Mean Girls (and boys)

A news story this morning spoke about mean girl in kindergarten classes.  Everyone was amazed and appalled.  I also am not happy but I fail to see why this is amazing.

Kids seek that which is familiar.  We as adults offer them security and encouragement to try something new.  Unfortunately, as the world has gotten smaller so have the number of parents who feel secure enough to trust in change and then pass on that trust to their children.

Bullying has been around for a really long time.  Cultural folktales are full of such and even if the bullying is not overt, the implied discriminations are.  After all, no one speaks of David’s prowess but only of his size – short and small. 

Bullying will stop when we stop participating in those cultural events that glorify it.  Movies such as “Mean Girls”, tv shows like “The Jersey Shore” that perpetuate stereotypes and staying within a circle of stereotypes, sports teams that pay players for bullying the opposing team’s players out of sight of the referees, pop music that denigrates a certain sex or class or religion or profession….all of these encourage young people to bully.  They also encourage those same young people to think such actions are not only cool but also acceptable.

It really is not a question of faith or culture or even class.  It is a matter of self-esteem.  A person who possesses self-confidence does not need to put someone else down in order to bolster their own self-image.  You may not like every other person or want to hang out with them but you should not need to be mean to them.

When we as parents so our job as parents, then we will not feel guilty nor that we have come up lacking.  Then we will be able to encourage our children to stop bullying. 

Bullying is a team activity.  No one gets satisfaction out of bullying in private. The next time a kid takes his or her own life or takes a gun to school, ask what the environment was for that child.  Before you defend the other kids or feel they were at fault, stop.  Also ask what their environment is like, both at school and at home.

Teachers are having to do the work of the parent, the therapist, the educator, the counselor, the enforcer and most for less than minimum wage when all the time they spend regarding their job is tallied.  Parents are over-worked trying to keep up with their neighbors or some image from the medi that they feel they must duplicate.

No one stands at the grave of their child thankful for their big house or fancy car.  No child gets security from absentee parents.

Next time you wonder where all those “mean kids” came from….maybe the answer is as close as the nearest mirror.  When we as a culture decide bullying is wrong, it will stop and our children will live stronger and healthier lives.

I just hope we are not too late to look into that mirror.

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