*Disclaimer – this post is not in reference to any incident, it’s simply a thought that occurred to me.
Last week we visited the school we are hoping Ava will be attending next year. I was struck by the number of signs that were up around the school and the various buildings and faculties about bullying, reporting bullying, stopping bullying and cyber bullying. The harsh reality is that at some point in our children’s lives, they may very well be the victim of bullying or they may be the perpetrator of bullying and become the bully.
With the rise of social media there’s also been an increase in cyber bullying with some really tragic stories that have made the news, cyber bullying which have resulted in teen suicides. I myself, as an adult, have been the victim of cyber bullying, it was a few years ago, when I was still an infertility blogger and even having to cope with it as a mature adult, was hurtful and at times a little scary, so I can only imagine how all consuming, scary and hurtful it must be for a child to deal with, especially during those awkward and insecure teenage years.
But I digress…
This morning, while out walking, my mind wandered back to all the stop bullying signs we saw up at the school last week and one thought ran into another and it occurred to me that its all fine and well that we expect our children to behave in a certain way, and to not be bullies or tolerate bullying but what example are we setting for them? How are we, as their parents, being role models to them? Teaching them? Leading by example? Or perhaps its more a matter of do what I say and not what I do?
One only has to log onto Facebook to see a texted image that is quite clearly passive aggressively sending a negative message? How many times have I, have we, been guilty of posting such images and updates? Is that not also a form of bullying? How many times have I, we, hit the like button on those types of passive aggressive messages? Is that not also a form of not just condoning such behavior but encouraging it too?
And what about the subtweet? Don’t even get me started on the subtweet. One of my personal pet peeves…(que a self indulgent rant) the subtweet…. in my (not so) humble opinion is the weakest form of insult. It’s for spineless tweeps who don’t have the balls to say what they really mean to the person they’re attempting to insult and then assume that everyone else is too stupid to figure out who they’re referring to. Its completely lacking in maturity and speaks volumes about the tweeter and not the person they’re taking a swipe at. I despise the subtweet, I despise subtweeters! <ranty rant rant> Moving swiftly along….
My point is…. as adults, we pay a huge amount of attention and lip service to stopping the bullying of our children, to reporting bullying, to despising bullies but what message are we sending our children with our own behavior?
I’ve thought about this a lot lately. My children are too young to know about social media or to read my blog but one day they won’t be… will I be proud of what I created on my blog? Will I stand by my words? These are the questions I’ve begun to ask myself. It’s for this reason that I created my own little rule book for conducting myself online. Do I always stick to my rules? No. When I tweet, I’m always mindful of how my tweet will be received, if it could at all possibly be misread as a subtweet, how I’d feel if my children read my tweet. I’m guilty of writing emotional blog posts and that I have later regretted, I have many posts that I’ve trashed because after writing or posting, I’ve become uncomfortable with their tone or how they may be interpreted.
I’m trying to be the best example I can be for my girls, how conduct oneself in life, not being afraid of having or expressing strong opinions but doing so without malice. I want to teach them, through my words, my actions and my examples, how to be strong and independent but also kind and caring.
I fear I may have gone off on a bit of a tangent in this post, but my point is, we need to look at ourselves and how we conduct ourselves first, before we can try and enforce a set of standards on our children.