Right now, our world as we knew it, has been completely turned upside down! There’s a pandemic out there that is scaring the bejesus out of us all! Our first responders (medical personnel, firefighters, police officers) are fighting with everything they’ve got whilst facing an extreme and before unheard of, lack of essential safety equipment. Times are tough. People have lost their jobs, unemployment is rising every day, social distancing is real and becoming tougher every day. We are all feeling pressures on us we never knew we would face! Parents are homeschooling and working from home, trying to balance this new normal as best they can, yet the minute they complain about it, others are very quickly putting them down and this really bothers me! I’m reading all of these Facebook stories/quotes/heartbreak moments that are trying to both scare parents with horror stories of children dying alone and to make parents feel bad for getting frustrated with their children after being stuck at home with them day in and day out!
Here’s the deal: don’t try to make me or any other parent for that matter, feel bad because I/we need to frigging vent! We know people have got it tougher than us! At no point in time have we said “woe is me!” or “I am in the worst position ever!” What we’ve said, had you been listening, is “holy shit!” – I really appreciate teachers right now! I really appreciate going to work, I really appreciate those few minutes I have to myself daily, I really love my kids but 24/7 is too much sometimes and I just need to vent without being judged and made to feel like the weight of the earth should rest on my already very weary, very overworked, overwhelmed, completely out of my comfort zone, feeling sorry for everyone in the entire earth including myself, shoulders! Stop it! Stop making us feel guilty for venting! We are doing the right thing, we are staying home, we are trying to be the best people we can be right now, but sometimes we get shitty, sometimes we want to scream out loud that we don’t want to anymore! Don’t throw shit in our faces about our babies dying! Don’t try to make us feel worse! We are in this position because we love our children so much that we are already feeling guilty we aren’t doing a good enough job at being parent, teacher, comforter, friend (because they can’t see any of their friends right now) 24hr guardian and everything else in between! Please just stop! Your tactics aren’t working to make this world a better place, they are simply making the good people out there; the people who are literally trying to be all things to the little people, feel even more like shit!
Let’s lift each other up, not put each other down! Let’s realize everyone needs to vent and for the most part, we are all trying to do the right thing and support our doctors and nurses, our medical technicians, our paramedics, our firefighters, our police, our military, our shop assistants, our shelf packers, our truck drivers, our construction workers, our funeral home workers, our delivery drivers, our scientists and researchers and laboratory technicians working day in and day out to find a vaccine, even a cure, our teachers who are still trying to figure out their new normal and how to best help their students, whilst juggling their own new normal, our restaurant chefs/cooks, kitchen hands and assistants, who are still making us food, but delivering it now, and all those who continue to work to help us get through this very difficult, crazy time.
Note: This was originally written in 2016, updated April 2nd, 2019.
Today I have been reflecting on being a female in this world. There have been so many books, blogs, articles, you name it, written about young girls and how to give them the strength to face society as the best women they can be, but it is tough as a parent, to watch your child struggle with social situations in her ‘tweenage’ years.
My eldest daughter is 11 going on 12 this year (2016). She is incredibly smart, in fact, one of her teachers (a professor) just told me that he thinks she is incredibly gifted and wishes there was a formal gifted program at their school. Instead, he has started a high-level reading program with 5 students (our daughter included) that meets once a week during their lunch break to read and discuss whatever current book they have selected. It works well for our DD as reading is her strongpoint. It was always mine too. Forget Mathematics, give me a book any day, although she is mathematically minded as well.
Although eldest DD is very gifted when it comes to reading, she is lacking in some social skills and I’m not sure how to help her. She desperately wants to be popular but for some reason, isn’t well liked. Neither of us encourage her to seek popularity, rather to make a couple of well-trusted friends, but she just wants to be liked anyway. We try to understand what it is about her that other kids her age don’t take to, but we just don’t know. She is highly liked by adults/teachers and her own siblings adore her, particularly little sister. But what is it that she does, or how is she behaving when we are not in view, that is making her peers not take to her? She brought home a note last Friday that really upset me. It was from another student saying how much everyone dislikes her because she has a smart mouth. We tried to find out more about what this meant, but I truly don’t think she herself knows or is aware of, what she is doing. How does one rectify this? How can I help my daughter better socialize at school? She is always very polite and sweet. She can be bossy, yes, but swears she isn’t at school. She used to be a leader but now she is more of a follower because she so desperately wants others to like her that she has given up on the things she wants to do/play at school, doing seemingly, only what others want. I really worry. All this on top of being a girl in a society that is slowly improving, but still judges girls by their looks, their weight, their smile.
