tell you the truth as I watched Keaton’s video, I cried, I couldn’t help but think of my Aiden. Aiden is different from other kids. Aiden is labeled special ed in school for his PDD/Autism diagnosis. If you don’t know Aiden’s story you can catch up here My Journey As A Special Needs Mom.

I some times fear will Aiden be a subject to bullying? I don’t want my son being made fun of for the way he acts. When Aiden processes information he peers out of the corner of his eyes. Will he ever be made fun of for that? Not sure if any of our friends know this but when Aiden asks a question or makes a statement he will whisper & repeat the phrase back to himself. Will kids make fun of Aiden for repeating things for no reason?

My Aiden is a good down to earth kid. Aiden has a hard time deciphering between sarcasm and when some one is joking. He takes everyone at their word. He believes every word they say to be true. Then, depending on the situations Manny & I are left to do damage control and explain why this person was joking and how they were not serious.

I don’t want my son to be made fun of or called gullible like me. I can just imagine peers in his school taking advantage of him for his kindness. Just like me. Then when kids get whatever they want out of him, they’ll kick him aside and want nothing to do with him. I don’t want my boy to go through what I went through, or to experience what Keaton Jones has gone through.

I am thankful that my Aiden is popular in his school. He is getting good grades and doing well academically. My son loves to learn who all the teachers are & those in authority in his school. We’ve had to teach Aiden about different forms of bullying. We had to teach Aiden to watch kids and their behavior, and the decisions they make in school.

If this is what bullying is like now, what will it look like in 4 years when my Aiden is in middle school? Kids are experiencing way too much at a young age in middle school these days. And because of how my Aiden is, I don’t want him exposed to something he’s not meant to handle. Which is why I am praying now whether I should homeschool or place him in private Christian school when he gets to the 6th grade.

When a mother hears of a child being bullied, or sees a viral video on social media like in Keaton Jones’ case, a mother feels 3 things. First, her heart breaks for this child who was bullied. Second, she immediately fears for her own child who might be bullied. Third, she reverts back to the memories she had when she was bullied.

As Keaton said in his video, why do they enjoy and get satisfaction out of making fun of some one feel so small & terrible. He also said people who are different don’t need to be criticized. My Aiden is different. Aiden stands out for the way he behaves and processes things. I’m sure when Keaton looked into the camera and said if you’re made fun of to not let it bother you, and to stay strong. I know it’s very hard for a kid to not let comments affect them. It’s really hard to stay strong and ignore the horrible things that are being done to you or being said about you.

Kudos to Keaton Jones for being brave and describing what he has been through in school. No kid wants to get on a camera crying and bearing their heart out. But I love the advice he gave. Stay strong! An 11-year-old boy telling other kids who’ve been bullied to stay strong. Keaton didn’t say fight them, he didn’t say fight back with your words, or give in to temptation. He said ignore them and stay strong. I wish I had that advice when I was bullied. My natural reaction as a kid was to yell back, push, shove, and try to use the curse words no kid would ever dare say.

When Keaton’s mom Kimberly heard of her child being bullied, can you imagine what was going on in her mind? I mean, as a mom you initially go into “mama bear” mode. You want to protect your child. Every mom feels that way. I’m sure as a mom she was advising her son what to do in certain situations. But after a while enough is enough. Kudos to Kimberly Jones for encouraging her son to bring to light an issue in our school system that needs to be resolved.

Schools say they are against bullying and have these anti-bullying rallies and such, but I feel there are not enough eyes in school to watch out or to hear when a child is being bullied. Teachers have a lot on their plate between teaching a class, helping that one student who needs extra help, that it is impossible for a teacher to catch or hear when a kid is being bullied. I feel those who are in a authority in our children’s school not only should be watching out, but should also be listening. A lot of things happen when we are not listening or paying attention.

People are different. There are so many people in the world that are different, unique, weird, and think differently than everyone else does. No one should be bullied for being different. It doesn’t matter what age, gender, race, religion, or how different a child is, he or she should not be bullied. We are to teach our children to accept people for who they are.

