Anyone else disturbed by the latest surge in teen suicide/ bullying? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-10-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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Having watched this play out, I dislike the idea that kids who are "peer oriented" are less resilient to bullying. Because all kids *should* be at least a little peer orientated. If they aren't, they have a whole other set of problems.
The following research would support at least some peer orientation:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0928111126.htm
Excerpt:
Loners and antisocial kids who reject other children are often bullied at school -- an accepted form of punishment from peers as they establish social order. Such peer victimization may be an extreme group response to control renegades, according to a new study from Concordia University published in the Journal of Early Adolescence.

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Old 10-10-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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My sister was bullied sexually by a group of boys. The school knew and turned a blind eye. I don't think that this is a new thing.
Maybe it is location or times? I graduated in 1988. Plus, one thing I did notice is, I grew up in Iowa. My parents moved to Texas after I graduated. I came and visited them and visited the high school my sister was at the very next year. I found the students to be quite out of control at the school down here. I was shocked and tried to talk to my sister about it, but she just laughed it off. This is how it always is and it must be fine because she is earning all A's.

I like to believe that the school does matter. I am not of the crowd that thinks that you cannot change things, you cannot make a difference, lay down and accept whatever is handed to you because it will always be like this. At our local high school, kids are doing heroin and ecstacy on campus. I know some schools take a hardline agains that, including bringing in drug dogs and expelling permanently any students that are caught with drugs. I know where I went to school in Iowa, if you were ever caught with drugs, you were kicked out for good. I never ever knew of anyone doing anything beyond pot. I still speak to my friends back there, including friends who would know (public school teachers and a couple friends who work at the hospital) and they have never seen heroin or ecstacy incidents. Plus, they did not even know what "cheese" was.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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RE: NEUFELD

Neufeld's Canadian and I think is writing about the North American context relative to other places, rather than simply looking backward. When I saw him speak, he referenced going to a small community in Portugal or France or Italy (can't remember! ) and observing regularly occuring multi-generational interactions. This form of social structure has occured in different places of the world in different points in history, and likely does produce less bullying and better social order. Neufeld speaks to the notion of when you put children of similar social and emotional development together (ie same age), there is no natural order and so they create one (he uses chickens and pecking order as an analogy). I think he's talking about the ill-effects of too much time in the pecking order and too little time with more developed humans providing guidance. Those people can be parents, teachers, counsellors, youth workers, older siblings, members of your church, extended family, boys and girls clubs etc etc.

Many, many people romanticize the way it used to be. Here's some data:
http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/

Bronson's book Why Do I Love These People is a great read.

RE: BULLYING

I think we need to pay attention to history, but we need to pay attention to what's happening for today's youth, which is fundamentally different than it was a generation or two ago. When I went to school, I went home and left any social challenges back at school. A teenager today is potentially bullied on her cell phone on the way home, then bullied on the computer all evening at home - the victim has far less opportunity for escape. The senders of these messages can hit send with no regard for their real impact on others, and are operating with under-developed prefrontal cortexes that limit their ability to consider choices and consequences - the bully has less external control exerted on their impulses because there is no authority present or aware of what's being typed. I think the ubiquitousness of bullying opportunities and no breaks for the victims makes bullying seem worse.

I think bullying/anti-social behaviours are absolutely exacerbated by media. Media doesn't cause bullying, but kids are awash in really rotten images and this has to influence their understanding of "normal."

I don't think we have a concrete ability to compare past to current incidence of bullying because reporting and counting practices have changed. And I don't know that it matters so much - their world order is fundamentally different from the one I grew up in, and we have an obligation to try to stop/minimize bullying whether it's worse or not than it was a couple of decades ago.

I think that we need to help today's children and youth develop productive, mannerly, pro-social methods of communication and interaction given the new ways they're communicating with one another.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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Old 10-10-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I am disturbed by the news reports because the issue is so very disturbing. I agree that the nature of bullying has changed because of social media, but then again, so much else has changed because of kid's access to social media. I think that the world of preteens and teens is complex in a way that my generation never experienced. I'm thinking about how many layers of social structure kids navigate these days. There are day to day relations with peers in school, peers on sports teams or outside activities, but then there can also be a layer of online "relationships" with the same kids. Facebook interactions, cell phone, text messaging....I am amazed, and troubled by this. Not to say I am romanticizing pre-social media interactions, but it just seems that there's a lot here requiring a good level of social "IQ".

