Bullying has taken on new forms, and its consequences are more severe than ever before. A teenager becomes embroiled in a bullying scandal with racial undertones and her family grapples with the appropriate response.
Bullying At School
A father recently discovered that his daughter was involved in a group that bullied another student to such an extent that the victim had to switch schools. Shockingly, there was a racial element to the bullying.
This revelation was particularly distressing for the parents, who believed they had instilled values of kindness and honesty in their children.
The Consequences of Her Actions
Believing that a simple grounding or confiscation of electronics wouldn’t suffice, the father decided on a more severe punishment. His daughter would not be allowed to participate in significant high school events like homecoming or senior prom.
Additionally, she would not receive a car for her 18th birthday, a gift she had been anticipating. The father also mandated the deletion of all her social media accounts under parental supervision.
The daughter’s pleas to attend the senior prom and retain her Instagram account, which held years of memories, fell on deaf ears. The father’s stance was clear: She should not have engaged in racist bullying.
Family Divided: Punishment Debate
While the parents were united in their disappointment, the severity of the punishment became a topic of debate within the family. The grandparents, temporarily living with the family, agreed that what their granddaughter did was unquestionably wrong.
However, they felt that missing out on once-in-a-lifetime events and deleting years’ worth of memories from social media was too harsh a punishment.
Understanding Race and Racism
Race can refer to a person’s color, nationality, ethnicity, or citizenship. Discriminating against someone because of their race is illegal. Racial discrimination or racism is when someone is treated differently due to their race, ethnicity, nationality, or color.
This can be distressing for children and young people who experience or witness it.
Importance of Conversations
Children and young people might have seen images and stories related to racism in the news. It’s crucial to encourage positive and open conversations about race and racism with them.
These conversations should be regular and not just when significant events occur.
If it does happen, parents should talk to their child immediately after learning about the bullying incident.
This conversation should emphasize that bullying is unacceptable and will have consequences. It’s essential to remain calm during this discussion, avoiding any language that might shame the child but making it clear that they will face discipline for their actions.
Determine the Root Cause
Understanding why the child chose to bully is crucial. This insight will help parents address the underlying issues and tailor the discipline accordingly.
For instance, if the child is bullied to fit into a particular group, the conversation might focus on the importance of healthy friendships and resisting peer pressure.
Children need to understand that bullying is a choice they make and are responsible for their actions. They need to own up to their choices and accept the consequences.
Develop Logical Consequences
The discipline should be relevant to the bullying behavior. For instance, if a child used their phone to send racially offensive messages, a logical consequence might be restricting phone use.
Effective discipline often involves removing privileges. This could include taking away electronics, restricting social media use, or not allowing participation in certain activities or events.
Parents can also collaborate with the school’s disciplinary actions. This partnership reinforces the consequences of the child’s actions and shows a united front against bullying.
Teach Your Child
If bullying indicates a lack of certain skills, such as impulse control or anger management, parents should consider interventions or programs that address these areas.
Be aware that publicly shaming or humiliating the child, such as through social media, is counterproductive. Such actions can reinforce bullying behavior and should be avoided.
You can also help the child understand the impact of their actions by discussing the consequences of bullying. Encourage them to consider how they would feel if they were in the victim’s position.
Monitor the child’s behavior and continue to guide and discipline as necessary. Most children can change their behavior over time with the right interventions and support.
Bullying can have severe consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator. While punishment is essential, ensuring that it leads to understanding, growth, and change is equally crucial. Parents and guardians are pivotal in guiding young individuals through these challenging situations, ensuring they emerge as better, more empathetic individuals.
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Martha A. Lavallie
Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.