There is probably no one who hasn’t experienced some form of bullying, especially when they were young. Fortunately, it is a topic in the forefront of today's news. Thank goodness for that! Bullying, however, has been around forever and it will never be stopped, but it can be controlled. Below, I will cite some excellent resources on how to deal with bullying. But first, a personal story of my bullying experience.
The period when I was about 7 to 12 years old, I had to deal with bullies quite a bit. We moved often, usually in and out of questionable neighborhoods where I was not only the new kid, but the skinny, meek looking, new kid. I was the perfect target for neighborhood bullies trying to build their reputation for toughness. Being very cautious, I didn’t get beat up very often. I stayed indoors more than I should have, and when I ventured out I would peek around each corner, very carefully, to see if any bad guys were out there.
Avoidance is very effective when trying to avert trouble, but it is not a very good tool for self-esteem. Not confronting your problems can make you feel small. So while I would hide and run when I saw them first, I would not run if cornered. Usually the bullies where I lived worked in pairs. When caught, I would try to stumble and mumble my way out with words. It worked sometimes because, while acting tough, they were cowards themselves. They didn’t always want to fight, they just wanted to be in charge of the situation.
One Saturday afternoon when I was 12, I came across a couple of young punks about my age under a highway viaduct. I had found a rapid transit bus flag and they wanted to take it from me. I refused because I couldn’t be a coward in front of them (as mentioned, I would have run like the wind had I saw them first). This time, it turned out one of the two guys really did like to fight. I found out why, later.
It just so happened my Dad saw this confrontation from a distance. It was one of the few times as a kid that he was around. I thought he was going to chase the bad guys away, but astonishingly to me, he said that only one of them could fight me at a time. I didn’t want to fight at all! To make a long story short, one kid was some kind of boxing ‘gym rat’. He had skills! He was really easy on me at first with my Dad there, but when I hit him in the jaw, he got mad and started pounding me. My Dad stepped in and stopped the fight. The two kids ran off and my Dad took me home.
I had a swollen eye and bloody nose and mouth. My Mom was furious that my Dad allowed this to happen! He probably did the wrong thing, especially in today’s world, but he made me face my fear and even though I lost, I felt good about that. I also felt a little closer to my Dad that day. However, it would have been better had he talked to me about handling this type of situation in advance, or taught me some self-defense.
Where to find help on bullying:
· What does it say about the parents of kids who bully other kids? See: Teaching Kids Not to Bully
· What does it say about the parents of kids who get bullied? Bully Proof Your Child
· What does it say about kids who stand-by and say nothing when they see bullying?
The victims of bullying can have any number of consequences. Self-esteem can be damaged, fear can limit them, and even their health can be affected. See: Bullying May Have Lasting Health Effect on Kids
Let’s talk to our children about bullying and get their take on it. Let’s stop bullying in schools, in neighborhoods, in the office, in life! see: Stop Bullying
When left to our own means, most of us would not meet our potential, if not fail outright. This is proven by the millions of us who have come from dysfunctional homes and created dysfunctional homes of our own. Sure, some break out of that cycle but not enough to keep the trend of failure from growing.
We all need guidance in our lives to learn faster, make less mistakes, and develop confidence. If we don’t have wise, loving parents, it becomes tough to compete with those that do. Sometimes we have substitutes for bad or missing parents, but not near enough to solve the problems of our troubled youth. It only takes few geniuses and entrepreneurs to make our lives easier. But it takes a large majority of us to make our society better.
It seems that when adolescents don’t become successful adults, the major reasons are due to opposite extremes. Life has either been too easy for them or life has been too hard. Sometimes life is hard for young people and they look for the easy way out. Up until the last few decades, life has been survival of the fittest. The weak of mind and/or body should always be helped, but the weak-willed or poorly mentored have little positive influence on society. Yet we help the weak-willed to survive without being fit (socially), and we don't help those that need mentoring enough. The social burden grows and this puts our future as a country in danger!
