Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breaking the Bullying Cycle

I have been sharing my story for years as to how I used to be a bullying mom and invariably people respond with either a thank you for inspiring them to take responsibility for how they have behaved and then there are other subscribers who demand to be taken off my list having been triggered by what I have shared.

I was out last night at a friend's house for dinner...a retired teacher and one of the kindest and loving women I know. She isn't a big news watcher so I caught her up on all the coverage of bullying lately and of course she was very interested having been in the school system for 35 years. (just as an aside, she is definitely not one of the negative examples that the documentary Waiting for Superman highlights.)

I had shared with her that I felt there had been an abundance of talk about the effects of bullying but not a lot on how to actually break the cycle. My friend was absolutely shocked and of course saddened as we all are to know how this cycle has permeated so deeply in our society.

Neither one of us can understand why more people aren't talking about how kids don't become bullies once they hit the school grounds...the conditioning starts way before then!

Our kids watch our every move...they overhear our overt comments and also take in the implied messages we send to them.

They are in the back seat as we curse at the driver who cut us off and hear us complain how "those" people...from whichever country they mention, can't drive.

They are within earshot as we judge and speak of our intolerance of other's lifestyle choices.

We yell, demean, disrespect and otherwise bully our front of them.

We separate or divorce and the impact of our meanness to each other is engrained in them.

I'm not saying I have all the answers, nor that I am a perfect role model or that my kids are perfect angels but what I know for sure is that if we don't stop and take a look at what we are modelling, we will keep feeding this insidious cycle...more lives will be needlessly lost...more families torn apart...

We have to start being aware of what we are teaching them remembering that our kids look up to us, they think we know everything and will adopt our beliefs and behaviors because they don't know any other way.

It's a common sense solution...being the best role models we can be for our kids will make a huge impact on breaking this cycle...and hopefully one day for good!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I was a bullying mom...

It took me a little while to collect myself this morning before writing my blog. I had to wait out the tears that flowed from hearing all of the bullying stories that have been profiled in the media heart breaking for all involved, not only the bullied but the bullies as well.

The tears continued to flow as I connected with profound gratitude...I was grateful that I was able to shift my behavior and prevent two more kids from becoming victims or perpetrators of this epidemic, these children being my own.

You see I was a bullying mother.

This morning one of the news programs highlighted that they didn't believe that the bullies see their behavior and I agree wholeheartedly...I didn't see mine...but my kids sure did...but they didn't have a voice to tell me.

One day I woke up and became aware of what my behavior was teaching my become timid and fearful walking on eggshells around my moods or model my meanness and judgment.

Now I didn't look the part, although is there an identifiable look anyway? I didn't necessarily display my behavior for the world to see...but nonetheless I humbly admit that I was a bully.

Once I took responsibility for what I was teaching my kids, I became a different mother...a better role model and a voice for every child who hopes that the role models in their lives can muster up the courage to take a look in the mirror too...

I believe that everything we experience in life brings us to what we are meant to do. After taking a good look at myself and consciously choosing to change was the catalyst that ignited not only my passion to make a difference but my compassion as well...we all do the best we can until we know otherwise and awareness is the key!

We really do live in a mad mad world...but I know it can change...but we have to be that change!

No child is born a bully...let's be the best role models we can be for them!