Monday my timeline was flooded with smiles and couple of frowns of children returning to school. Summer vacation is officially over. I will admit that going back to school was exciting… for the first week. Fresh clothes. Fresh shoes. And I was back with my friends that I hadn’t seen all summer.
Then reality sets in. School is school, and at times it can be stressful.
Teachers, homework and friends are enough to juggle throughout your journey from Kindergarten to High School. Bullying is another component that children deal with and it can take a toll on their mental health.
When I was in school, it was common for friends to crack jokes on one anther. I was always the victim to the “you are so black…”, “your nose so big…”, “your teeth so big…” jokes. Oh yea. Let’s not forget the jokes about being a nerd for making good grades.
I mean sometimes the jokes came so frequent that I had to second guess if these were really my friends because some of the jokes would actually hurt my feelings. But of course, I would simply fire back with jokes of my own.
Luckily, we barely had the Internet (I say barely because we had dial-up) and every kid did not have a cell phone. I did not have to worry about social media and cyber bullying.
I can’t imagine a picture or video being posted of me for the entire world to comment. At a young age, and even for adults, this can be devastating. I have seen it first hand…kids can be ruthless with their comments.
My parents would tell me that it wasn’t nice to pick on others and every family does not have the resources to provide things like the latest sneakers or clothes. But once the adults are not there, the jokes will fly. Not knowing that there can be a thin line between joking and bullying.
Just like some of the jokes that hurt my feelings and affected me in some type of way, I'm sure some of the jokes I said had the same affect on others.
With the start of this school year, let’s keep in mind that making good grades may not be the only problem that a child faces. We must acknowledge and correct the obstacle of bullying that many children face on daily basis.
Being aware of a child’s concerns is a great way to help them deal with any issues on bullying. This begins with listening to them. Not just letting them talk while you text your friend and give an occasional “yea” or “oh ok”. But actually listen to their issues and provide them with the assistance that they need. This goes for parents, teachers, mentors, and whoever else.
We will all be amazed how much we can help a child by simply listening to their needs. Let's help them succeed in making this school year a successful one.