I have a question. :) Something struck me today. Bullying is not new. People have bullied and have bullied since forever. I know it doesn't make it right. I would be heart broken if my children were ever the subject of bullying. But it's not new. It's always been here, and honestly I don't see it leaving. People can just be plain mean. In a perfect world we would never see this. One can dream :) I was lucky I guess because I was never bullied. But people of my generation and generations before all survived it. Sure, they have scares and that makes me sad. Emotional wounds of never feeling good enough etc are probably still there or somehow they rose above it and were made stronger.
But what IS different is this generation. People are killing themselves over it. Why? I don't understand it. Do you think it's the dynamics of families (meaning that more families are crumbling leaving these kids no "safe place") Parents spend more and more time at work, online (and for the record my kids aren't home right now:P) or out and about with friends leaving kids with no structure? Kids aren't feeling loved by parents because parents aren't parenting their children? Kids are over scheduled and parents think because their child is in preschool, summer camp, soccer, ballet and etc etc, that is whaat they need. What these kids need is TIME. Serious quality time. Talking, laughing, crying. Not another "thing" to do. Now, don't get me wrong. We do activities but we limit ours because I don't want to be busy.
Do you think it's online bullying that is making it harder for kids? I mean, PRAISE the sweet Lord in heaven that digital ANYTHING wasn't around to document my screw ups in high school and college. Can you imagine how damaging that can be? I can't even imagine it. But again, this can go back to parenting. Parents need to monitor their kids (even teens) usage of the computer, phone, internet etc. Now monitoring it doesn't mean it won't ever happen, but when it does maybe the parents would discipline their kids.
I wonder if it's because of media. Kids see more and more people (parents included) with plastic surgery, weightloss this and that. Even the $$ clothes and such. Maybe kids feel like they aren't good enough.
Whatever it is it's something. People went from being sad and emotional scared (which isn't good I know) about being bullied to KILLING themselves. I just don't understand it. It makes me very sad for my girls generation.
In my gut a lot of these issues fall back to parenting though. I wish people would realize that parenting is more than giving your kids stuff and food. They are these tiny souls that need to be shaped and formed. People don't discipline their kids, they parent on "feelings" and what's left is one screwed up person.
Just curious if anyone else had thoughts on this? Why is it worse? (maybe it's not; maybe it's media hype??) idk...
I don't think suicide over bullying is new. I think it may be being talked about more now. And I think that is a good thing. I do think bullying was ignored in generations past, especially bullying certain groups. I think acknowledging its impact on others is important to make it stop.
I do agree that social media makes bullying worse. And not having a support network (larger community) could leave these kids feeling even more depressed and alone. I wish more kids knew that feeling sad and alone and an outcast now doesn't mean you will feel that way forever. I do think that is where the support network should come in.
I do think there's an upward trend in suicides over bullying and kids killing each other--especially over the last twenty years. I think a lot of it is the media and how suicide is a common word--you don't have to personally know someone that did it to know that it's an option. (Not that it is but you know what I mean.) Before the internet parents were able to keep track more easily of what their kids were exposed to.
I don't think that more suicides are occurring due to bullying than before. I just think that it's being brought to attention more often. Generations ago, mental illness came with major stigma. Having a familiy member take their own life was shameful and sometimes hushed up. Generations ago, emotional trauma was swept under the rug. Now, not so much. I think that's a good thing. Until people begin to become aware of how actions impact people's lives, they can't change their actions. Cycles of abuse continue for a very long time before being broken and sometimes they never break. As communications have improved, so has the scope of information about what is happening around us. I have studied criminology and psychology, and there are things that have happened decades and centuries ago that certainly mimic modern day issues. It's just not on our local news.
I don't know if it is happening more now than it did before. I guess that doesn't really matter, because we have to deal with here and now. I don't have all the answers, but I do think a Christ-centered loving family goes a long way. Included in that will be open communication, boundaries (with technology, for example), and teaching them who they are in Christ -which is better than teaching self-esteem.
Another thing to be wary of is making sure our own children don't BECOME bullies. The best cure for bullying is preventing kids from becoming them in the first place. But of course, we can't control what other families do, only our own.
I don't know, Heather. Its a good question, and a sadly prevalent issue. There are a lot of factors that go in to it.
Argh I had a whole response written out about this that got erased. Now don't have the time to fully respond.
