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Old January 25th, 2013, 02:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talk to your kids. And hug 'em while your at it.

Just heard from my wife that the son of one her close college friends took his own life yesterday. Thirteen years old. Star student, star wrestler, textbook American family. It is thought today that bullying was the deciding factor.

Just goes to show that even popular kids with everything going for them can feel like there is no way out.

As the father of a kind of awkward and not so popular thirteen year old boy, this scares me, and breaks my heart beyond belief. I can't imagine not having him in my life every day, and I mean to tell him that every chance I get.

Talk to your kids. Be a pain in the ass, and dig into their personal business. We're parents, it's our job. Just because it seems like everything is dandy, doesn't mean it is. His parents never saw this coming.

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Old January 25th, 2013, 02:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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13? That's shocking. I really feel for the family.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That is a sad, terrible thing. I can't imagine. I hug my boys every chance I get (they're 6 and 1) and dread the days when they no longer think that's "cool." I can't imagine my life without them.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would be a basket case full of worry if I had kids. There is no end of bad things that can happen to them, bad things that they can do, and bad ways that they can turn out.

The bullying problem really gets me. I'm ashamed to admit that I did some things to other kids. Not physical, not public humiliating, but little fake-outs that I thought were funny and that I could get away with. I was also very fortunate to have friends in my corner in case someone wanted to mess with me.

It appears to me, from the outside point of view, that bullying today involves internet and videos more than physical abuse. If that's true, we need to understand how that kind of bullying leads to such a startling and horrific outcome. I remember trying to explain to my mom why I needed black low-top Converse shoes. It wasn't because I wanted to be cool, it was because I didn't want to stand out and be open to mocking. So, I wonder if the extremely public aspect of humiliating seems like a permanent record of how inadequate, or whatever the word is, the victim is. If I were taunted by three kids several blocks from school, that would be one thing. But if they taunted me on the internet, that could be worse than hell. Is my little theory right, that it is the internet that makes modern bullying so vile and fatal?
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Old January 25th, 2013, 03:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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During my last 15 years in Law Enforcement, I worked as a School Resource Officer. We handled any law enforcement problems at the school, but our main job was mentoring students and assisting them in any way we could.

My last 2 years I worked at a high school. It was an upper middle class area and and good school with lots of parent participation and administration who were very pro-active.

I spent a lot of my time dealing with Facebook and internet bullying. This was everything from name calling to actual threats against someones life.

When I was a kid, bullying happened at school, then you went home and was able to get away from it. Now, thanks to the internet and cell phones, the bullying and intimidation can go on all day and night. There is no relief for a lot of these kids. Making up fake Facebook pages with the targets name and allowing others to sign on as friends to harass and embarrass them online seemed to be pretty popular.

I shared coping mechanisms and ways to react when confronted with bullying. I even did assemblies where I talked about what bullying does to the ones being attacked, and brought in people to share their stories.

Unfortunately, we still had situations come up. The school administrators acted quickly when it happened on campus, but anything that occurred away from school, they couldn't discipline for unless it related back to school, such as threatening to beat someone up at school.

I agree, parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing online and on their cell phones. Most parents I dealt with were quick to pull the plug on their kid's technology if they were bullying someone. But many kids keep quiet about who is bullying them because they are afraid the harassment will get worse.

And the girls seem to like using Facebook for their bullying the most.

Yes Larry, the internet is the weapon of choice now, and the kids have real problems dealing with it.

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Old January 25th, 2013, 03:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes Larry, the internet is the weapon of choice now, and the kids have real problems dealing with it.
Yet another reason why any of us not in their generation have trouble relating to this and addressing it. We all grew up without that internet factor.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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During my last 15 years in Law Enforcement, I worked as a School Resource Officer. We handled any law enforcement problems at the school, but our main job was mentoring students and assisting them in any way we could.

My last 2 years I worked at a high school. It was an upper middle class area and and good school with lots of parent participation and administration who were very pro-active.

I spent a lot of my time dealing with Facebook and internet bullying. This was everything from name calling to actual threats against someones life.

