A Shocking View of Bullying

bullyingI would imagine that Amy Hatch, a freelance writer contributing to the Huffington Post, is as good a mother as she is a writer. However, neither of those occupations prepared her to write intelligently about the deadly scourge that infects the lives of too many American teens and pre-teens and, in the case of Ms. Hatch’s daughter, in pre-kindergarten: bullying.

In her updated August 3, 2011 Huff Post article entitled, “Dealing with Bullying: Why It Isn’t All Bad,” Ms. Hatch discloses, “When my daughter started a full-day pre-kindergarten program, it never occurred to me that she would be bullied, but that’s exactly what happened.”

So far, so good. No parent wants to believe that their young child is going to be bullied in school. Perhaps, by the time their child is in double-digits – 10 and above – tales of schoolyard drama and bullying have made there way to the family’s dinner table. And, as Ms. Hatch relates, “Night after night, as we watched the seasons change outside her bedroom window, she spilled her tales of woe about this slight or that insult during our bedtime cuddle.” The tales of woe were accompanied with, according to Ms. Hatch, “…a dollop of tears.”

OK, let’s hold it right there. Dollop? Using a term usually associated with the amount of whipped or ice cream on a dessert, to describe a large amount of tears from a five-year old who is being bullied, raises big questions over Ms. Hatch’s parenting/listening skills. She then dismisses her child’s emotional display by writing, “My kid is a lot like me, which means she’s extremely sensitive and inclined to take any negative remark made about her as the gospel truth.”

So, let me get this straight. Your five-year old daughter has been “cuddle-talking” or, more accurate, “cuddle-crying” with you for almost a year about being bullied and you have taken no action because, as Ms. Hatch explains, “The urge to pick up the phone and raise holy hell was almost unbearable. But I didn’t — at least not until the school year was just about over — because I didn’t want to be THAT mom.” Hey, Ms. Hatch, are you vying for the title of “Model Mother of Decorum”?

To dramatize the gravity of this parental deafness, what if the title of Ms. Hatch’s article was, “Dealing with Molesting: Why it isn’t All Bad.” The scenario? Daddy has been slipping into his daughter’s bedroom to do his own type of “bedtime cuddling.” Your five-year old is upset and crying about his visits. What are your responsibilities, Ms. Hatch?

Would you fall back on your bullying logic that, “Stepping in to micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life is a mistake. It robs children of the ability to deal with conflict and rejection. It saps their independence. It labels them, in the eyes of their peers, teachers and administrators, as weak.”

Obviously you could benefit from a strong course in the effects of bullying. Especially with young, young children.

Bullying is a form of intimidation or domination toward someone who is perceived as being weaker or different. Through some type of coercion or force, the bully desires superiority/domination over their victim. Bullying happens with attempts at physical abuse, verbal or emotional intimidation and occurs in school, the neighborhood, through e-mail, in chatrooms, via text messaging and on Facebook. The aim of bullying is to
promote self-hate, fear, guilt, embarrassment and humiliation.”

I believe Ms. Hatch doesn’t understand bullying. She writes, “Making a big deal out of the little stuff will give you less credibility and diminish your power to advocate for your kid when it really counts. Don’t forget the tale of the little boy who cried wolf.”

To make my point, Ms. Hatch finally “sprang” into action at the end of the school year, “My kids are precious to me and the very idea of someone hurting a single hair on their heads makes me roar like the mama lion of lore, and if I felt either of them was in real danger I would step in with all the force I could muster. I did just that, when my daughter finally reported that her enemy had pushed and scratched her at recess, out of sight of the teachers, one day close to the end of the school year.”

A whole school year before speaking up? In my opinion, too little, too late. The bully or abuser counts on the silence of the victim to be able to continue their activity.

The statistics on bullying which leads to suicide are alarming:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.
  • carl matthesA study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.
  • According to ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.

Whose checking the articles at Huffington Post?

And, Ms. Hatch, perhaps you could write another article, “Dealing with Spousal Abuse: Why It Isn’t All Bad.”

Carl Matthes

Published by the LA Progressive on August 4, 2011
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About Carl Matthes

Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for 45 years. He is the current president of UGLA, Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a grassroots organization in Northeast Los Angeles which provides a support system for gay men and lesbians and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of homosexuality. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America, which is owned and published by his sister, Ella. He was editor of the GLAAD/LA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter, a former GLAAD National Board member and served as a GLAAD/LA representative on the LGBT/LAPD Advisory Board. Carl has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In July, 2008, Carl was legally married to Carl Johnson, his partner of 45 years, by Los Angels City Councilmember Jose Huizar. It was a unique gay/lesbian double ceremony as Carl's sister Ella and her partner Gladi were also married by Jose.

Comments

  1. FreeYourMind says:

    Did you really justd equate bullying with incestual molestation? What a silly, hysterical view of the world you have. While you overreact screaming bloody murder, our children still aren’t taught rational conflict resolution skills so they will continue to be bullied out in the real world where self-pitying tattletales are loathed. Kids that commit suicide strictly resulting from Bullying are rare-so save the misleading statistics. You disrespect the tragedy of true Bullying Suicides when you lump them with normal youthful unpleasantries.

    • Reality Check says:

      Oh, really? You expect schools to teach rational conflict resolution skills when underpaid and overworked teachers are already being forced to “teach to the test” so the school meet ridiculous achievement goals of 100% proficiency? Where are they going to get the magical funding to pay for all this skill-building material when they can’t even afford basic classroom supplies?

      Here’s a thought: reduce class sizes so our kids aren’t crammed into the human equivalent of a factory farm chicken cage. And to do that, take some money from the militarization of police and spend it on making sure the kids who are going through the public school system don’t end up as either brutal cops or desperate criminals. If you stop treating kids like warehoused farm animals, I assure you that bullying will decrease dramatically. It may have been rare when you were a kid, but today bullying is a common event.

      FYI, acne is a ‘normal youthful unpleasantry’ while bullying has been shown to reduce academic achievement.

      • Reality Check says:

        *meant to read: “so the school can meet ridiculous achievement goals…”

        I am really going to have to reduce the sensitivity of my laptop’s track pad. I was in the process of editing my comment when my mouse hovered over the “post comment” button. Dang.

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