« Color Me Modest | Main | "How Is Married Life?" »

February 17, 2010

Comments

Rosemina

I agree with many of the points you made. It is definitely commendable that schools are starting to broach the subject, however, there is much more that needs to be done.

From what I understand, cyber bullying is much worse than traditional bullying because it invades kids in their homes, which is considered their safe haven, and are unable to find an escape from harassing messages.

I've recently come across a website called KiwiCommons.com that provides an array of useful resources and information pertaining to internet safety, including cyber bullying. You should check it out, you might find it useful.

Alexandra Foley

Interesting post. As a parent, I cannot but wonder what is going on with parents. Don't parents want their children to be good, decent, upright citizens? Sure, a kid can have a double life of sorts, but my guess is that most parents know that their kids are bullies. We cannot raise our children without a moral compass and then scratch our heads when they turn out like this.

Also, what is the cause of all the insecurity in the bully's life? As we know from experience and every tv show on the planet, a bully is usually so because he is hiding a deep wound or insecurity. Parents have to love their children and sometimes loving your child means being strict with him. Maybe it is all the "buddy parenting" that is causing bullies to thrive.

Wendy

Erin,

Thanks for this. Obviously I'm biased because I devoted a whole chapter to this question in my recent book, but I think this is such an important issue and the points you raise are crucial.

I think yes, a lack of respect for boundaries in general has made bullying so much easier. But I also think it's important to remember how we got to this point, and the way in which certain people were ideologically committed to the idea that aggressive girls are desirable, and that we ought to raise more of them. Well, it's now happened and it hasn't worked out very well.

It is perhaps true that being "nice" was once overvalued in girls, but I don't think that means we ought to abandon inculcating all inner virtues such as concern for others (as some do, thinking that the more 'bad' and tough, the better and the more intrinsically liberated a girl is). This is a false empowerment--of 'I' only--and I think we are long overdue for a more sophisticated definition of empowerment that takes others into account.

Rose

I teach dance (ballet) to teenage and pre-teen girls, all beautiful and amazing in their own right. It is painful to know that they may be suffering at the hands of other girls, when there ought to be support, camaraderie, and direction provided by parents, teachers, etc. While I think identifying the underlying causes is crucial for widespread change, what as an individual, a wife but not yet a mother, can I do? How can I encourage these girls to value themselves and each other? I'm wary of coming across as preachy, or an adult to be dismissed. Any thoughts?

Erin P

All good points, ladies. Keep them coming!

To Rose's questions, I do have a couple thoughts about your situation as an adult teacher/mentor. I am a middle/high school art teacher myself at a private all-girls Catholic school.

A good way to model positive peer exchanges can be introduced using the idea of "critiques." In art class, for example, students create artwork which we then come together to appreciate and discuss as a group. There are many interesting ways to critique. You can focus solely on students practicing giving positive feedback to one another or you can teach students how to give both praise and constructive criticism.

In sharing in each other's process, students come to see hidden talents in one another and learn how to embrace and compliment them rather than compete against them. It becomes a safe arena for feedback and exchange. And you can even talk about how this is a life skill - how you treat and dialogue with the people around you all the time. Do you do it in a fair way? Do you try to find strengths in people? Do you look for what you share in common?

I like what Wendy said about our working to redefine female empowerment away from something self-serving and self-centered into something more gratifying and soul-satisfying in long run: Encouraging and drawing strength from each other's talents. Often, this is how we grow and excel in our own.


The comments to this entry are closed.