I'm really conflicted about all of it-my preteen is not on Facebook, doesn't yet have a cell phone (will soon), doesn't text or IM, and gradually this is seeming to set her apart. I don't want to open the door yet on any of it because my experience, hearing from dd, is that this is where the negative social interactions get played out.

Editing to say, that in general I think it's better to teach kids how to deal with tough issues, rather than shelter them. My post is just reflecting my own angst about the situation.
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Old 10-10-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I was bullied when I was growing up, but it was all in the form of teasing. It never turned sexual. Now days, kids are being beaten so horribly in school that they end up at the doctors office and torn clothes and such. Girls are being so heavily sexually harassed and mistreated and administrators know and turn a blind eye.
Sexual harassment bullying/rape are certainly not new either. We just have words for it now.

Did you ever read Catcher In The Rye? Near the beginning of the book, Holden describes the way his roommate persuades girls to have sex with him. It is rape by another name.

These are age old problems. Simply going back to the way things were in the olden days is not going to fix it.

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Old 10-10-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I think that we're just going to have to agree to disagree, because I see absolutely nothing in social history which supports that thesis.
I never meant to suggest that you agree with me. I meant to suggest that your read the book and then decide how your feel about it. The author's research is cited.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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Old 10-10-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Sexual harassment bullying/rape are certainly not new either. We just have words for it now.

Did you ever read Catcher In The Rye? Near the beginning of the book, Holden describes the way his roommate persuades girls to have sex with him. It is rape by another name.

These are age old problems. Simply going back to the way things were in the olden days is not going to fix it.
so true. Date rape happened in the 50's, but if the girl got pregnant she went to stay with her granny and the baby was put up for adoption.

We are much more aware and honest with ourselves as a society now, but these problems are not new.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-10-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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so true. Date rape happened in the 50's, but if the girl got pregnant she went to stay with her granny and the baby was put up for adoption.

We are much more aware and honest with ourselves as a society now, but these problems are not new.
I do not think we are more aware and honest. I think we still blame the girl.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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I do think though that the sexual harassment has changed. Holden, in that book, was not having sex with those girls on school property and then bragging about it in front of teachers and getting away with it. Kids are very open with their bullying now and adults seem to turn the other way. That is what is different. When I was a child, the bullies wanted to be sneaky and not get caught. They were more like Eddie Haskel. Perfect to your face, nasty behind backs. Now, kids can sexually harass other kids and it is hidden. A girl can try to file an assault charge and it is ignored or never filed. That is what it is like today. Plus, there is something very different between having one kid call another kid a name, face to face, and one kid going online and spreading horrible nasty slander about another, for the world to see.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:45 PM
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naw, it was like that in my schools, though. bullies would bully in front of teachers, and sometimes even teachers joined in, and admin and parents turned a blind eye and blamed me for being "different" and "a loner" and "antisocial" when i was really just an introvert.

anyway, that's a whole other deal.
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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naw, it was like that in my schools, though. bullies would bully in front of teachers, and sometimes even teachers joined in, and admin and parents turned a blind eye and blamed me for being "different" and "a loner" and "antisocial" when i was really just an introvert.

anyway, that's a whole other deal.
That was my experience, too. I was unpopular and I was teased, but I was never bullied. I knew a bunch of other kids who were seriously bullied, though. Sometimes even teachers joined in, and I have such a vivid memory of sitting in 8th grade science and the teacher making fun of one kid, who was a frequent target of other kids, and of thinking "this is so WRONG." My math teacher that year also frequently ganged up with the popular kids on the unpopular ones.

