I’ve seen every horror movie ever made and I have never been as scared as when I saw this…

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This weekend I watched a documentary on Netflix titled, Bully. I have never seen anything like it in all of my days. I was horrified, mortified, terrified, and unshakably frightened. It follows several families of children that are either being bullied or actually commited suicide as a result of the bullying that they endured in their schools.

There simply are no words.

My fellow preemie Moms, I don’t know whether my advice is to watch it so that you can be aware of what can happen if you let the line of communication drop with your child or tell you to please save yourself and never, ever see what I saw. One of the worst cases of bullying that was featured was a 26 week preemie that was now 13 years old. He had obvious social issues and glasses…oh my goodness, ladies, I cried like there was no tomorrow through the entire thing.

There were two things about this documentary that made me so infuriated that I saw red:

1) The laissez-faire attitude of the school systems and teachers alike concerning the bullying that was reported repeatedly to them.

2) The attitude of at least one of the sets of parents as to how to address a child that is being bullied.

First of all, I witnessed several different school’s administrators and teachers take a “boys will be boys” approach to the fact that these children were being bullied, repeatedly, by the same children, and do very little -if anything at all- about it when it was reported. I didn’t see parents of the bullies being brought in, punishments being handed down, and I even saw one teacher admonish a child that was being bullied for not shaking the hand of a bully (that had threatened horrible acts of physical violence that would be considered assault in the adult world) with the statement that, “not shaking his hand when he is trying to apologize makes you just as bad as he is”.

Hold the phone, here. If a child is being threatened with physical violence and is literally crying in your presence, how can you call yourself anything resembling a person that cares about children? My heart broke into a million little pieces for the poor children that just kept trying and trying to reach out and get help for what was happening to them and the repeated lack of understanding or action that was taken in their defense. There is no excuse. Boys will not be boys. This kind of occurrence needs to be addressed in schools and there is no reason for the things that I witnessed to continue after it is made known to the teachers and administration. Ever.

Secondly, one set of parents (that I am sure probably thought were doing their best) just did not do their due diligence in communicating with their son or following up with the school to make sure he was thriving or, at the very least, not being victimized by other children. This child obviously looked like someone that other children would target. He had already been picked on in the past that they knew about. Yet when the parents saw it for themselves (the documentary crew actually feared for his safety so much that they stopped filming and alerted the parents to the atrocity that was happening to this poor child) they had such sage pieces of advice as, “If you don’t stand up for yourself then your younger sister will be picked on when she gets to high school and what are you going to do about it?”, and “Do you like when they hit you?”.

Steam was coming out of my ears.

That child needs someone to stand up for him. He had issues with communication and expressing himself. He didn’t read social cues properly. What he needed was parents that backed him up and stood firm and told the school that this was not okay and if he continued to be treated like that then they would go to the school board. If the board didn’t listen, they would go to the state. Stand up for your child! Pay attention to what is happening in their lives. If he won’t tell you right away, keep asking. Don’t ever give up on them.

He was being brutalized on that school bus. Drive him to school. Look for grants for a private school. Get him in a martial arts class. Get him in therapy. DO SOMETHING. Do anything that you can. That is the number one job that we have as parents. Baking cupcakes and kissing boo boos is all secondary to keeping them safe. Accidents can happen and life can throw you something that you may never anticipate and that, in and of itself, is scary enough…don’t let your child continue to be mentally tortured where they are supposed to be safe.

The part that we have to truly see as parents is that children do not have the fully developed brain capacity that we do as adults. There is no “better tomorrow” for them. They haven’t developed that part of their brain yet so for them, everything is the here and now. If they think that people hate them and they are being put down and abused at school then that is the way they think that life will be forever. It won’t ‘make them stronger’ or ‘better people’. Some may not even survive it.

Kids as young as eleven years old are killing themselves. Dead. Forever. All because of bullying.

Talk to your children. If they say they are being picked on, listen. Go to the school. If the school tries to blow you off, take them to another school. There are grants and programs that will help you with transportation. There is no excuse. I guarantee you that the parents of the children that are gone from this world would tell you that they would give anything –anything– to be able to go back and do something differently.

Get involved. If your child seems like a loner and won’t talk…keep bugging them. Keep pestering. Open the lines of communication. Be active and be involved.

And if you are the parent that finds out your child is a bully…make it your mission in life to make them see what harm bullying can do. Don’t just ground them or take away their gaming system. That is a punishment, not a lesson. Go find every sad story, book, and video you can about the deaths that it causes. Make them watch it and write 1000 word essays on it. Take it seriously or they never will.

Boys will NOT be boys and words CAN kill. Take a stand against bullying with me.

http://www.standforthesilent.org/

http://whatdoyouchoose.org/

http://www.uft.org/our-rights/brave

http://www.stopbullying.gov/

Pacer.org/bullying

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Parenting Parenting and Childhood Development

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

21 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I haven’t watched the video, although I plan to do so. I don’t understand parents that don’t intervene when their child is being bullied. I would do ANYTHING to keep my children from hurting like that. Including home school if it came to that (something I’ve always said I would never do!). And, lord help me if any of my kids ever bully….they will KNOW that it’s wrong.

    • Get your Kleenex out. It’s hard. But we need to know as parents so when our kids come home and say things we don’t brush it off.

      And watching this particular set of parents will make you so sad! I kept saying over and over to Chris, “Can we adopt him?!”.

      He deserved so much better. 😦

  2. It is our job to redirect our children when they do wrong. You’re right. We need to listen more, and act directly, whether our child is the victim or the perpetrator.
    This is bullshit already. Kids aren’t born cruel They’re taught to be. They learned it from somewhere.