When I was a kid, bullying happened at school, then you went home and was able to get away from it. Now, thanks to the internet and cell phones, the bullying and intimidation can go on all day and night. There is no relief for a lot of these kids. Making up fake Facebook pages with the targets name and allowing others to sign on as friends to harass and embarrass them online seemed to be pretty popular.

I shared coping mechanisms and ways to react when confronted with bullying. I even did assemblies where I talked about what bullying does to the ones being attacked, and brought in people to share their stories.

Unfortunately, we still had situations come up. The school administrators acted quickly when it happened on campus, but anything that occurred away from school, they couldn't discipline for unless it related back to school, such as threatening to beat someone up at school.

I agree, parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing online and on their cell phones. Most parents I dealt with were quick to pull the plug on their kid's technology if they were bullying someone. But many kids keep quiet about who is bullying them because they are afraid the harassment will get worse.

And the girls seem to like using Facebook for their bullying the most.

Yes Larry, the internet is the weapon of choice now, and the kids have real problems dealing with it.

John
Very insightful post, thank you.

Not to stray off topic, but what are your thoughts on corporal punishment?

Maybe I'm too much of a simpleton, but I think a lot of these kids who bully others could use a simple lash or three.

BTW, Nice thread Jake.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My brother's youngest chose to check out at 17.... 2 weeks after graduation.....
I make it a point to be as close to my only child (16 year old son), as possible. This means that I piss him off on a regular basis... but we are very close.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Very insightful post, thank you.

Not to stray off topic, but what are your thoughts on corporal punishment?

Maybe I'm too much of a simpleton, but I think a lot of these kids who bully others could use a simple lash or three.

Google it. The evidence is that it doesn't work and has a negative result.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear of the loss of another youth. Bullying is bad stuff. I know I was bullied as a kid, but like John said above, I could get away from it when I went home.

I can only imagine what the parents of the child here involved must be feeling.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I hug my boys, and girl, and tell them I love them, every time I see them and every time we are departing from one another. They are 30, 28 and 24. My oldest was bullied and we worried about him for a long while so I know the feelings.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Truly tragic. It is just so sad that nobody is able to convince kids that it will get better - I know as a teenager things can seem so important and as though they will never ever get better, but the things that seem unbearable at 13 are silly memories in no time.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I remember school...being popular was THE major task at hand. If you weren't popular, nobody wanted to be seen with you, no girls would talk to you, and no adult quite understood your pain.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That's terrible.

I've been bullied before, yeah it sucks. But definitely not worth killing yourself over.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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my kids are not popular and they don't care. at least that's what they claim. i hope, for their sake, that it's true (the not caring).

We all played Cadoo last night , that was a lot of fun, except for me learning that my old eyes often can't see through the red cellophane to read the secret word anymore
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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my kids are not popular and they don't care. at least that's what they claim. i hope, for their sake, that it's true (the not caring)
I'm not an outcast, but I definitely air on the side of being one.

It's better to be true to yourself than to try and be popular. Props to your kids.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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no matter who you are, a few kind words, as i've experienced here, makes so much difference to your day if not more

the reason i love this place is it's full of people who want to improve things

i see no point doing otherwise
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Old January 25th, 2013, 05:01 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I made it clear to my kids, that only losers voluntarily check out, before the Big Man takes them. I got the same talk from my dad. "once you're dead, you're dead a long time, and you will soon be forgotten." Screw that, I says, I'm not going until people are sick of me, and I've become a burden to my children. My son was particularly tough. His mother told him, he was the reason for our divorce. I reamed her a new one. He knows the truth now, and has matured into a wonderful young man. I also have a wonderful daughter that I thank god for. She has never suffered from lack of attention or ambition. She's perfect. Kids need to know they're important to you.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 05:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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First off I hope the boy is at peace and I pray for his family.

A sad component of the story is how shocked the family must be; I think many parents (and I can refer to most of my friends) think that academic and athletic success equals well balanced and happy kids. Anyone can be profoundly sad and feel worthless.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 06:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Is my little theory right, that it is the internet that makes modern bullying so vile and fatal?
I think so. Just look at the high profile instance recently with the fake internet girlfriend of the star college football player. I could see that driving somebody off the deep end.
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