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Do You Love Your Kids … Getting Picked On?

I read and hear a lot about kids being bullied lately. Probably for the history of human-kind people have gotten teased, or have been getting picked on, but recently it seems to be presented as a new phenomenon.

I’m a simple man. My assumptions are that parents should teach their children to love EVERYONE (which means not picking on others). And if children are being picked on then I’d also assume it’s the parents’ responsibility to teach their children how to deal with kids that haven’t learned how to be nice. There’s no better time to learn this lesson than in childhood because it’s a lesson that will be useful for the rest of their lives.

I know some bullying does get out of hand. I realize some kids are relentless in their torment of others. That’s life. Because everyone is free to do as they please (thank God) this means some people won’t choose to be sweethearts all of the time.

What I don’t understand are parents that expect school systems and teachers to be responsible for how all kids interact. Teachers are not babysitters. They have specific jobs (math, science, physical education, etc…). They don’t all have degrees in child psychology (most don’t) and not all of them have been parents.

If you are a parent it is your responsibility to teach your child how to get through life. There’s no one to point fingers at when your child has a hard time dealing with life. Life is not a bed of roses. It’s not easy. But if you have kids it is YOUR job to raise them and YOUR job to look out for them.

I’ve seen lawsuits being raised lately because school officials weren’t paying enough attention. Parents wanted their kids sheltered from bullying. Yes, if there is something flagrant going on at school and no one pays attention, I can agree a school may hold some responsibility.

On the other hand, who I really hold responsible are parents who aren’t involved enough or don’t pay attention enough to their childrens’ lives.

A lot of teasing can go on. Basically everybody is fair game. Teasing could be based on race, gender, hair color and a whole variety of other reasons that kids can’t do anything about. But the number one thing that children get picked on for is something that their parents are responsible for and can do something about 99% of the time.

The most popular reason to be picked on is for being overweight. The study I read recently says 63% of kids that get teased were picked on for being overweight. This is a trend that SHOULD be easy to change. But it’s only easy if parents pay attention and care.

First of all, why are so many kids overweight? I’m no pediatrician but I’ll bet my house I have correct answers to that question. Most people I’ve come across have unhealthy diets and just as many don’t exercise. And even if parents know how to properly care for themselves, in today’s world it seems quite often they either don’t know how or are afraid to lay down the law for their kids. Not enough children are being told no.

When a child asks for something, too often parents find it easier to say okay than to deal with the whining that comes after a, “No.” Kids need to be told no. They need limitations and actually even desire them.

What kids don’t need are lots of junk-food and sugared cereal to munch on all day. What kids don’t need are hours a day in front of the TV. Too much TV not only lets them become complacent, it gives them an abundance of opportunity to eat and a lack of exercise; both mentally and physically. All together this can make for an overweight and undereducated child; a child who could become an easy target for teasing.

If you love your kids, give them quality food to nourish themselves with. Let them enjoy natural sugars that come with fruits and quit buying the soda-pop to drink. Apple juice and lemonade are perfectly acceptable alternates for Dr. Pepper; I promise.

If you love your kids, kick them off the couch. Get them outside and running around or roller-blading or doing something physical. They’ll be happier kids and, later on, happy adults. Life goes in circles and we must pass on good lessons to the next generations then it will be their responsibility to do the same.

And instead of blaming teachers for not putting an end to bullying, if you have kids, keep an eye on their online activities. You don’t have to look at their Facebook pages. People can turn a blind-eye to whatever they want; as long as they don’t complain later. If you want to know what’s going on in your kids’ life and stop problems before they arise then stay involved and talk to them.

Look at the outlandish and often crazily-obscene things kids actually put on their social-networking pages. If you want to know who’s going to be fighting after school or who fought during school it’s all posted online. Pay attention.

Don’t expect teachers to do a parent’s job.

Love your kids. Guide them. Mold them. Just like a good parent should…

Ken McCardell

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