There has been a lot of attention in the media these days about kids bullying kids in school. Some of the victims of bullying are going to extreme measures to avoid being bullied by killing themselves. This is disgusting and heart breaking. Schools and other organizations are brainstorming to find ways to send a message that kids should be more compassionate and to be more excepting of peoples' differences.
Hate to say this but: IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. What's that old saying? A tiger doesn't change his stripes? Adults are always trying to change the behavior of kids when the adults themselves do not display the same behavior. For example, let's say that you invited Johnny Jr's. friend, over for a playdate. Johnny Jr's. friend is playing with Johnny's favorite toy. Johnny is not too pleased about that and rips it out of his hands. You try to diffuse the situation and make nice by saying, "Now Johnny, you must share your toys. It's rude not to let him play with it". Now, let's say the friend's mother returns to bring her kid home and she sees your cherry red 1963 Corvette (I know, they didn't have Cherry Red back then, but this is about principle and not details). She mentions that she would like to "play" with your Corvette and can she take it for a ride? Will you follow your own advice that it's rude to not share? Probably not. I know this isn't on the same level as bullying but I'm making the point of expecting children to behave differently from what they are actually taught by example.
I witness adult bullying all the time: Parents bullying coaches. The person tailgating you while you are driving the in the slow lane. Idiots shopping at the mall around Christmas time.
The only way to cure bullying is to teach your children to be prepared for it. Let's just say, IT WORKED FOR ME! Picture this: growing up I had huge boobies, zits on my face, unruly hair. Ok, that's just the physical. Inside I was shy, introverted and very emotional. I know, I sound like a prize, right? I was picked on constantly! Who do you think the predators were? Good looking classmates? Peers who were more confident and social? Nooooo. It was my own siblings! They tormented me! If my parents had established anti bullying and no tolerance laws I would be an only child by now! When I was a child, I cried All..The..Time. Then, my siblings would make fun of me for crying and I would cry even more!!!!! Bullying at home does not sound like the most kind and rewarding thing to do. However, when I was older I didn't get offended by mean comments made by others. I didn't freak out when the boys called me Dolly Parton. My skin had already been made thick. Compare bullying to driving. You can't control the stupid drivers, but you can learn to avoid accidents by learning how to drive defensively.
Moral of the story: You can't stop people from being assholes. Kids don't have the cognitive ability to realize cause and effect and they don't realize what it might do to the victim over time. Let's stop the nonsense of kids killing themselves because peers bully them! Bully your kids or siblings at home and get them prepared for the real world!