Now that our children are back to school and settled in, I would like to discuss a subject that seems to be increasing in frequency – bullying. As Christian parents, how are we to handle bullying, whether our children are being bullied or are the bullies or are the persons standing by watching or video-taping the bullying? This is a challenging and complicated subject because as Christians, we immediately think about Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).
But is that really what the Bible instructs us to do?
The following incident just recently occurred at a high school. A teenage student walked off the campus and was pursued by another student, who kept verbally taunting him. The victim hung his head and did not respond to the constant taunts. The bully caught up to the victim and hit him in the jaw, breaking it. There were other students who were standing around watching and some were even video-taping the incident with their cell phones. Adults passed by in vehicles. No one did anything to intervene and stop the violence. It was only when one of the videos was posted on the internet, did the community find out about what happened. My heart ached as a mother to hear about this victimization and brutality.
Bullying is too difficult a subject to fully address in a short blog, but there are a number of helpful websites. I especially encourage parents to visit and read the information on THIS WEBSITE. One of the leading experts on bullying is Paul Coughlin, the founder of The Protectors, an anti-bullying movement, whose own daughter was bullied. Mr. Coughlin helps parents learn about bullying and teaches what they can do, in turn, to help their children. He calls it “bully-proofing” your children.
Bullying can be very devastating to children. Prepare yourself and your children for it so no one is caught by surprise if and when it does happen.