In era of ram­pant bul­ly­ing, par­ents must take ac­tion

The Covington News - - OPINION - DOROTHY PIEDRAHITA COLUM­NIST Dorothy Fra­zier Piedrahita wel­comes reader com­ments. She can be reached at ufra­zier2001@ya­hoo.com.

The Jan. 15 edi­tion of The Cov­ing­ton News fea­tured a story that saddened me for many rea­sons.

The piece was about a gang of girls who went to a man’s home and made threats as to what they would do to his daugh­ter. This story brought out many ques­tions and emo­tions. Why did they do this? What is wrong our chil­dren?

Th­ese girls made a de­ci­sion to go to this home to cause trou­ble.

In the an­i­mal world, there are “al­pha lead­ers,” dom­i­nat­ing the herd or the pack, such as wolves, as de­scribed by L. David Mech’s “The Wolf: The Ecol­ogy and Be­hav­ior of an En­dan­gered Species.” How­ever, our chil­dren are hu­man be­ings, not al­phas and pack mem­bers.

I’ve worked hard to raise kind hu­man be­ings, teach­ing them to shy away from be­ing con­trol­ling al­pha an­i­mals.

I was al­ways con­cerned about my son’s wel­fare. He was bul­lied in the sec­ond grade, of­ten com­ing home from school cry­ing.

I de­cided to make him aware of the world he was born into, teach­ing him to stand up for him­self. I will not re­peat here what I ex­plained to him that he had to do, but he un­der­stood. As he opened the front door to go take on the boy who was bul­ly­ing him, my heart was pound­ing. When he re­turned, he said he had done as I had di­rected him. He

A par­ent’s job is to take care of his/her chil­dren, and some par­ents miss the boat en­tirely.

chil­dren, and some par­ents miss the boat en­tirely.

When I read that ar­ti­cle about that fa­ther, I de­ter­mined that he ap­peared to have han­dled this fam­ily cri­sis in the best way he could. It is up to the par­ents of that gang of girls and the law to han­dle them. It is my hope that the daugh­ter in this case will keep her mind straight and lis­ten to her fa­ther.

How bad will it get in 2014?

I fear it is go­ing to get worse un­less all of us try to do our parts to help our chil­dren. “We the peo­ple” must do what we can and never stop try­ing to help im­prove the lives of the bul­lies and the bul­lied.

As adults, we must be wiser. We can’t keep skimp­ing on deal­ing with our chil­dren.

The child bul­lies among us are treach­er­ous. Do you think they are learn­ing their be­hav­ior from adults? I am just ask­ing. .... wasn’t cry­ing, was proud of him­self and was never bul­lied again.

How­ever, later that evening the mother of the boy who was bul­ly­ing my 7-year-old came by my house, say­ing she wanted to speak to me about my son. I stopped her be­fore she could fin­ish her state­ment and told her, “You need to stop your son from bul­ly­ing chil­dren, or he is go­ing to get him­self in trou­ble.” I also told her to tell her son what I told my son to do. I never knew what hap­pened to that kid, but my lit­tle boy never had any more prob­lems from any other chil­dren.

My son’s bul­ly­ing prob­lem was solved by my use of psy­chol­ogy, my mi­nor in col­lege (with a so­ci­ol­ogy ma­jor). My ap­proach might not work in all cases, but do­ing noth­ing wasn’t an op­tion.

In my opin­ion, the fa­ther of the young girl in The News’ story had to pro­tect his daugh­ter from this mis­di­rected gang of girls. And the par­ents of those girls must stop them be­fore they find them­selves in jail.

Let me say here, I am anti- bul­ly­ing. As a teenager I was bul­lied, but like most peo­ple I never con­sid­ered phys­i­cally harm­ing the per­son who bul­lied me. This is not to say I didn’t stop the bul­ly­ing. I did, with­out vi­o­lence, and my par­ents never were aware of it.

But it seems that too many kids to­day, like that gang of girls in the news story, and other chil­dren who take weapons to school, can’t stop them­selves.

Bul­ly­ing can be about any­thing th­ese days. Sure, it still can be name-call­ing, kick­ing and push­ing. How­ever, in the 21st cen­tury, we also have what is called cy­ber­bul­ly­ing, the post­ing of mean-spir­ited mes­sages about a per­son online. Some­times it’s done anony­mously and some­times not. This term was first used in 2000.

It seems as if our chil­dren are vic­tim­ized in all sorts of ways, both those be­ing bul­lied and those do­ing the bul­ly­ing.

What is so tricky for me is this: How can a par­ent not know that his/her child is bul­ly­ing or be­ing bul­lied, and only learn when a crime is com­mit­ted? A par­ent’s job is to take care of his/her

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