She hates her smile too. She needs braces and now with the whole dentist fiasco (was supposed to get them in Korea but didn’t because it wasn’t a very good deal) will have to wait some more. How can I instill in my beautiful girl all the wonderful things about her when she is already judging herself so harshly? Wondering what she does wrong that makes people dislike her? Hating her smile? The great thing about her though, she is full of confidence on so many other levels. How can I put this so you can understand? She believes in her sporting prowess and believes she is good at so many sports (some are hit and miss, but you know, who am I to judge). Though I do prefer she hear some truths from me rather than teammates.
Then there’s her height. Most girls her age are taller than her. She is starting to feel it too, with kids teasing her at school about how she’s not growing. Sometimes I just want to punch all of these unthinking, inconsiderate, little so and so’s! We talk about teasing all the time in our family and our motto is: ‘Only give what you can take; Nothing mean, all in good fun’. But these kids are definitely not practicing that. Some of the stuff they say is just plain mean. DD tries not to let it get to her, but it does. She keeps asking me how she can grow taller. I’m always going to use that sort of a question as a chance to motivate more fruit and vegetables being eaten, but I don’t have the growth secret. Now, I’ve just started saying to her that it will happen in good time and when it’s meant to. Everyone grows and matures at different rates and she may well change at a later stage than most of her peers. My Mum keeps asking me too if she’s grown, knowing how big her other granddaughter is. I’ve finally told her not to ask anymore. I know she doesn’t mean it in a bad way, but DD is getting a big enough complex about it as it is, so all talk about her hitting her growth spurt has been banned at this point in time.
Girls. They have it tough. We have it tough. Then she talks to me about perhaps going on a diet. What? No, I don’t think so. Her body is slowly changing as she becomes a woman and that means certain areas are expanding (and no, I dont necessarily mean breasts) and she isn’t comfortable with it yet, but that’s what happens to most girls (and some boys). The only thing I say to my children about dieting is “Every thing in moderation.” You can eat anything you like as long as you eat it in a balanced way, is my point of view. That means limit the stuff you know is bad for you, ensure you get lots of good, hearty fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and don’t keep eating just for the sake of eating (exactly what we did on the cruise and over Christmas which is what started me needing to go on an exercise regimen in the first place). Also make sure you get plenty of exercise on a daily basis. My girls ride their bikes almost daily. They walk to and from the bus stop. They walk our dog. We try to be a fairly active family. I’m not concerned about the exercise part, but my dear daughter does like her junk food and won’t eat any fruit except apples, so she may have to start doing something else on top of our regular stuff. I suggested swimming but she told us that some of the girls who don’t like her are on the swim team. Back to that again.
I think my husband is just now starting to see all of the obstacles facing girls. Other girls are mean to girls, boys are mean to girls. Girls are expected to be both beautiful and smart, yet the minute we make a mistake it’s ‘because we’re a girl’ or because we’re not smart.
It’s time we changed this kind of thinking for once and all. No more putting crap on other girls. It is our duty as mothers (aka females) to ensure our girls are not mean to other girls. It is ok to be competitive, but when you start putting someone else down to lift yourself up, something has gone wrong. We should be greeting each other daily with a pat on the back and a compliment. That’s something else I’ve learnt from my other daughter (from the moment she started talking until this day); give compliments. Try to find something, anything, about someone you are talking to and compliment them on it. “Your hair looks amazing today!” “I like your scarf.” “Those are beautiful (insert anything here, earrings, sandals, etc).” It doesn’t have to be super personal, but it does have to be sincere. This gossiping crap has to stop too.
