Why is it that so many young people are so loathe to talk to their caregivers about bullying? The more I ask students this question, the more often they tell me some version of this frustrated rationale.
Every school has at least one bully. The child that, no matter how vigilant the school is, finds a way to make other children miserable.
Family rejection, discrimination in our communities, discriminatory enforcement of laws, and hostile school environments all play a part. But let's focus on how the climate in our nation's schools puts many LGBTQ youth at greater risk for being criminalized.
When I was product testing my children's book Ella's Tummy: A Story of Understand for All Ages -- in other words, having kids read it and tell me what they thought -- one very bright eight year old girl said she thought it was mean that I, as the author, called the main character fat. This was an interesting response, because the book is about fat bullying, and how it is not okay to do it.
My daughters are only preschoolers now, but the thought of them experiencing half that cruelty at some point makes me shudder. Like any parent, my husband and I strive to raise compassionate girls who practice kindness.
It started on a seemingly innocuous Wednesday afternoon, as I pulled into the parking lot of my children's grade school to drop something off. As I negotiated my parking space, I waved at Sue, another mother, who was walking out with her son Chandler. She did not wave back. Neither one of them looked happy.
Bullying. A word that has only gained in intensity and power despite its frequent use. Everyone is outraged by bullying. It's the hot topic at parent meetings and "zero tolerance for bullying" has become every school's catch phrase. And rightly so.
It's National Stuttering Awareness Week, a time to raise awareness about stuttering, a time to be more empathetic, and a time to learn how to handle yourself when talking to a person who stutters and not be awkward in conversations.
Parents -- your kids are going to eventually develop the good sense to wear a jacket and eat vegetables, invest your energy in how they interact within society. If we insist on being the hovering Helicopter Parent Generation, let's at least hover in the right places.