The nation's official position for the next five years on diet for health is on the line, imperiled by bullies. I am speaking out simply because we don't know how many others, encountering the same forces, have decided doing so is not worth the abuse. I am speaking out because: it is.
Donald Trump and Chris Christie are both brash, egomaniacal, bullying Northeasterners running for the nation's top job. They both seem to derive genuine pleasure from puffing themselves up and putting everyone else down. So why is Trump soaring in the polls, and Christie gasping for air?
Unfortunately, identifying and dealing with bullying is much more difficult for employers (and lawyers looking for lawsuits) than the more overt forms of sexual and physical harassment of the past -- even though the objectives, power and control over the victim, are the same.
Sure, realizing Rugrats was filled with sex jokes might put a slight dent in your childhood memories, but let's have a look at some things that actually will ruin your childhood as it happens.
The next time you see a middle-schooler or even a peer use derogatory terms, make faces or inappropriate impressions or gestures related to disability, take that opportunity to talk about it. It all starts with a conversation. A conversation many won't have, unless you bring it up.
I am a victim of online bullying. I wrote an article about living with my boyfriend and his parents and got severely bashed for it. There were dozens of comments--close to 1400--stating I was immature, childish and downright unappreciative.
I knew from the minute that he was born I'd have to begin the process of letting go and sharing him with the world. Then came Kindergarten. I prayed my mistakes and missteps would be covered in grace and that somehow he'd soar in spite of his mother and he sure did!
Go ahead and present me in a calm, polite way with evidence against my viewpoint, and I will read it with an open mind. I will happily engage in civil conversation with someone who doesn't agree with my take on something, because that sort of discourse helps my practice by teaching me about other perspectives.
No one wants to believe their child is bully, but guess what, yours might be. What are you using at home for conflict resolution when your child acts out?
As much as no parent would ever want to admit it, it may not always be your child who is the one being picked on. What do you do when your child is the bully? Parents have to understand that at some point their child could possibly be the one bullying. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed by it. How can a child learn if you don't teach them?
The problem is the adults. I'm taking about the parents who raised their kids to think it's hilarious to embrace racial caricatures. And yes, I'm aware that some of the students in the photo are Latinos. If anything, that's even worse.
If you feel like you have met one of these delightful social treats, you are not alone - I know I certainly have, and recently. When bullied as a child I struggled to process what was wrong, as a grown adult, it left me hollow, shattered and totally paranoid.
While the numbers are startling, they should not be very surprising. Bullies prey on those that are not capable of defending themselves, so no matter how much I prepare my neuro-typical son and daughter to stand up to bullies, the fact is that they are not going to be their target. My oldest daughter however, will. She is autistic and may not be able to apply this "bootstrap mentality" suggested by the meme.
Nahla, my beautiful pitbull rescue, has taught me more about love, happiness, and loyalty in the past year than my husband ever did. She is fiercely kind, comforting, and forgiving -- everything I could ever want in a spouse.
My challenge is to start the parent hugging campaign. This is where you don't let go of a hug, until your child is ready to be released. Let's see if this simple act of love can change the psyche of our kids.
For me, many years after the bullying had stopped, anorexia became a new way to get smaller, quieter, less intimidating, non-existent, so that my life would be less risky -- or, at least, less painful.