Ending Bullying is Everyone's Responsibility

Post originally appeared at Every Other Thursday.

The case of Phoebe Prince is well dPheobe Prince, a victim of ignorance and stupidityocumented in the regional, Boston media and in fact, has been spattered in some national news outlets as well. For those of you who don’t know about Phoebe Prince’s case, she’s the young teenager who, after being taunting and bullied for a quite some time, committed suicide by hanging herself in her home, only to be found by her 12-year-old younger sister.

Prince’s case is very sad. There are stories of “Mean Girls” calling her derogatory names, throwing things at her and doing all of the horrible things kids can do to each other.

Prince’s case got me thinking about the role as a parent when it comes to bullying.I have two girls, 6 and 3. I hope that I raise them to the point where they know that they can talk to me no matter what is on their mind. I also hope that they will treat people with respect, even if they might not like a particular person.

Now, I also hope that I raise strong, opinionated women that when they are challenged or threatened, that they will stick up for themselves or go to the appropriate adult to get the situation addressed, i.e. teacher, parent, etc.

With all that said, I also hope that I raise my kids in such a way that it’s ok to stick up for yourself. People that pick on you are trying to draw attention to others because they want the spotlight. They think it’s funny. Well, it isn’t funny any longer when you’re standing nose to nose and you give that person a quick zip to the jaw.

By no means am I promoting violence with kids. In fact, I’m against it. If all the appropriate tactics fail, sometimes you need to draw a line in the sand and get at it.

The other issue at hand is the role of parents when it comes to bullying.

Parents need to be on the ball. They need to know who their kids are hanging out with; what their mannerisms are; when they are acting “off; and, when they need help.

Parents have instincts and they need to follow them. Yes, your kid might hate you for bugging the crap out of them, but you have to try and get through to them. I know that’s easier said than done considering that I have just have to young daughters. However, my parents were always involved in every aspect of my life — whether I liked it or not. Anytime I was in a jam, they always had the answers for me or always helped me work things out.

I feel for the Prince family. This was an avoidable incident. I know that kids will be kids, but parents, teachers, friends and supporting adults have to be cognizant of the tell tale signs that a kid is in distress.

These bullying incidents should never happen. Period.