  3. I haven’t seen this and probably won’t, but it’s a tough issue. There is some level of teasing that’s to be expected, boys or girls. I worry about my middle man since he’s such a little guy. I’m not looking forward to how he’ll get treated once other kids realize how sensitive he is. I have discussed martial arts with him. We’ve even had to encourage him to stick up for himself to his 1 year old little brother!! It makes me sick when adults let kids down, but it’s what happens when assholes have children. Finding a strong school district was our #1 priority when we bought our house. I sure hope it makes a difference.

    • We were saying (since the doc involved a lot of small towns) how lucky we are to live in a big city. I can move Jp to a different school of I need to. They zone you here but you can appeal.

      And what I saw, wasn’t teasing. It was pretty bad. It was worse than pretty bad. It was horrific. And if those kids knew they were being filmed I can’t imagine what happens off camera.

      • I figured it was bad. Small town USA always seems either really great or really shitty, depending on your lot in town. It’s good to have options. Cool is in private preschool because its cheapest we could find. I hope it doesn’t soften him too much for public school. Lol.

      • Lol kids always take a little crap (it’s part of growing up) but I think if they’re being hurt or they are afraid we have to intervene…even though it wasn’t like that when we were kids. These kids were waaaaay worse than anything I remember from school.

        It’s just a different time now than when we were kids.

        And I’m sure if Cool was being bullied you (especially your wife) wouldn’t just let him be treated the way I saw kids being treated. It was hard to watch and not hug your own kids.

  4. I worked on a call line for children As part of the training we did a few workshops on bullying. Some of what I learned has been very useful. Once one of my little ones was being annoyed by a boy. It was quite relentless. She eventually told me. I said I would go in but first I suggested the next time he annoys her she look at him and shout loudly at him, “Do NOT do that to me again!” It worked but recently she told me she added, “My dad is coming in to find you”. Anyway whatever she did it I think it got to him. As parents the course told us if you move your child due to bullying you have a good chance of seeing it happen again. You need to equip your child, and teach them how to act and react.

    • I agree, in a way, but it’s a double edged sword. I wouldn’t want my child having to physically defend himself everyday.

      And that is what boy-boy “standing up for yourself” looks like. Here, it’s a more violent culture than the one that we grew up in. Kids bring guns and knives to school. It’s not as safe as when we were kids.

      And the doc that I saw showed more than annoying a kid. It was vicious and hurtful and there may be a chance that he would be bullied again but there is no way I would sit back and let my son be treated that way in his most formative years. So if the school wouldn’t do anything to protect him then I would. It’s not fair or safe to ask him to fight his way through school.

  5. That’s a documentary that I’m definitely going to find. My son BJ has caught up to most of the kids in daycare with his size. But, I still worry… we don’t know what the long term effects fhis prematurity may be. If I found out someone was bullying him I don’t know what I would do. It’s not acceptable EVER.

    • Jp caught up within a few months! Pediatrician said she’s never seen anything like it. 🙂 But Jp has his lions share of the after affects and the social issues are something that truly worry me. I know he’ll grasp the language itself but the issue with what he takes in could be a lifelong issue and that will make it even harder for him to make friends.

      A strange but true fact is that I am pretty grateful he’s a pretty child…I hoped that will always help him in that area. But one of the children (that was socially awkward and “didn’t make it through”) was a beautiful boy and every time his story came on the screen I just fell apart.

      I just know that no matter what (when you watch it you will see what I mean) I will never be one of those parents. I will fight like a mamma lion to keep him safe.

  6. I don’t think I could handle watching this – which is why I’m glad you wrote about it. It’s an important reminder to not always brush off social problems as “normal.” I agree with some of the comments that equipping children to deal with bullies is useful, but like you said, once it reaches a certain point, we MUST step in.

    • Trust me, I would have never picked it, either. But my husband saw the beginning and told me there was a preemie in it…I just had to.

      I think the most important lesson that I learned is that we have to be involved because no one will fight for or stand up for our children the way we will.

  7. Thanks for this post. I’ve had the movie in my queue for a while now. I was worried it would upset me. You have shared everything I could have taken from the movie, so now I don’t need to watch it. Problem solved.

  8. I’ve been aware of the movie for a while, but I haven’t watched it. I know that it’s going to be heartbreaking. The thought of anyone picking on my little boy is more than I can bear, but I know that I would be there to fight for him. The thought that kids are being victimized and don’t have support from the adults in their lives? Absolutely devastating.

    I’m still trying to decide if I should watch it.

    • It’s painful to watch but I think it gave me perspective. Some schools don’t take it seriously enough and they literally try to snow the parents. It’s awful.

      And the kid that didn’t have support broke my heart. No matter what happens, Jp will always have me. 😉

  9. My son hasn’t caught up size wise and it honestly scares me to death. He’s 17lbs at 14 months actual.

    In sixth grade, I brought home a D in Literature. I was always an A/B mostly A student who ADORED reading, so my mom knew something was up. There was a girl sitting behind me in class who would thump me on the back to the point of bruises. Despite a close relationship with my parents, I didn’t confide in them. I got lucky and my teacher ended up going on maternity leave and we got a new, wonderful teacher who adored me. My mom gave that school hell over it, and I grew a major backbone.

    That is the really scary part of preemie parenting. You have absolutely no way of knowing what you may face in the future when development is interrupted in the early neurological development phases like it is for all preemies.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I think especially for preemie moms it is scary. Jp is literally right below the line for ECI so he doesn’t qualify but it’s close. Too close to think that mainstreaming is going to be easy. I can already see huge social issues between him and his peers. But without a diagnosis (which preemie isn’t yet) it’s hard to get him qualified for services. That’s why I had to watch it.

      It’s a different world than when we were kids and I wanted to know what bullying looked like now. If it ever was half as bad as I saw I would homeschool (even though the mere idea terrifies me).

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