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Where Do We Draw the Line with Bullying?

My daughter recently told me about an incident with some of her friends. A group of them were together singing, dancing and having fun. One friend, a free spirited, earnest girl, was enthusiastically participating, feeling secure in the trusted circle.

My daughter heard another friend, who had a cell phone with her, laugh and say, “Let’s record her,” without the other girl’s knowledge. My daughter said no, feeling intuitively that it would be inappropriate.

This incident brought up several issues for me.

- All the girls involved in this scenario are really nice, kind, good girls. In fact, I feel very fortunate that my daughter is surrounded by such wonderful friends.

- I was in the room, and had felt uncomfortable with the cell phone in this particular situation. But I did not take it away.

- Our children are living in a new world where everything they do has the potential to live forever online, whether they upload them or not.

- Was this a potential incident of bullying? I’m not sure, but I think so. And I am proud of my daughter for knowing it was inappropriate to record another friend without her knowing.

Bullying has happened throughout the ages. In the last few years though it has gained more media attention – from Lady Gaga to Demi Lovato to tragic incidents where young kids have been humiliated both online and offline, and it has ended in the worst situation imaginable for parents.

Kids can be mean. Perhaps it’s part of their exploration of boundaries and their power in social circles. As parents we can teach our own kids the importance of kindness, respect and treating others as we want them to be treated. And, we can guide them to stand up to bullies.

I tell my daughters that when someone is being mean to them, it’s more a reflection of that person’s insecurity. Of course, when my daughter was teased by a friend and locked out of a room, I was livid with anger — not really accepting my own advice and immediately thinking “What a little b….!” Yes, I will admit my own thoughts waver often from what I aspire to be as a good mom.

In our first episode of Perfectly Imperfect Parents, my co-hosts, Dr. Cara Natterson (author of The Care and Keeping of You books by American Girl) and Dani Modisett (author and creator of the book and play, Afterbirth) discuss bullying. We would love your thoughts on how you have addressed this issue with your kids. We can all learn from each other!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well to get updates on the latest episodes of Perfectly Imperfect Parents!

More on conscious parenting by Mallika Chopra:

Back to School Bliss!
Talking to Children About the Batman Shooting
Mommy Days – Balancing Work & Kids (in a somewhat frenzied way!)

Read more: Children, Family, Life, News & Issues, Teens, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Mallika Chopra

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87 comments

+ add your own
4:54AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Thanks

11:37PM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Oh Yes STOP it when it starts! So it doesn't go any farther!
Then no one has to go home and worry at all! Too much stress for these children to take!

7:56AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

ty

2:41AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

I think there should be zero tolerance when it comes to bullying.

10:27PM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Where do we draw the line?

ZERO TOLERANCE ...

That's where!

12:08PM PST on Feb 22, 2013

The thing about it is, it's not just kids who are bullies, mean-spirited hateful, vindictive or cruel. Everytime I see Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, or Newt Gingrich paraded out into public view to spew vitriol, I can see WHERE our children get the encouragement to behave as if they are somehow better than some of their peers. Every time I see a nasty "meme" on a website that vilifies the "other," whether I agree with that "other" 's point of view or not, I see where our children get their penchant for making fun of people who don't agree with them. And every time I see some silly stupid flame war on Facebook or the Internet between GROWN ADULTS, I see how our children learn that it's okay for THEM to bully - but not for others. If we want our kids to behave, we have to model mature give-and-take, rather than to go for the gut of the people who don't fit into our own "clique."

6:20PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Great article. I think we need to constantly reinforce the idea to kids of empathy. Teaching our kids to stop and think how they would feel if that happened to them. I am not saying that we can get rid of bullying, but it can help ease the problem if we properly educate children,

4:10PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

The emotional wounds of bullying last a lifetime.

8:22AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Thank you!

10:49AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

thanks

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