As parents we are to teach our children right from wrong. It’s our responsibility to be role models for our children. We are also to be aware of what we say around our kids. Because kids are listening when we think they’re not.  We do not curse in my house. So whenever I hear Aiden using a certain word, I immediately ask him where he heard that word. Obviously, it’s from a child at school. Whatever phrases we are saying out loud, most likely our children will repeat it. I’ve witnessed it! My own children have repeated phrases that Manny and I have said in our private conversations.

Not only are we to equip our children with learning right from wrong, but to also teach them to encourage others. I want my children to know if they see a kid being bullied to mention it to a teacher or some one who is in authority at school. I also want my child to come beside that kid and comfort and encourage them, as well as to pray with them. But I also do not want my child to get beaten or threatened in school for just being himself!

As Christians no matter what stage of life we’re in (child, teenager, adult, or elderly) we are called to be the light of Christ. As a mother who’s been blessed with 3 boys, I do not want my boys to be a victim of bullying or doing the bullying. I want my children to learn from their example… their parents. Just as my children see how I treat and talk to others is how I expect my children to treat others.

When it comes to teaching & encouraging a child who was just bullied I have 2 things to say. And I give these scenarios to my boys. One, I would give an example like Superman. Any kid can relate to Superman, the iconic superhero! Superman – Clark Kent, grew up being different from other kids he knew. He was made fun of numerous times. He was bullied for being different and antagonized to fight back. Although, Clark Kent wanted to fight back so hard, he practiced self-control. A true character trait his father taught him. His father taught him to never give in and fight back, because what would Clark gain from that?

Which also goes in hand with the second example I would share. Jesus was made fun of. I’m sure as a kid growing up and having His Father’s knowledge, grown ups probably thought “who does this kid think he is?” He was made fun of, and was tempted by the Devil himself. When the Devil tempted Jesus to prove who he really was it would have been so easy for Jesus to just boom show Satan once and for all who he was messing with. But like in Clark Kent’s case, what would Jesus have to gain from proving to his enemy who he is?

His Father in Heaven knows who he is, and knows he does not need to be validated or approved by people. When Jesus died on the cross he was mocked, beaten, and made fun of. But His Father knew who he was. God never told Jesus to fight back or argue with others. Because Jesus knew if he did he would not be representing the Father.

Bullying does damage to a child and can affect a child as they grow up. A child can grow with the fear constantly in their mind thinking they have to be a certain way to fit in. Bullying can lead to severe conditions for kids. After so much bullying it can lead to depression and if gone unnoticed can lead to suicide. For young girls, if they’re made fun of for their body type, it can lead to a serious anorexic condition.

It is very important as parents to teach our kid about this subject. My kids learn by seeing and by us teaching them. I’ve shown my boys Keaton’s video. I wanted them to see how hurt he was by his peers. After the video I explained in simple terms for them to understand that this is not okay for some one to be treated like this. Even though Aiden is 7 and Nolan is almost 5, they know that it is not okay for some one to be bullied.

I think we should also teach our kids about self worth. To teach our children that they have value. We should teach our kids what God thinks of them. How God places a value on them. That God values them so much that He is always listening to every word they say. As well as how we value them as parents. That they don’t need a friend or some one at school to validate them. Let’s let our boys & girls know God validates them and we validate them as their parents. That they can achieve and do anything they want. And that they don’t need to listen to those who make fun of them or tell them no.

As I close this blog, talk with your children in regards to bullying. Ask your children what do they think bullying means. Ask them what actions, words and scenarios represent bullying. Equip your children with Godly knowledge to decipher what to do when they are bullied, or when they see some one else being bullied. Teach your children to be the light of Christ and that they’re validated by Him. To represent the Father’s love to some one who is hurting or being mean. That is what we are all called to do. To show the Love of God to those who don’t know Him.

Moms cover your children with your prayers. Pray for their protection physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Ask for the Lord to give you peace, guidance, and wisdom in regards to this subject. Ask the Lord to reveal things that might be happening to your children that you are not aware of. Pray and do battle in the spirit realm for your family and your children. Fear not for the Lord hears your cries and prayers. And only He can protect your children from any bully the enemy places in their path. For your God is bigger and has no limits. Have assurance and peace that your God has your children in His hands.

 

 

 

 

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