Honestly, I don't think that would fly today. I've worked in schools and there is sooooo much teacher training about respect and bullying that wasn't there even 10 years ago. Certainly not 20 years ago. Not saying that there aren't still some bad apple teachers with no concept of boundaries, but I think that most schools at least try to take things seriously. Starting in the very late 90s there were a rash of lawsuits about bullying that made administrators really understand that they needed to protect themselves.

And I think that everyone takes sexual harassment MUCH more seriously than a generation ago. Such a concept was completely unheard of until the 1970s (ever seen Mad Men?), and pretty much a joke until the 90s.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Bullying is nothing new. It's been happening for ages. The extent to which it happens-kids getting beat bloody, sexual harrassment etc, is nothing new either. That's been happening for ages as well. Teachers and other school officials turning a blind eye, that's nothing new either. And suicides due to teasing, that's all happened in the past too, that's not new either.

What's changed is the way that it happens (by text message on the cell phone or with facebook posts, instead of being cornered while walking home from school, etc.) Also, the media coverage has changed.

And honestly, I think the media coverage itself is partly to blame for the most recent rash of suicides. I don't think suicide on average has increase (though I don't have numbers) but I do think there's been a very recent uptick in the numbers. And I think part of that at least is that I believe that kids who wouldn't otherwise think of it on their own see one or two or three stories, on tv news, on yahoo, etc, and they think "man, at least that kid doesn't have to deal with it anymore." And suddenly a seed is planted. Now, to be clear, I am not saying that the news media is directly causing kids to try to end their lives. Only that because the idea is more prevelant out there, because of the media, there might be more kids considering it than otherwise would have.
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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Even if parents and kids are more similar in their tastes, and have more free time together then they did generations ago, the key element of the author's argument is that peers matter more and more with each generation. Moreover, peer influence is dangerous as peers lack the maturity and selflessness that parents (and other adults bonded to the child) naturally offer. As a result, peer oriented children are at greater risk for all sorts of things, including becoming bullies, and also damage by being bullied. While kids have always been bullied, a strongly peer oriented child is more likely to be crushed by bullying and to come to school with a gun, or to commit suicide than a child who has a world outside of their peers that they are strongly attached and connected to.
All of which I find kind of funny because I think parenting was much less connected in the days before birth control, when it wasn't really a choice, and that there are so many clear accounts of bullying in literature going way back. I mean Tom Brown's schooldays anyone?

I truly believe Newfield is myopic and distorts social history in a very self-serving way. What's more, I believe that his book can be interpreted in such a way that families do not support attachment to the community in their kids OR support developmentally appropriate friendships and that this in itself can lead to depression and so on. I'm not saying it's his intention but I have seen it implemented this way.

Although there has been some research on bullying and weak attachments, there has been competing research that suggests that bullying is related to respect in families, a family history of bullying (a strong attachment to a bully parent leads to a bully) and other things. Weak attachment often comes along with other issues - substandard caregiving in the first two years of life, socioeconomic issues - and I really think the jury is out on what the primary cause of bullying might be - assuming there is only one.

I was bullied in elementary school and I definitely engaged in some bullying behaviour in secondary. Same person, same attachments, same family - different results in different groups of peers.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:19 AM
 
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Interestingly, my DH who is a PS teacher just told me about a talk he gave in his 7th grade homeroom. the teachers had been alerted that there was cyberbullying going on among some of the girls and he explained to the class (without targeting specific kids yet) that the rules governing interactions between students in the classrooms and hallways apply to their interactions in cyberspace as well, that namecalling and such wasn't acceptable in any format, whether shouted out, written as a note or, worst of all, typed up on a messaging board for everyone to see, and that he wanted everyone in the class to consider whether they were playing by the rules or not until next week and maybe change what they'd been doing accordingly. From next week, disciplinary measures were going to come into effect. On my asking how teachers found out about cyberbullying, he said the students come up and tell them - usually those who have formerly been punished themselves! I think that's great - it doesn't mean tattling but that they accept that the teachers want to create a positive culture, trust them that they are enforcing the rules and want to help them doing so. (Yeah, and if there's a little spite involved, who cares if cyberbullying is nipped in the bud?)

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