There’s an old saying we are all familiar with, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ It’s true. Just don’t speak. Obviously there’s also some grey here, if something has been done to wrong you, then tell your story, but don’t put that other person down in the telling, otherwise you’re stooping to the same level, meaning you are no better than them. Even when eldest DD talks to me about someone at school, she never puts them down, she will say something very simply like, “…… was really mean to me today. She called me short and said I was a B word.” (She’s not allowed to say it but will let me know if someone has said it to her by stating the term ‘B’ word). Now this was but an example, but I like the fact that in the real life scenarios there isn’t any name calling coming from my own daughter. My girls rarely put other people down. It makes me very proud! I encourage you to ensure your daughters don’t either (and sons for that matter).
We must pick each other up rather than put each other down. We must encourage healthy eating rather than junk (which we are doing, but we still have a long way to go), we must encourage the realistic body not the photoshopped image, (again, we are doing just that) but we must also encourage the realistic body that is doing regular exercise rather than the overweight body that is doing none.
Our daughters need to hear from us every single day just how beautiful they are, just how smart they are. Unfortunately certain web sites, some famous people, authors and journalists and bloggers and whomever else, that talk about the unimportance of beauty have got it wrong. Yes, I said beauty is not unimportant. But before you get on your high horse and start accusing me of being shallow and all sorts of other things, please hear me out:
We are made (human nature) to admire beautiful things (whether that be in nature, or in another human being). There is such a thing as inner beauty, yes, but there is also such a thing as outer beauty and it will always be recognized. Our daughters should be recognizing their own beauty both inside and out. I read an article the other day about how you shouldn’t be encouraging your daughters to care about the way they look and I have to say, I completely disagree. You should take pride in your appearance, you should encourage your children to take pride in their appearance. You should love yourself both inside and out. We all look in the mirror and we all see flaws no one else sees, but we have to be able to see beauty there too. There will always be someone more beautiful, smarter, with a better body. We need to be aware that that will always be the case, but it’s ok, because we are confident in our own selves and our abilities and our beauty, both inner and outer. We know that a smile is truly beautiful (yes, even the smile thought to be a flaw by the owner), we know that happy girls are confident girls and vice versa and confident girls are beautiful girls. Our daughters are always going to see people being recognized for their beauty. It does exist and it is very real and there are truly beautiful people surrounding us. It’s part of life. We need to focus more on the confidence part. We need to focus on all the positive things in our girls. We need to help them to help both themselves and to help others. We need to make sure they are lifting others up.
How do we do this? Well this is where we as women must lift each other up too. I challenge you to give everyone you meet tomorrow a compliment. I challenge you to find things that will inspire your daughters to be the most beautiful people they can be by bringing others up. Lead by example. Don’t gossip, don’t bitch and moan, always talk positively about your friends and their strengths and always remind your daughters to be the best “insert name here” they can be. I also went into my daughter’s room whilst she was at school today and put inspirational quotes, and reassurances everywhere. Including some I thought pertinent to just her at this time. And there are quite a few for when she’s laying in bed looking at her ceiling:
Just in case she needs reminding when no one is about. 😊
Boys will not judge my daughter and place her into a category and girls will not bring her down. She shall know each and every day just how special and amazing she is. And how beautiful she is on the inside and out. She will know how talented she is when it comes to singing and playing her guitar and she shall know that she has very special strengths and is truly gifted when it comes to reading and comprehension. We will be realistic with her when she asks our advice but we will never shame her choices. I challenge you to make sure your daughter knows those same things; as relevant to her and her own strengths. Your sons too.
*Update: 3 years later.
My eldest daughter is now incredibly confident and not invloved in any drama with any girls. She knows her own strengths, she works hard and she is surrounded by a great group of friends. She has started playing lacrosse (absolutely loves it) and is still an avid reader. She has truly come a long way from this moment in time. I hear her talking to her friends sometimes and I never hear her putting anyone else down, which makes me incredibly proud. In fact, knowing all of this has given me the strength to get through it with my now 10 going on 11-year-old daughter who seems to be going through an almost identical situation on a daily basis. A friend of mine asked me for advice the other day because she too is experiencing something similar. I told her to reassure her daughter. Tell her she’s there for her. Listen, but try not to let her see how angry you are at those other kids, that ‘mama bear’ doesn’t necessarily help in these moments. Don’t get involved directly with the drama either, that just prolongs it (trust me, I’ve learned from experience). But most of all, remember the 3 R’s: Reassure, Remind, Renew. Reassure her daily of all her strengths, all that she has both inside and out. Remind her to help others up rather than put them down. Renew her confidence in herself and love, love with all your heart.
