The Buck Stops Here

Hello! Thank you for joining me, taking time from your busy schedule to give my blog a quick read! I appreciate it! We’re on Week 3 of the Youth Series and today I will be talking about a subject that is prevalent, it’s become a hot button issue with very little solutions: today, we’re confronting bullying.

Now, I hope you guys have learned over the last few months that Koach Phee generally takes a somewhat unconventional approach to topics I chose to discuss and today will be no different. Most of the articles I have read or conversations I have heard discussed on this topic, in my opinion, puts the responsibility on the victim of bullying to change the situation. Others may not agree, but, that is my opinion. Parents tell their children, and rightfully so, to stand up for themselves, confront the bully, tell the teacher, tell a trustworthy adult, don’t back down and the advice goes on and on and on. And while all of that maybe true, it does not change the fact that the responsibility is still put on the victim and not the aggressor to change their behavior.

With the start of a new school year, bullying is something that will happen, everyday, in every school all across the county. Regardless of how many PSA’s, bulletins, emails to parents or info children bring home attempting to address the issue, hundreds of children will be singled out by others with the intent purpose of belittling them. I myself was bullied throughout my school years, even in high school and now, I worry about my son facing the same challenges I once had to endure. Can I be honest?? This upset me. Actually, it more than upsets me. It makes me angry and I want to lash out at not only the perpetrators but also their parents, because let’s be honest, this starts in the home. However, as an adult, a constantly evolving and maturing adult, I recognize that aimless anger never reaches it’s target. To only express anger at a situation without a plan of attack would be fruitless and not equip my child with the necessary tools to navigate his way towards life in general. So this here Mama Bear has come up with a plan to attack the real issue!

I think it’s extremely difficult to come up with solutions or strategies without a clear understanding of what your problem is. Bad, unruly children are not the real problem. Different economic groups or social status is not the problem, social media is not the problem. In my opinion, these are symptoms of a much larger and deeply rooted problem that society is experiencing. Somewhere along the way across society, civility has gone out the window. Frankly, we as a society have lost the art of being civil, talking to others with respect, not blaming others for everything that’s wrong in out lives. We speak harshly, we say terrible things about people, even those we consider friends, we single people out and we pick apart how they live, what they drive, what they wear, who they date…….as our children sit back and not only listen, but soak up each and every single word, every single action. And what has become our norm, is now theirs.

Feeling bad about yourself? Go find someone who appears to be worse off and highlight their struggle. Want your way in order to feel validated, come through like a bulldozer and force others, through either words or actions to go along with how you want things to be. It’s a sickness. Have a problem or issue with someone? Don’t like what they said or what you heard they said? Go on social media and air out your grievances. There’s even a word for it, it’s called “dragging”. You’ll get lots of likes and shares and comments. Folks in the “amen corner” will mosey on over and fall in line, as dutiful soilders in your little social media wars, as we spread more hatred, more vitriol, more bullying. And our children sit back and watch and learn how to interact in the world.

That is the problem, we are the problem. We have infected our children with our disease of meanness. We’ve raised children who are unkind simply by being us and never putting any effort into learning conflict resolution skills. We’ve put things as the focal point of our lives and our children have learned to measure themselves by what they have rather than who they are. We notice characteristics and are invisible to actual people. We notice your size, how you talk, how you walk and we’ve passed that along to our children, whether we realize what we’re doing or not. It’s easy to spot: how often have you said or heard someone say, “they’re not on my level”? In essence, that’s basically saying someone, another human being is somehow beneath you. We judge others by their last name, as though a name alone can tell you who a person is or determine their worth.

We have normalized rudeness. We have normalized being mean. We have normalized passing the buck. We have normalized not equipping our children to be kind to their classmates. And we hide behind: kids will be kids, we all go through it, it’s a rite of passage, kids are too soft today. Excusing the negative behavior of those not being taught in the home how to be civil. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we mock kindness, we laugh at those attempting to bring light and laughter and love into the world. As our children watch and learn. “Please”and “Thank you” seem to be a foreign language for many of our children. You want a public service announcement??? Here goes: children live what they learn! Even the word says if you want a friend , show yourself friendly!!

I have a few quick points to confront or address the issue of bullying right where it starts:
1. Talk with your children. Find out what’s on their minds and hearts. Eliminate their need to seek validation through bullying other children. Make it a priority to help them feel secure.
2. Shift your perspective from me and mine to us and we! Listen, until we learn to have empathy for others, regardless of their situation, we will never be able to teach empathy to our children. Even if we feel a person has brought about their own dire circumstances, that does not excuse us from making a choice to be kind, loving and inclusive. When you make it a priority to help others, even with as little as a kind word, we are teaching our children that words matter, words can change the experience of another person. We have the power within us to at least care.
3. Stay informed about your child’s behavior when you are not present. Many parents appear to be clueless about how their children act when they’re not around. Teach your children to share and make time to find out if your lessons are hitting home. Ask their teacher and other adults how they act, how they talk, if they include other children. And be willing to get honest feedback!!!
4. Cultivate an atmosphere of kindness! Just like we have the ability to adjust a thermostat to get a more comfortable temperature, we have the ability to adjust ourselves when we know we have been rude or short or just downright angry. Make it a priority to surround yourself with decent honest folks who will call you out, in love, on unwanted behavior. Don’t settle for being less than your best for yourself. Someone is watching you, your child!

Please, join me Sunday evening at 7 pm in Koach Phee’s Playbook on Facebook Live to discuss this. Please like, share and comment on the blog!! See you then!!! 

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Koach Phee

Koach Phee is the licensed owner and operator of Koach Phee Life Koaching. When she's not busy helping her student achieve their greatest potential, you'll find her spending time and making beautiful memories with her son, Zion.

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