Last week, I did a two-part series on bullying. We got so much profound feedback from parents whose children had experienced this firsthand. Their raw, emotional emails, calls and social media posts made me realize that we had definitely touched a nerve.
People were eager to share their stories- most of them heartbreaking - about what they did to try and protect their children. In the end, a great conversation was started among people who had dealt with bullying and could relate to one another’s plights.
But we also received some disturbing feedback from bullies. I kid you not, adults posted mean comments about some of the people in my stories, in effect, re-victimizing them. There was the Facebook poster who called a teenage girl in my story a “butt face,” and another Facebook poster who said the dad of a bullied child “deserved to be bullied” for his haircut.
Really, people? Do you kiss your mama with that mouth? Because it needs to be washed out with soap, and I’m not opposed to using Ajax. If I hadn’t seen these comments and others with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Luckily, they were in the vast minority.
The truth is that kids aren’t the only ones who are bullies. Adults can be bullies, too. I won’t go as far to say that all children that bully come from adults who bully. That’s not fair. But, there is no doubt that children are little sponges who learn much of behavior from their parents — good and bad.
We all have opinions. Sometimes we think things about people that aren’t very nice. That’s normal. That doesn’t make you a bad person. But here’s an idea, let’s keep those thoughts in our heads instead of feeling the need to share them like a busted sewer pipe with the world online where they will needlessly hurt other people.
The whole thing reminds me of the catchy pop song by the band Magic! called “Rude.” The chorus says: “Why you gotta be so rude?” That’s the question we should ask ourselves every time we push the “post” button.
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.