The article that inspired my thoughts today is about an 8 – year – old boy, who committed suicide. Supposedly, he was bullied at school, which might have led him to take his own life.
I will not speculate whether the kid was bullied or not. For the purpose of this discussion I will assume that he was. I will not speculate whether he was knocked unconscious by the bully, or if he just fainted, as he reported to the school. This is not a necessary detail to this discussion.
The mother of the boy is now on a crusade to eradicate bullying and to make the world a safer place for kids. As I wrote the second part of that sentence, I laughed in my thoughts due to the irony of it. She might have been the one who, in a way, helped the boy do what he did. Stop. Do not get angry at me for blaming the mother. I am not. Or at least not directly. Not yet.
Let me get back to the question in the topic of this post: “Are kids different today than they were 20+ years ago?”. The short answer is – “YES!”. The longer answer can be found below.
I really do not appreciate how some topics become one dimensional. The kid was bullied. Kid committed suicide. We need to get rid of bullying. I am not endorsing bullying, and I am not saying that we should accept it because it has been with us for generations. However, this is NOT everything we should focus our attention on!!! Whether we like it or not, different kinds of bullying exist THROUGHOUT our lives. Not just in school. We cannot change every single person on this planet to our liking, but we can adjust ourselves. During my formal education, I was bullied. Who has not? The difference was that I did not expect everyone to cater to my wants and needs like the kids of today are taught to expect. I knew that things like that made me stronger and prepared me for the real world. I knew how to DEAL with it. Most importantly, most of the time, I did not care about the verbal bullying. And soon enough it went away (or just got quieter). When it came to the physical bullying, I would stand up for myself and be proactive. But enough about me.
Back to the topic. When I was 8 years old I had NO idea what suicide was. There were thoughts of going to teachers for help, going to my parents, going to my colleagues, or just going to myself, but no shadow of a thought of ending my life. Because it was not so bad? NO! Because I simply had no idea that was an option!!! Do you see where I am going with this now? It boggles my mind that an 8 – year – old kid not only knew that he could kill himself, but he also knew how to do it. HOW?! I ask you: “How and why?”. This is not an isolated incident. We see these things more and more often. Young kids stream their deaths live on Facebook. Is that not insane?! Have we seen pre – teens committing suicide left and right two decades ago? Umm… no?!
Kids of today have no coping skills. THIS is something we should focus on. Not how to make everyone accepting of everything. Because it is not going to happen. EVER. Because we cannot control every human on this planet. But we CAN control our micro-universe (our kids/ nephews/ nieces, etc). We can teach them to be resilient. We can teach them how to get help. We can teach them to problem solve. We can also do our best to protect their innocence for as long as possible. Is giving them access to unlimited, unsupervised Internet and TV really the best thing to do? Do they really need to be on Facebook the minute they learn how to read or write? Heck, they do not even have to be able to do so. Watching videos does not require those skills. I understand that the mother might be a single mother, who is working all day and cannot supervise the child the whole time. But someone should… There needs to be time for parents to talk to their children so they have even a faint idea of what is going on in their kid’s life.
Bottom line is – the bully is not the only one to blame.