Recently, at a highly regarded public school in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, some girls were found to be using cyber bullying – the girls were later expelled. Are we satisfied with this? Was justice delivered? Yes, the bullies should be punished but was the punishment appropriate and, more importantly do we give up on them for the rest of their lives?
Different articles commenting on what happened mentioned that some teenagers at the school claimed that the school “has an entrenched culture of bullying mentality”. Others said that “a value of a girl depends on who she kisses”. Parents were advised to remove mobile phones and ban mobile phones and internet access at night. Other articles mentioned that being target of bullying and even being part of a group practicing bullying potentially “could create emotional distress and long-term harm” to people concerned. The cyber-bullies alleged online, that those targeted engaged in “sexual proclivities, drinking, drug use and relationships.”
There was a public outcry when this was discovered. Comments were thrown around about “how vile girls can be”, while boys may just beat or hurt each other. What’s wrong with this comparison?
There is a bully in each one of us. There is an angry, sad person in each one of us. This includes parents, employees, employer, children or teenagers.
Why are teenagers so angry? Why are children so angry? Is sexual promiscuity new among teenagers? Lets’ put morality aside for a moment! Why does sexual promiscuity among teenagers scare us whether in public schools, elite private schools? Why do teenagers say that oral sex is not sex? Is it so that the boys can get sexual satisfaction without actually calling it sex? Why is a girl called “stupid” or “geek” if she doesn’t have oral sex or sex for that matter, and “slut” if she has sex or oral sex?
Quite an onus on schools to fix all these, don’t you think?
Let’s put fairness to schools aside for a moment!
Is it healthy for parents to demand from, or allow schools to fix these kind of problems? At the same time some parents abuse teachers and principals when they do take action.
Are the movies at fault? Let’s put movies, internet porn and TV aside for a moment!
What happens in the home? How are they teenagers talked to and listened to? How do the parents talk amongst themselves, with friends, with the checkout person at the supermarket, over the phone?
As a parent, be honest and open yourself to yourself. Ask yourself what you need to do every day to be present and supportive to strengthen your children. Not to spoil and indulge, but to enable them to learn about who they are and trust themselves.
We can’t eliminate bullying entirely, but we can eliminate our own bullying which will impact on others. We can’t stop all teen sex; but we can learn to talk kindly and openly about love and sex; about sex and feeling confident in a relationship. Teens aren’t adults just yet, they need guidance and advice, even if they grunt and you think they don’t understand you, they do.
When we learn how to be secure in ourselves, know what we like about ourselves, and what we like about others, when we know how to see others, and relate to one another, then teens and adults can stop seeking acknowledgment through sex but through love and trust.
Let’s now bring back morality, fairness to school, movies, and internet porn and television that previously we put aside!!
If you’re fully dedicated, committed to learning and re-learning how to be a mindful parent and to relate in a mindful way, your teens will learn from you to be mindful and trust themselves and get what they really need. Parenting requires continuous change and adaptation, from one year to the next. You need to start NOW. A single weekend workshop won’t suffice. It will illuminate you; it will create catharsis and leave you out in limbo. You need a strong mindful shift to move into mindful parenthood. To stay physically fit and healthy, you need to go three times a week to gym, and walk every day. You need to do the same for parenting skills; build up those parenting muscles and keep them fit.
Build up your teens’ mindful life strategies and have them practice these strategies. They might be bullied and with mindfulness be able to bounce back and not feel harmed. They may be better able to resist unwanted, unloving sex. With mindfulness they can create a new community of strong teenagers at school, a community towards which others will choose to join. Bullying will continue. But your teens will be stronger and better able to deal with it.
Catherine Varga – Copyright 2010