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No simple solutions to bullying

Words from “withbarbara”
by Barb Lustgarten-Evoy

I am writing directly to you this week, because I feel the topic of bullying needs to be addressed yet again. In light of the most recent tragedy, losing yet another young girl to suicide following years of bullying, my heart breaks still another time.

I speak to so many parents who are struggling to deal with issues related to bully behavior and even more painfully, meet with a disturbingly high number of suffering children as well. According to BullyingCanada.ca, a national anti-bullying charitable organization, a study published in the medical Journal of Pediatrics found that about one in seven Canadian children aged 11 to 16 are victims of bullying.

As the matter of cyber bullying is becoming of utmost concern, there are many papers, articles, books and studies available for your perusal and I encourage each of you to take the time to inform yourself, to the best of your ability, to help you better understand exactly what it is and how it is affecting our children. It is a relatively new problem and one that seems to be growing in intensity every day.

In an article in the Globe and Mail called “Amanda Todd tragedy highlights how social media makes bullying inescapable” I read this: “Telling cyber-bullying victims to simply shut off their computer or stop checking their Facebook accounts is far easier said than done, since social media is such an integral part of how teens now interact and communicate. Some may even be reluctant to delete tormentors from their lists of online friends because keeping those online contacts boosts their sense of status. And status is such a huge thing for kids and youth.”

I want to be able to offer you all a magic pill and I wish with all my heart that I could take away the horrific loss that so many families live with regarding bullying and suicide. But alas, I cannot.

What I can do is to remind you, that as parents, you owe it to your children to stay aware of what’s going on in their lives. You need to visit with schools, talk to teachers, check in with coaches and chat with friends’ parents. I often teach the Five Minute Rule to my audiences and that suggests that by taking five minutes every day – every day – and devoting it to your child, the difference you will soon see will be amazing.

It is not a maybe, rather a guarantee, that by making time for him, by showing him that he matters to you, by actually putting him first before work, dinner, meetings, laundry or a phone call, he can see that you mean what you say when you tell him you love him. That will come to mean far, far more than a new video game ever will. I promise you.

Times are truly changing, and it is our duty to change with them. Everyone is busy but nobody should be THAT busy, that a child should feel alone enough to want to die.

Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy is the owner and operator of Fergus Educational Services and is the owner/author/presenter for all WithBarbara Seminars and Lectures. To ask a question or for more information, please visit www.withbarbara.ca or email info@withbarbara.ca

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