News that an area girl had taken her own life flooded my Facebook page last Monday. The 13 year old had taken her own life because of bullying. The pain this family must be feeling is unfathomable.
When I read stories like this I can not imagine the pain suffered in order to take these extreme measures. This girl is a year younger than my own daughter. I know kids are mean and these days they have more outlets for their bullying.
When we lived in a smaller town (just 5 minutes from the small town this girl lived in) my daughter experienced bullying from some "cool" kids. While she had plenty of good friends, she did encounter some hassling. Now that we are in a larger city, the bullying is rare. For her anyway.
In the past few years, suicide due to bullying is being talked about more and more. My daughter's school has weekly anti-bullying/self-confidence assemblies. Her and I talk about it from time to time. I was sad to learn that a lot of the students couldn't care less about the weekly discussions and find it to be a waste of time. She told me they often joke about it. Even my daughter feels this way. It makes me wonder where I may have went wrong with her. Is it the immaturity that makes them feel this subject is a waste of time? Or is it because they are not personally feeling the effects of bullying?
When I put myself in the shoes of the bullied kids, I think of them sitting at the anti-bullying/self-confidence assemblies praying that today is the day their bully will "get it" and realize how much it hurts to be bullied.
Unfortunately, it's sad events like this that remind us to discuss bullying with our kids. Just like any other issue, if you're not faced with it on a daily basis, you probably don't think about it often enough.
The family of this girl is strong. It has only been 4 days since her death and already they are standing up and speaking against bullying. They are asking that negatives actions and words not be used against the people bullying their daughter/sister. I don't know that I could be that strong.
On one hand, I want these bullies to pay for their consequences but on another, we need to remember they are young kids, full of hormones and immaturity. I feel a small amount of compassion for the bullies because I imagine they never thought what they were doing would lead to a suicide.
I don't believe bullying will ever stop. All we can do is keep talking about it and make others aware that words can hurt, even kill. We need to listen to our kids, watch for changes in their behavior (both positive and negative).
If you think your child is being bullied or if your child is a bully, take action now. Don't wait until it's too late.