Friday, June 10, 2016

And the "Mother of the Year" Award goes to...

NOT this mom.

When this popped up on a friend's wall on Facebook, I had to comment. The original post and subsequent comments have since been taken down, but the gist of what I had to say was this:
This is an example of bullying. There are better ways of teaching a lesson. Instead of publically humiliating her daughter, she could have had her donate her long hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. She could have her spend some time volunteering with childrens' hospital cancer patients. I've spent enough time with mental health practitioners to know that this is not the best way of teaching a lesson. 
The only thing that this is teaching this teenager is that those who are stronger WIN. Where did this girl learn to be a bully? You don't have to look very far to see.

My oldest daughter (who turns 14 today) was bullied relentlessly in middle school. It ramped up to such a degree that she self-harmed in 8th grade and was hospitalized in a behavioral health facility not once, but twice. The first time was voluntary, the second time she was Baker Acted. It was quite honestly the worst time of my life.

Bullies aren't sociopaths that just materialize out of thin air. They learn the pattern of behavior of tormenting those who are weaker. My daughter's bully admitted to a teacher that his parents let him "talk like that" at home. He is on the path to #BecomingBrockTurner. There's a continuum from allowing kids to be entitled little buttheads to becoming a bully to becoming a rapist. It starts with being permitted to be mean on the playground or pick on others. When those behaviors aren't nipped in the bud and respect for others isn't instilled from an early age, it just escalates.

You don't have to slap a scarlet "A" on someone and put them in the stocks in the public square to "teach them a lesson". If that's your go-to for dealing with stupid teenager behavior, then I posit you need some parenting classes because it's an #EpicParentingFail. According to research at MIT, "the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s." You can't expect a 15 year old to be operating with the full set of parameters that an adult would.

Parents of bullies, this meme is for you.

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