Seriously. You are heading for civil war. There is no black and white in all things up for debate right now, only grey.
My daughter went to school on March 14, 2018 and went outside for 17 minutes of silence, to remember the 17 victims of last month’s massacre in Florida, when she returned to her classes, some of her friends were extremely rude to her, thinking she had walked out protesting gun laws. Now don’t get me wrong, she will be doing this (of her own accord) on March 24th at the Marching for Our Lives Protest, she will also be walking out of school on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Her school has actually communicated with both parents and students in regards to this walkout and they have offered students a safe area (on school grounds) where they can peacefully protest, they have also offered students the choice on the protesting and said to them that it is completely of their own decision making. Students who remain in class will have time to read or do something of their own selection. Whilst those outside (teachers included) are able to safely protest current gun laws. No parents are allowed to be involved (unfortunately for me, but I completely understand why because of the safety aspect).
I digress, back to March 14; the school had asked if any students wanted to protest and were given a solid answer of April 20th being their day, obviously there was mention of some sort of remembrance ceremony though. My daughter joined many others that walked out of their classroom and stood outside in a circle around 17 pairs of shoes and silently remembered those 17 unknown students who had died just one month before, some of them whilst buying roses in their cafeteria for the one they admired; celebrating Valentine’s Day.
When she sat down with her supposed friends at lunch, two of them belittled her for walking out. They called her names and told her she was a coward for doing so. They started lecturing her on the fact that everyone has a right to own guns, who was she to say no one could have guns! She tried to tell them firstly that it wasn’t a protest and secondly that she wasn’t trying to take guns away from people, but it was all to no avail, she couldn’t get a word in. Her ‘friends’ wouldn’t or couldn’t listen to any other opinion. They had already been judge, jury and executioner. They are all 13 years old.
Here we are, a group of people trying to remember the kids/young adults who were all murdered just over a month ago by a psycho who had spent some time planning his attack on kids at school, whilst kids at school are so worried about losing their 2nd amendment rights (do they even have them yet or is this pure parent talk) that they are judging others because they thought they were outside protesting said rights! How can any of this make sense to anyone?
My world inadvertently involves guns. My husband is in the military. We have lived on base/post throughout various times in our many years of military life. We have plenty of friends that love their guns. My husband owns a gun. He is also extremely well-trained in guns. He doesn’t have a temper. He is very sound of mind and full of common sense; the complete opposite of me, lol! He is one of the people who could own a gun and society wouldn’t have to worry that he is going to go all nut jobs on everyone! He also doesn’t believe that assault rifles belong in the hands of society members. He understands the need for common sense gun laws. When he got his gun and the background check took 15 minutes, both he and I were in shock! 15 minutes to check someone’s background to make sure they were of the mental capacity fit to own a gun. He bought a second one in the time it took for his background check to complete. How can that be ok? And you can buy bullets at the same time!!! What! So someone has really pissed you off and in a crazy temper you walk into a gun store, get your gun and bullets within 15 minutes and go and take care of the person/people who have pissed you off? All whilst still in your temper! You may have cooled down had you been given a few days to chew over what it was they did to you (you may not too but that’s where psychological tests come into play). Surely to god every upstanding citizen out there doesn’t want innocent lives taken? Surely.
I’m Australian, I was living in Australia and very well remember the day the massacre occurred in Tasmania (28 April, 1996), the day everything changed in Australia, the day Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and injured 23 others, the day that shocked Australia so much that we knew it must never happen again! That was the day radical gun reform began in Australia. The government immediately enacted strict gun laws and issued a buyback program. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) summed it up well:
The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.
