Open comment to my grandson

Last week Julia  posted about upcoming Anti-Bullying Week in the UK and I paused to think.  Bullying is getting wider coverage … perhaps it’s more prevalent; perhaps it’s of a more serious nature than it used to be; perhaps it’s because of the new venue for bullies in cyberspace.  I thought about the torment my daughter endured of which I was ignorant for far too long.  I have learned that her sisters were also victims in varying degrees.  Whether it was the bullying that came first, or the depression I’m not sure but even at 6 years of age I could see my daughter’s lack of self-esteem.

Today I read ShimonZ‘s post Free Thinker and I paused again.  As he said, “As a species, we are a herd animal”.   As youths we seem to have an inherent need to rebel against the status quo and yet just as strong is the tremendous desire to fit in, whatever we perceive that to be.  Most of us don’t want to be on the fringe where we feel vulnerable; we want to lose ourselves in the middle where we hope to be skimmed over by the predators who lurk and troll amongst us.   Some of us lose ourselves here in the middle – we slip into the gulf stream of the status quo, merging with popular opinion, accepted standards and traditional beliefs where we rely on others to evaluate if these are still the most appropriate opinions, standards and beliefs.  ShimonZ also said being a free-thinker takes more work.  It also takes more time and has risks – responsibility, accountability, culpability.

A week ago Amanda Todd, a 15 year-old Canadian girl ended her own life because of bullying but before she did so she told her story on YouTube and I paused, trying to comprehend the degree of anguish it must take to drive a young girl to suicide.

Last night my 11 year-old grandson, usually a sympathetic and compassionate soul, posted insensitive comments on his FB page about Amanda, and I stopped dead and hovered there over his words … this doesn’t sound like my grandson; surely this is a boy regurgitating sentiments he’s heard elsewhere, the sounds of an 11 year-old boy riding the wave to fit in.  The first response came from his aunt – the 6 year-old with no self-esteem, the one who was bullied and suffered depression, she responded quickly and appropriately.  Then his mother, then me, his nana.  I was gratified to know that we are all watching out for him; it saddened me that he had even made the post; it alerted me to the fact that he is entering that age of conflict.  I want him to understand that the apathy embodied in his words was the attitude of a bully; I want him to do the extra work to form his own opinions and truths and to have the fortitude to not waver from them and eventually the moral fibre to speak out that others may hear.

 

18 thoughts on “Open comment to my grandson

    1. I called him, thought he might have felt somewhat attacked on FB for his comment, which he did. We talked – it was important to me that he realize that teens killing themsevles shouldn’t be part of his ‘normal’. Afterwards I asked if we were good – yeah, we’re good Nana. That’s … good, then.

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  1. It is always difficult when our offspring stray from our beliefs and values. I am sure this was a momentary lapse in order to ‘test the waters’ . We had a similar event with our eldest (you know him well) and look how he turned out – a thoughtful and sympathetic guy!

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    1. My grandson is well grounded – what’s bothering me is what seems to be an apathetic view of teen suicide … ust another teen suidide. Our children shouldn’t be so inured to this subject.

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  2. A very thought provoking post Lynn. As “the older generation” we tend to be on the sidelines looking in. Once, long ago, we were “the elders” and would have monitored,advised and controlled the younger members of our “clan, family” but with nuclear families and no clan structure the children make their own clan among their friends, all young and the same age. Remember the book “Lord of the flies”….
    Your young grandson is lucky he still has a family group to watch over him, he will be OK.

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    1. Add too of course two working parents and the family structure is under even more stress. Probably each generation of grandparents say they wouldn’t want to be raising kids in today’s environment but each generation of parents seems to cope for the most part and as a society we are still able to produce productive, well-adjusted adults – for the most part. It is painful to see though, the ones that slip through the cracks.

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  3. I don’t remember bullying when I was a kid – I remember cliques that could make sure you realized you weren’t included, and some unkind remarks, but not really bullying. How sad that it has become something so prevalent. Good for you for working to keep you grandson on the right track!

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    1. I too remember the cliques, of which I was not a member, but not the bullying to such an extent as it seems to be today. There were some we thought of as bullies, but mostly they were just puffed-up up-starts who tried to intimidate with low level threats that I don’t ever recall being acted upon. The story of Amanda Todd continues in the news with the bullying continuing even after her death. Some outraged people are following them up, alerting parents to the actions of their children online and in one case, an employer who subsequently fired the individual.

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  4. I too have an 11 year old. It is so important to have eyes opened when the children we love are this age. Whether bullying or bullied, we have to step in as you and your daughters wisely have.

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    1. It’s another thing to remember too, that when we FB we tend to think we are just talking to our friends, but, of course, that is not so. We have to be vigilante that we are not inadvertently feeding fodder to bullies.

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  5. Your grandson is lucky to have a loving family looking out for him and providing guidance. It is a shame that not all youngsters have this. If they did perhaps all this bullying would not be the problem that it sadly is.

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    1. It is terrifyingly easy to have our children go missing into the labyrinth of cyberspace. There is also the lesson to be learned that what we put out there cannot be retrieved or withdrawn or expunged but it can come back at us to make our lives misery.

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