On April 21, 2016, Mr. Chas Ames published an article in The Suburban Times titled, Just Another Lakewood Loss? If you have a child, grandchild, great grandchild, niece or nephew or maybe a kid in the neighborhood you love, I submit to you that Mr. Ames’ work is a mandatory read. Click my link above to learn what Mr. Ames has to say about bullying. If you don’t, the price you pay may be your child.
Mr. Ames, you are right on target with your life saving article.
Parents, I cannot tell you how many times I heard these mournful words, “I had no idea my son or daughter was………” (fill in the blank).
Many of my cases as a Juvenile Officer involved investigations related to bullying including cyber bullying especially on social media. I saw first-hand the devastation wrought by this kind of uninformed and unacceptable bullying behavior. Often the devastation reached both the suspect and victim along with their families and friends.
My experience investigating bullying incidents taught me our kids must and I say, “must” learn three life skills to enjoy early and long term success in life, including not becoming a criminal or victim.
(1) Learn RIGHT from WRONG
While we can debate the value of attending church and Sunday school, exposing your children to an appropriate and constructive active church life can do wonders for developing a bright moral and ethical compass for your child.
Our public schools try to help but they have been fairly well gutted for over twenty years in terms of their ability to teach RIGHT from WRONG. Our schools are afraid of our kids. Our schools current “hands-off policy” means schools no longer have the ability to met out consequences for WRONG behavior.
Parents can choose to take charge of teaching their children RIGHT from WRONG. Parents are still free to dole out consequences for WRONGFUL behavior including lawful corporal punishment. No, I did not say physical child abuse. I said lawful corporal punishment. If your child tries to bluff you with, “Mom and Dad, you can’t touch me and if you do, I am going to call 911 and have you arrested,” ignore that. You are in charge, not your child. For more details supporting your parental rights, look at Use of force on children – RCW 9A-16-100.
Sometimes it can be confusing for a child, or adult for that matter, when deciding if a particular contemplated action is RIGHT or WRONG. The easiest way to sort out RIGHT from WRONG is to use what I call the YouTube video test.
Imagine if what your child is thinking about doing were to appear on YouTube video all around the world until the end of time. Would they be proud or ashamed?
Would a child be happy to know his or her friends, parents, teachers, grandparents, neighbors and future prospective employers would be able to watch the child in some particular action such as bullying another child, smoking weed, underage drinking, shoplifting, assault, sex crimes, burglary or taking and sending naked selfies (child pornography)? Ashamed? Don’t do it.
Conversely, if YouTube shows a child helping a senior citizen who just fell down an elevator shaft with two bags of groceries. Proud? Do it.
“It’s never wrong to do the right thing.” – Mark Twain
(2) Learn to say NO
If your child develops enough backbone or confidence to be able to say NO to bad ideas originated by the child or promoted by others, your child is in control rather than having the child’s peers control his or her behavior. Many children are not properly prepared to stand up against peer pressure or pressure from a deviant normally trusted adult. A true friend or loving relative never asks a child to do something that is wrong which includes deviant sexual activity.
(3) Learn to TELL someone
Learn that it is okay and smart to share important information with a trusted adult such as a parent, grandparent, teacher, police officer, minister, doctor, nurse or school counselor.
Teach “If you see something, say something”. Anyone who is afraid of being labeled a snitch, tattletale or rat is allowing the evil-doer to control their life and action. If you see something WRONG and do not TELL, you can be judged to be as guilty as the actual perpetrator under the doctrine of complicity.
If you see and tell, you are not a snitch, you are a hero. Telling someone that a fellow student is being bullied may save a life and if the bully is allowed to benefit from early intervention, we can possibly save the bully from becoming a criminal. They are both children and we should want to help both become quality fully functional adults. It is in everyone’s long term interest to act on, “If you see something, say something”.
These three lessons, once learned, can serve for a lifetime. While my days of being a kid are lost back in the 1950s, I am still well served for having internalized these three principles.
Recently a friend asked me to help him with a project. He unwittingly suggested a plan of action that includes an element of subtle lite WRONG doing. I plan to apply the three principles to keep myself out of trouble and to possibly help keep my friend out of trouble too.
The best and most important time to learn the three principles is when we are young.
Use five words to help your kids remember three important life skills.
(1) RIGHT & WRONG.
(3) SAY SOMETHING.
Do this well and Mr. Ames will not have a need to reuse his title, Just Another Lakewood Loss? for a repeat heart breaking article. With everyone’s help, there can be an end to this madness.
Mary Hammond says
Excellent, Joe. Thanks for writing this.
Kimberly Hutchings says
I can’t tell everyone the heart ache I have for the family of the girl who took her life.
To be bullied is horrible.We must do everything we can to help these young people to
know this kind of behaviour from someone is not ok.This is not cool or funny.
When I was younger me parents told me”kids can say the cruelist things”and
“kids will be kids”This is beyond cruel.Our children need to know that they have to
tell someone.And we as parents and adults have to listen and hear what they say.
Springbrook Connections Kimberly Hutchings
Charles Ames says
Thank you, Joe.