Now at this point in time, a National buyback program wouldn’t work here in the United States a: because very few people would voluntarily give up their guns and b: because it would cost an absolute fortune to compensate for said guns. As of 2017 in the USA, “there were no federal laws banning semiautomatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large-capacity magazines. There was a federal prohibition on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines between 1994 and 2004, but Congress allowed these restrictions to expire”. (CFR) After every mass shooting, particularly the one in Las Vegas, in October, 2017 and after the Parkland school shooting, “some lawmakers expressed provisional support for a federal prohibition of so-called bump fire stocks, devices that allow semiautomatic guns to fire at a rate approaching that of automatic weapons”. (CFR).
On March 24, students and parents alike, will ‘March for our Lives’ in Washington D.C. and throughout the country. My daughter and I will march. How can we not? There has been plenty of talk about the “Walk Up not out” movement being a great way to walk up to those kids who are sitting by themselves or those students who are being bullied. Firstly, how about we practice being nice and including all those who are different every single day? Why is it ‘walk up’ on that day only? How can things change without some sort of dramatic uprising? The massacres are not stopping! The school shootings continue. Something has to dramatically change! Teach your children to be inclusive, teach them to love, teach them to treat others the way they would like to be treated, make that an every day occurrence. But, do not ask my daughter to walk up to the psychotic kid that has spent his whole life torturing animals, the one who has shown every sign of becoming the school shooter. Don’t expect her to show kindness to him when he has nothing but animosity for every living thing out there and is looking for someone to start with. Don’t tell the wife of a brutal husband that beats her whenever he feels like it, that she should ‘walk up’ and be nice to him, that will make everything better! Stop it! You are being naive. Sometimes, there is no other way than to ensure the person cannot have access to the tools (normally guns particularly when one is looking to cause as much carnage as possible) one craves to cause damage.
Yes, the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that people cause carnage with knives (the eight (8) men in China that killed 29 people and injured 130 more). Now imagine if those EIGHT men had guns; assault rifles even. How much more carnage would they have done?
Yes the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that you can cause carnage with cars (the vehicle attacks throughout the UK and Europe in 2017 are devastating, many were killed and injured) again though, I ask, imagine the greater casualties had those men had assault rifles? Many more would have died, there is no disputing that.
Yes the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that criminals can easily access guns on the black market; it’s not normally regular ‘criminals’ causing this mass carnage in the USA, it’s every day white males aged between 17 and 50. It’s not normally terrorists, it’s men who are psychotic in nature or who have flipped a switch and literally gone loco.
Basically, stop worrying about your 2nd amendment rights. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about! I heard a great quote the other day, “the 2nd amendment has been bastardized”. The forefathers couldn’t have foreseen the carnage today’s weapons would cause and the number of innocent children taken far too early by them. They wouldn’t have agreed with that! They set these amendments in place to protect ‘Americans’, not so they could be used to kill the most innocent.
This fight isn’t black and white. This fight is full of grey. The one thing we all have to agree upon though is that too many children are dying in the USA at the hands of guns. It has to be time for change otherwise what sort of future do we have?
So, my daughter had her 12th birthday party a few months ago, she invited 8 of her friends. She didn’t invite one girl that she’s had this on again/off again relationship with. She asked me if I thought she was doing the right thing, I asked her how she was being treated lately by said girl and what their relationship was like. She responded with: said girl had been treating her like crap (after having a play date at our house the week before) and she had an invite for her but rescinded at the last minute because said girl was being a little hellion (according to my daughter).
Here’s my thing; my kid and your kid are both not going to paint themselves in the ‘worst’ picture when it comes to situations involving their friends. I’m going to believe my kid, you’re going to believe your kid.
Sometimes our kids aren’t telling the entire truth; sometimes they blatantly lie.
I can’t tell you who is being more honest, what I can tell you is there are always two sides to a story and why the hell are you unfriending me as your Facebook friend because our kids no longer talk?
Seriously, this happened! I have been a parent for over 12 years now and I’ve only just realised that it is a big mistake to get involved with any of your kid’s friend’s Mums! Well okay, maybe not. Maybe you’ll walk away with a friend for life, but maybe you’ll also both get drawn into the shit that happens when your kids have falling outs! Do not get involved!
