The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act”. Joining the show was Michelle Tingler and Debbie Devine to discuss bullying.
The Balancing Act: According to stompoutbullying.com, as many as a hundred and sixty thousand students stay home on any given day because they are afraid of being bullied, but staying home isn’t always a safe bet because, about forty-two percent of kids are bullied while on-line. The Balancing Act presents Michelle Tingler and Debbie Devine from Opinionated Mama to talk about this serious issue and what parents can do about it. Good morning, ladies.
Michelle Tingler: Nice to see you again.
The Balancing Act: Welcome back. I’m really glad we’re talking about this because it’s amazing to hear about this more and more every day. You ladies have a blogged called “Once a Bully, Always a Bully.” What brought on this topic, Michelle?
Michelle Tingler: Well, little bullies turn into big bullies and, as adults, we see bullies in our lives every day, too. In the media and in our workplace and that starts at a very young age and bullies just grow and become bolder over time. So we as parents and mothers need to nip it in the bud early.
The Balancing Act: Debbie?
Debbie Devine: It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow, but we actually did a poll on our site and ninety-five percent of our moms say that when they were children, they were either bullied or witnessed bullying or were bullies themselves, so, it’s in the forefront of everyone’s minds. It didn’t just spring up overnight. Because we’re so aware of it and we realize that it does start in the home and we have a little control over it we have to take responsibility for it and try and change the behavior.
The Balancing Act: When I look back in my childhood, I’d never experienced being bullied, however, I remember coming home and saying, “Mommy, she’s being mean.” There is a difference between a bully and a meanie, am I right?
Michelle Tingler: They’re both bad behaviors and we don’t make excuses for either one. However, there’s a difference. Meanies are just rude and bullies are dangerous. We have to know the difference and we have to teach our kids the difference because it’s also important to teach your kids to be resilient.
The Balancing Act: You gotta get thick skinned.
Michelle Tingler: You do, you do, absolutely, and we have to give our kids those tools so that they will not let all of those issues affect their lives day to day. They need to know the difference and we, as moms, need to realize that there is a difference and we need to intervene when bullies are involved.
The Balancing Act: Debbie?
Debbie Devine: A bully really goes out of their way to persecute and find you and make you a target over and over and over again, whereas a meanie, it’s more of a passive thing. If you happen to get into the path of a meanie they might say “Oh, you got a gross zit on your face,” or something like that but it’s more sort of a passive thing and bullying is a much more insidious and hurtful behavior.
Michelle Tingler: And the key is bullies target victims and bullies are relentless. Bullies have no boundaries. They invade your personal space wherever it is, there is no privacy. Bullies don’t understand that and bullies have to be stopped because, if you don’t stand up to a bully, again, they just get bigger and more emboldened because bullying is about power and it’s about being insecure and you need to suppress someone so that you feel better about yourself, and, if you aren’t a victim, then the bully has no power, so we have to take away that power and that’s what moms need to do.
The Balancing Act: Now, when it comes to cyber bullying, what can our TV viewing parents do to protect their children?
Michelle Tingler: Well we have to create this safe zone, because our homes are not safe. It used to be, in the olden days, back when we had the bullies of yesteryear that were stopped at the front door. But now they come in and they invade our children’s lives and we have to create that safety zone where we have to lock it down. Technology needs to be turned in at the door. Literally, we’re not kidding.
The Balancing Act: We gotta police it here.
Michelle Tingler: No, it’s physically, not even just policing it. It’s when your kids walk through the door of their house, you go “Cell phone in my hand,” and it goes in a public place, like on the kitchen sink and same with their computers. Computers anywhere you have internet access needs to be in a public place in your house. You know, your kids always will say “Well you just don’t want me communicating out.” No, you just don’t want people coming in….”
The Balancing Act: You’re staying out there.
Debbie Devine: Yea and we sound like meanies but we’re really not. We’re protecting our children.
The Balancing Act: Mommies are supposed to be meanies sometimes, I have to be honest.
Michelle Tingler: We need to say no and it’s no. Technology is not all about fun and games, technology is serious.
The Balancing Act: Equally important for our viewers, how do you as a parent prevent your child from being the bully? Let’s turn the reverse now.
Debbie Devine: Well, this, again, is the hard pill to swallow. If you feel or your child is being accused of being a bully, you have to really step back because bullies are made, not born. So that’s when you have that “ah ha” parent moment and you kind of have to put your big girl panties on and go “Okay, this might be a serious accusation and I gotta’ assess this out and I have to figure out how I can take responsibility for this situation and really help my child through it.”
Michelle Tingler: Because if you don’t— It’s not going to go away.
The Balancing Act: If you don’t, then you become part of the problem.
Debbie Devine: Absolutely.
The Balancing Act: Thank you ladies very much. Great information, I really appreciate your time.
Michelle Tingler: Thank you.
The Balancing Act: And if you’d like more information on bullying, be sure to log on to thebalancingact.com. For more information on Debbie and Michelle with Opinionated Mamas, be sure to check out the website, o-mama.com.
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