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I Made Someone Cry


Posted on April 9, 2011

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A couple of days ago I spoke at a state PTA conference.  As I do in most of our professional development and parenting workshops I spoke of the cruel name-calling that many of our teen kids have to face on a daily basis.  Every day-- in the hallway, bathroom, locker room, classroom, lunch room, recess, and then it follows them home on Facebook and on their cell phones.  Normally, I am not the kind of person to make someone cry....but when it comes to trying to get people to understand how painful school is for many of our teens, I want you to cry.  I want you to understand the pain. 

 

I understood their pain the first time I heard it.  It was over 8 years ago when I was in a workshop with 60 6th grade girls and the workshop was going to be about how to stand up to a bully.  I had explained what bullying was and had asked the girls how many of them had been bullied.  Over half raised their hands....and then I asked how many of them had stood up for themselves, ONLY 3 raised their hands. 

 

I asked one of the girls to tell everyone how she stood up to the bully.  She said...."I walk away...."  My first thought was she didn't understand what bullying was so i explained it again.  She said, " No, I walk away and my counselor said I was standing up for myself."  Still thinking that we were having a miscommunication I asked her to tell me exactly what was happening.  She said I get called slut, fat, ugly, stupid, loser, lesbian, etc....  I asked her how often?  Everyday she replied, on the bus, in the hallway, in the bathroom,.......  Fighting back the tears I felt coming, I told her and the rest of the girls... NO WAY....do you just ignore that,you need to tell that person they do NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TREAT YOU LIKE THAT.

 

When I tell teachers and parents these true gut-wrenching stories.... I do want them to cry.  I really do.  I want everyone to understand the real pain that a lot of our kids are having to endure.  I want you to cringe like I did when a 5th grade girl told me last week she has someone calling her SEA COW.  I want you to feel horrible when another 5th grade girl told me kids are making fun of her for giving a special needs boy her telephone number.  I want you to feel bad that boys are being called FAG and GAY that some of them are killing themselves because they can't take the taunting anymore.  I want you to feel the pain when a middle school girl posted a picture of herself on Facebook and got 89 comments from the kids at her school arguing about how they didn't like her and that she was ugly.  Or the boy whose friends all decided to stop talking to him and now is having panic attacks and can't go to school.


Not only do I want you to FEEL their pain.... I want you to do something about it.  It is up to us....we are the PARENTS, the ones responsible for our children.  We are also the taxpayers for our schools or clients for our private schools.

 

My question to you is this, if you think it is wrong for many of our children to go to school and be told they are stupid, fat, and ugly among many other things-- what are you going to do to change it?


Kimber Bishop-Yanke, M.I.M., is the founder of Kids Empowered and the author of this blog.


Kimber trains nationally and internationally on bully-proofing your children. Kimber develops curriculum and leads programs for kids, parents, and professionals on how to build confidence and self-esteem, develop socials skills and emotional intelligence, and dealing with unfriendly friends, mean-spirited behaviors, relational aggression, and bullying. As a volunteer Kimber organizes Kids Against Hunger packagings and is the Chair of Fundraising for Kenya Relief. She has also taken her program to Israel where she teaches her program to Palestinian and Israeli counselors and kids at a camp that brings children together for reconciliation.

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