Well, hang on, if it’s serious, get involved, but most of the time it’s just the frigging drama that goes along with a bean/tween/teen! It’s seriously not something you need to take a stand on and that’s where the grey comes into it: New Mum/mom, only child Mum/Mom, old hat Mum/Mom, your kid is going to go through drama, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being bullied, but it’s a whole lot of drama nonetheless! (Oh and keep a very keen eye out for the bullying because that’s a whole different ball game!)
The drama is going to involve your kid’s best friend/girlfriend/boyfriend or a complete stranger. You are going to have no clue from which direction the drama will unfold. Here’s the big picture though, don’t frigging unfriend the mother you friended a few months ago when your kid’s were best friends because there’s a damn good chance they’ll be best friends again before you know it! Don’t bring the other parent into the drama! I’ve learnt this the hard way, and I say this in all seriousness, don’t frigging friend someone either just because they are the parent of your kid’s friend! Just because your kid’s are friends doesn’t mean you need to be, and you know what? On a grown up level, just because you’re friends, doesn’t mean your kids need to be!
We seem to go through this notion where we think we have to Facebook befriend the parent of every kid our kids love and sometimes they’re not necessarily people we want to know and other times they’re the best friends we never knew we had. It’s a tough game that whole friendship as an adult thing but when our kids come into play, from now on my new motto is, hey, I really like you but you need to understand our kids may have differences and I don’t particularly give a crap because I really like you and the kids can work their own shit out or move on! Do not get overly involved! Advise your kid. Do the parental thing. Call the other kid out. But has the parent done anything to you? Is the kid old enough to have started developing their independence? Then shit, stop holding grudges against the parents; sometimes great parents have shitty kids and sometimes shitty parents have great kids! That’s just the way it rolls.
This woman’s juvenile behaviour has now made me think everything my daughter has told me about her daughter is true, whereas before, I wasn’t so sure. How can we set the example for our children, particularly our daughters (I’m a firm believer in women believing in other women rather than putting them down) when we start judging other women by the actions our juvenile children narrate to us when they are still learning what is right and wrong in the world? Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about this seemingly smart, well educated woman! And no, there were no other posts made by myself between Saturday night (the night of the party) and Monday afternoon (when she came up on my Facebook feed as someone I might know).
What the ?
Lady, you are doing nothing for your child by being like this. You are not setting a great example to resolve conflict and nor are you ensuring your child has the confidence to make the right decisions- be they right or wrong. I am glad in a way that we are no longer friends because you’ve helped me explain to my daughter the kind of woman ‘not to be’ (but I actually liked a couple of parts of your personality, so in another sense it saddens me that this is where we’ve come).
I wish you and yours all the best and hope your kid can walk away from this a strong woman who knows what it’s like to both fail and succeed and to know the important role other women play in this thing we call life.
Imagine living in a world where your kids cannot safely go to school. It is far from most people’s minds yet it is a reality for so many throughout the world. We in most parts of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, don’t have to worry about that but for some in South Africa, it is a sad reality.Let me first give some background on where this story started from:
A few months back, an article came across my news feed called ‘Chase’s Teacher’. It was part of a blog by a woman named Glennon Doyle Melton in her blog titled ‘Momastery’. Here’s the problem though, I clicked on it, read it and shared it and afterwards it looked like I had written it. What I mean is, I paid no heed when sharing it; it wasn’t credited to anyone when it came on my news feed, anyway when I shared it and was notified someone else had shared it, it had my name written at the top of it. I mentioned it to my husband at the time but honestly gave it no further thought, thinking it wouldn’t go far and people would know it wasn’t my writing because on the most obvious level, I don’t have a son called Chase, I also didn’t expect it to go viral in South Africa.
