I want to tell you how it feels to be the Mom whose kids are being bullied.
I want to tell you how it feels when your heart breaks as your beautiful child looks up at you and asks, “Mom, what’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone like me?”
I want to tell you how it feels when your daughter looks at you with tears in her eyes and says, “He only asked me to dance to make fun of me.”
I want to let you know how many excuses you can try to make up when your child invites 12 kids to his birthday party, and only two show up, one who obviously was forced by his mom.
I want to tell you how it feels to stand by the door, waiting for the school bus, and praying, “Please, God, let him have had a good day,” and knowing the answer two steps after he gets off the school bus.
I want to tell you how you can cringe every time the phone rings during the school day, how you hope it’s not the school calling with a sick kid, a guidance counselor or some other problem.
I want to tell you the horror of walking in on your 13-year-old daughter trying to swallow pills to end her life because other teens have convinced her that she is worthless and the world would be better off without her.
I want to tell you about pulling over on the side of the road sobbing so hard you vomit because you had to drive away from the hospital—leaving your child in a psych ward for “observation” after taking those pills.
I want to tell you about sitting up, night after night with your teen, holding her hand to both let her know that you are there and to be sure that she doesn’t get up and do something stupid.
I want to tell you about searching for age-appropriate long-sleeved clothing for your teen to hide the scars from cutting.
I want to tell you about how hard it is to get mental health help for your depressed teen.
I want to tell you how lonely it is when your friends disappear because all your time is taken up caring for your kids who need you now, more than ever.
I want to tell you about the hundreds of fights you’d have with people telling you to just get over it, that kids will be kids.
I want to tell you how your marriage will suffer.
I want to tell you how hard you try to protect your child from the horrors of bullying.
But what I really want to tell you is to please, please, please teach your children to be kind. Teach them that while they don’t have to be friends with everyone, they should be civil. Teach them to respect people who are different, and that if they don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Show them by example.
I want to tell you to thank your lucky stars that it’s not your kid, but your kid could be next. I also want you to know that we can help end bullying by teaching our kids to be brave and stand up for one another.
* I wrote this post years ago. I would love to say that I was able to work with the school to help stop the bullying, but I wasn’t. What worked for us was withdrawing our kids from public school and homeschooling. It’s not an option for everyone, but it was the best thing that we did for our children, and they both ended up with friends and most importantly, freedom from being bullied.