Even Bullies Have Parents : Parent and Teen Connection

Even Bullies Have Parents

August 14, 20130 Comments

father and daughterBullying cases seem to hit the media almost daily. In every single one, though, it’s rare to see parents even mentioned. This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by Columnist Joanna Weiss.

In bullying cases, where are the parents?

Where were the parents?

That’s what crossed my mind when I read about the lawsuit against Concord-Carlisle High School, from a girl who claimed she faced regular torment — her car keyed in the school parking lot, death threats scrawled on bathroom walls — and that the school did little to stop it.

It’s a shocking tale, as laid out in court filings, about property damage and ugly words and a culture that was clearly toxic. Nothing good is going to come from a group of sophomore girls who roam the halls calling themselves the “Sexy Seven.”

But as we hurl what might be justifiable blame at school officials, we also need to ask ourselves what’s missing from the story. What about the parents of the “Sexy Seven,’’ or anyone else whose name came up in the rumor mill? Did they know that their kids were accused of threatening a girl? And if they had known, would they have cared?

This is the actual crisis in parenting today: not whether we’re breastfeeding too little or helicoptering too much or feeding our kids the French way or teaching piano with Tiger ferocity, but whether we’re abdicating our biggest responsibility, to make sure kids treat each other humanely.

And the big question is whether this is a problem of denial, or just ignorance.

Before we go further, some caveats. We only know one side of the Concord-Carlisle story; schools have legal limitations on what they can share about students, especially when they’re being sued. (The district’s superintendent didn’t respond to an inquiry from me).

Also, if you’ve read anything about bullying — including Emily Bazelon’s excellent book “Sticks and Stones,” which takes an empathetic look at the perpetrators in the Phoebe Prince case — you know that these cases are often complex, the product of petty battles and hormones and crazy teenage brains.

Read more at The Boston Globe.

Parenting teens means being tuned in. When they were toddlers, it was easy to see where the next round of trouble might be hiding. Even though it’s more difficult now, you still can’t ignore the possibilities.

Even Bullies Have Parents

Article: Even Bullies Have Parents

Author: Joanna Weiss

Source: The Boston Globe

Filed in: BullyingParenting Teenagers
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