Last week, I started getting a number of friend requests from people in South Africa; I couldn’t for the life of me, work out why. I looked at these people as they friend requested me and realized they were all honest-to-goodness real people, not some sort of scam. I googled my name but nothing came up, I upped my privacy buttons on Facebook friend requests and left it at that, until I received a private message from a lady begging me for help. Her message read:
“Morning from cape town. I just came across your post about “chase’s teacher” and I would like to share it please. This is my son, (the name and photo of her son, I have kept private). He is six and gets bullied for being kind. After many fruitless trips to the school and him receiving death threats, I would love to start an online platform where we share experiences and support and your post is one of the few with practical solutions. Please consider my request. Kind regards”
I am a mother, this message broke my heart. I also realized that this must in some way be linked to the friend requests I had been getting from South Africa. I responded to her message by saying I think she has me confused with someone else and that I would love to help her but I don’t know what article she’s talking about. The dialogue went back and forth until I finally realized it was this woman named Glennon whose article she was referring to. What a terrible person I was taking credit for her hard work, even if quite by accident. I have since shared her name with my new South African friend and I hope she will be in touch with her, but I too have vowed to assist in any way I can, starting with this blog.
Bullying. It is something that has come to light over the last few years and something that is quite possibly shoved in our faces for anything and everything, particularly in the USA. It is an excuse for everything, unfortunately though, when it is really happening, it is not taken as seriously as it should be. I think the media in the States has overused the word bullying. It is a serious word. And this situation is so serious, it can be deadly.
I am talking about a woman who purchased a house in a nice area because of the school district, a woman who knows that in most schools in South Africa, there are major problems, but a mother who wanted to give her children the best she possibly could so she stretched everything to be able to move there yet found the problems were no better even in the ‘wealthier’ school districts. This blog is about this huge problem in South African schools that no one is doing enough about. About a girl who was 6 years old and told to cover up because there were 8 known sexual predators in mental interventions in her class. About children having their earrings ripped out of their ears; children being bitten, shaken and pushed. About an eight year old boy who was thrown off a balcony in November of last year by a fellow eight year old pupil. The boy, Faidh Jacobs, suffered a cracked skull with internal bleeding, yet I can find no further articles on the punishment of the pupil who did this to him! How can that be? About a father who was banned from entering his daughter’s school by the High Court in Pretoria without prior arrangement because he protested outside of the school after she had been the subject of victimization and bullying to such great extremes that she no longer wanted to go to school. The father said the school wasn’t serious about investigating and stopping the bullying happening to many students and his only action was to protest with banners and pamphlets outside of the school. The school of course denies this, but to me, the fact that a father had to resort to such extreme measures to be taken seriously, speaks volumes about the bigger issues going on.
The South African Schools Act of 1996 states that all schools must adopt a Code of Conduct to which all learners must comply. Included in this Code of Conduct should be the school’s policy on bullying yet it seems that so many parents have complained to teachers and to school principals with no further action being done because they are either too scared themselves or don’t want to believe there is a real problem. So much is being pushed under the rug in South Africa and until someone starts standing up for these kids, nothing is going to change.
There is some hope however; a young girl named Kelly Gibson was bullied after she wouldn’t take part in an initiation ritual which included running across a beach naked. She went from being a popular, sporty student, to a girl who was consistently victimised. Like my South African friend also mentioned as being a regular occurrence, her belongings were stolen, they even set up a Facebook group against her. Kelly’s Mum eventually moved her to a different school as the abuse got so bad, but Kelly is now speaking up against bullying and has started her own website at:
To my South African friend I say this; the article Ms Melton wrote is incredible. Chase’s teacher is incredible. What a wonderful way to ensure no one is being mistreated, to engage every student, and to ensure bullying is not happening in your classroom. This is a far more proactive way to stop bullying in the classroom, it needs to start from an early age and it needs to be practical. What a great way to monitor the health and well-being of your students and what another great burden to throw on our poorly-paid teachers. This is where it needs to be a societal effort. This mother in Cape Town is suffering because her little boy is suffering and if she doesn’t do something soon, the kindness he is being bullied for, will leave; we can all only tolerate so much. I don’t have the answers, all I can do is make some suggestions, judging by the number of people who tried to friend request me and the number of published stories in South African newspapers, you are not alone with your son’s plight. And you are doing the right thing by wanting to band together with other Mums, bringing a complete halt to this abhorrent behavior.
If you have any ideas or real life examples that have worked in similar situations, please share them here so we can ensure bullying is not just an overused word but is realized as a real-life problem that needs to be eradicated!