PARENTS ARE TO BLAME
A new concept of accountability is entering our society as we begin to take bullying a lot more seriously. Parents being fined for bullying. Yup, that’s right. In a few places, to include one in upstate New York, parents are being held accountable right in a spot that sings, their wallets.
We’ve all experienced bullies. From personal experience (as their bullier or bullied) or through an empathetic eye, we know what it is like to feel that hurt. Bullying tends to feed off of bringing out insecurities that usually are manifestations of what the person ‘dishing it out’ is going through. (Or some rooted issue in jealousy, envy, or another green-eyed monster inside of us.) Although some chalk it up as being apart of adolescence with the recent attention to mental health, suicides, and self-harm bullying has been brought to light.
There is even a national organization that is dedicated to stopping cyber and in-person bullying in our country. With tips, training, and laws this site is specifically focused on supporting adolescents navigate the world of bullies. As we know, in the world of raising children they are the responsibility of the “parent” or an adult figure until they come of age- turn 18 that is. As parents, we are charged with feeding, clothing, and instilling a sense of civility in our children’s lives. Insert you overhearing me ask my 22-month-old daughter if her recent action of throwing her milk at me was kind. While I hope that parents (and caregivers in general) do the best they can to teach their children manners and kindness just because ‘mama says so’ doesn’t mean our little angels will listen. Children are humans with their own minds, emotions, and personal issues they battle. With this comes different interactions and some of these might leave them in the “bully zone” to others.
In some towns around our country, to include a town in New York, North Tonawanada are beginning to fine (and potentially jail) parents of children who are reported to be bullying. The standard breakdown is parents get a message of the incident along with a specific amount of time to work with their child to overcome the bullying and if an incident happens again after the allotted time the parent can face fines and up to 15 days in jail. While I am a fan of teaching children not to bully and creating systems of accountability I am left to wonder how this will be implemented. With the current communication that gets lost in translation paired with the realities of hurtful bullying, how can we ensure we know which is which?
Charging parents for bullying is still a new concept and one that I am sure will continue to spark controversy. Will this actually create a change for the next generation and prevent bullying or will it play into creating more systems of biases by providing tracking of humans that are subjective? How do we support parents to hold their children accountable? How do we fight bullies when we so clearly see them throughout our country and world (hell, we elevate them at times.) Bullying is a real thing but the issue lies so much deeper than the moment something harming and hurtful was said to another. Bullying is a cry for help to a fundamentally broken piece of a person. So how do we support that? Instead of fining with money how can we take the same energy to heal?
Personally, I think that money should be parlayed into counseling sessions for the child who is bullying others to see the beauty of themselves. What are your thoughts? Let us know below!