First, though, and I know you 100% don't intend for offense (and no offense taken), but as a working mom my life is very busy, and that's just what God has handed us right now. I don't have a choice to be working (I don't work full-time because I don't have to, but I still work a good deal) and I'm pregnant and DH recently had back surgery so I'm 100% household chores, cooking, child management, outside chores, vehicle maintenance. Often my off days are spent doing errands to fulfill the needs for our family and that means dragging DD along for that time. It's not what I envisioned as quality time, but it really puts a smile on my face when we just have a joyful time out even in the midst of the busy-ness. Polly hit the nail on the head in that I'm extremely focused on being a Christ-centered home, and regardless of our circumstances, busy or not, it's important we have perspective on what the big picture is, which is seeking God and Christ in everything. I work pretty hard at being disciplined and organized so that our free family time is truly free.
As far as parenting by feelings, I'm not sure I know what you mean? But my DD is still young. I have seen inconsistent discipline - sometimes given, sometimes not regardless of whether or not it was threatened, not giving clear reason for not allowing something which was allowed some other time. Is that what you mean? Do you see a difference within your church vs not?
I think we are hearing about suicides more now; news used to be a lot more localized. It's hard to say if suicide rates are going up. I do think social media contributes to more insiduous bullying partly because it's not done to someone's face and is too easy (but shoot, we see how fast threads can go downhill here so we all know about that phenomenon); I think bullying in general is societally less tolerated now than it used to be.
I was actually thinking the other day that americans 50+ years ago probably got more sleep than we do now, because they didn't have brainwave interrupters keeping them up artificially (laptops, late night TV, video games, smart phones, ect.) I wondered if the trend was tracked and if there were statistical linkages to other things due to lessening sleep. I wonder if emotional fragility could be part of that?
I've been thinking about this for a few days... I don't think that its that new of a thing, I think people just are more open about it now especially with media. I do think texting, cell phones and facebook make it easier to bully others, but I think its always been an issue, I know it was when I was in elementary school 20 years ago.
Part of me wonders if its related to family structure, but really I think there are so many factors its hard to generalize. I also wonder if its a lack of accountability and discipline in kids, We have 1 child I can think of at church and his parents defiantly fall into the lack of consistency and follow through category with discipline (not saying the kid needs a spanking, but I don't think anyone is truly teaching him how hurtful he is to others, there are usually no consequences for his actions from his parents).
I have also noticed with my own kids that K totally has tendencies to be a bully, but I feel like even at 2 we are working on it and constantly redirecting her focus back to Jesus, loving, and being gentle to others. So yeah tough question, really I don't have any concrete answers...
I hope you don't mind my posting in here, but I thought I'd give you my perspective. I've looked to see if there are good statistics on more kids committing suicide due to bullying, and there aren't any good numbers. It's apparently very hard to measure. My bet is that if it *is* increasing, it's probably not by much, but we hear more about it (much like all the stories about child abductions -- makes it sound like kids are being abducted left and right when in reality things haven't much changed in those numbers). But I *do* think that bullying is a lot harder for kids these days to deal with because now their bullies can torment them 24/7 via social networking, texting, etc. At least before, when a kid got home from school s/he was largely insulated from the bullies. But these days? There's no escape. It's very sad.
woah, when I said focused on working I didn't mean working parents vs sahm's at all. That part didn't even cross my mind. I mean the kind of "working" where the parents don't leave work at work. Where their career is their focus, as in, it's the more important thing on the list. They put their job ahead of their family. I meant that as much for fathers as mothers.
Originally Posted by Consensus
Sorry if it came across the wrong way.
I won't speculate on whether suicide has increased or not. But I was bullied/tortured from the age of 8 until I left college. I was bullied by peers, people who were supposedly my friends, Sunday school classmates, and even a college professor. I never even had a thought of suicide.
I have a friend who I met on-line (through a friend I knew in person) and we would chat for hours on IM when I was a freshman in college and he was taking college classes as a senior in high school. Just a few years ago, he finally admitted to me that chatting with me was what made him most happy in those days and it was the only thing keeping him from attempting suicide.
I cannot blame social media for making it worse, because it can bring people together to save a life, too. The difference in our bullying situations was that I had a stable home - his dad walked out on his mom 2 weeks before he was born and he had 2 older brothers, one with issues so deep he murdered his dad a few years ago - and I went to church. Even though my own classmates at Sunday school picked on me, excluded me, I still had faith which gave me hope and I think HOPE is what a lot of kids are missing now.
My friend's life has gone downhill again - divorced after a tour in Iraq, living with his mother again (which drives him nuts), but he was baptised a few years ago and has discovered a faith and hope which I think makes all the difference.
Studies show that the incidence of suicide is lower in regular church attenders than in non-attendees and I think THAT is where the primary issue lies. Parents aren't taking their kids to church as much anymore.