Challenge is like a chisel that defines an accomplished human being. Without challenges we are without accomplishment and, therefore, without self-respect. Growing up without good parents is not a challenge, it’s an obstacle. A challenge makes one grow whereas an obstacle prevents one from growing. Adolescents that have had it too easy often need to be challenged to improve - and rarely are. Adolescents, whose life has been difficult need encouragement - and don't know where to find it.
Beginning in the 20th Century, our government started taking over when families fail. The government does not do this well. The government removes many obstacles, but is lacking in presenting challenges and providing encouragement. This last article from “The Father Factor” series discusses placing young men in an environment where they can prosper, meeting reachable challenges. “During this stage of life, young people crave feelings of usefulness, responsibility and respect, and they long to be part of the adult world.” It’s a way to remove obstacles, introduce challenges, and to be very encouraging! This is the type of program that will bear fruit - like watering an apple tree!
Click on The Deseret News article below:
Here is a troubled boy who has a totally unexpected response to a drill sergeant. The video below is why I spent 15 years taking notes and reading on this topic. It's why I ultimately wrote a book on the importance of fatherhood. It's why I work and write on this blog everyday to help dads realize how vitally important they are to their kids and how easy it is to be a good dad by just being yourself.
Fortunately, there are many dad blogs besides mine. However, there are over 41 times more mom blogs. If you know a young, new, or troubled father, let them know there are resources to put things into perspective for them.
Many, if not most of the social problems of today, or any day, begin in the home. Fatherless homes start when children are born out of wedlock. In white homes the out of wedlock birthrate is 29%, in Hispanic homes it is 53%, and in black homes it is an astonishing 72%!
In this post, I combine the third article from "The Father Factor" series by The Atlantic and The Deseret News, with today's announcement from President Obama of a program called "My Brother's Keeper" which is designed to bolster the lives of young minority men.
The Father Factor article discusses whether welfare programs should pay more attention to dads. It describes a situation that is all too common. Children are being raised in poverty conditions without their fathers but possibly with the boyfriends of their mothers. The welfare system helps but does not repair these families. Their offspring are destined to repeat the scenario.
The president's “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative "will bring foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies to support such young men, taking steps to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system". It is aimed mostly at the black community where the problem is most out of control.
I'm hopeful something positive comes out of the Brother's Keeper program! While welfare will always be with us, it is a patch, very expensive, and not an answer to our social issues. In 1950, only 4% of children were born outside of marriage. Today that percentage is around 41%! Educating, mentoring, and preparing young men (and women) to be responsible is the only way we can stop the cycle of despair we see growing by leaps and bounds. Otherwise, we will be stuck in a spiraling welfare nation and deteriorating society.
8% of single parent households are now headed by men
This post follows up on two previous posts re: "The Father Factor" series by The Atlantic and The Deseret News.
The article below (see link) discusses single dads raising their kids alone. I know what many of you are thinking. "Poor kids don't have a chance!"
Most people, including courts, assume a woman is better equipped to raise kids than a man. In most ways I agree, at least in the day-to-day caring of younger children. But what men can't do as single parents is erased when the need arises and the love is there.
Although many men now cook, I never have. But if I had to cook I'm sure I could learn. I leave the cooking to my wife who devises healthy, delicious, inventive meals without my help. It's not that unusual for any of us to concentrate on things other than those already being taken care of. We adapt as needed. In short, I believe in men being able to raise their children well. Especially if they aren't afraid to ask for help.
Lastly, if it were biological mothers who were missing from 33% of homes instead of dads, I'd be blogging about motherhood. Kids need both a mom and a dad. 89% of respondents in a 2009 telephone survey agreed. I'm surprised it wasn't 99%.
When the Dad is missing!
This post follows up on my previous post re: "The Father Factor" series by The Deseret News.
The article below (see link) describes a situation that helped prompt me to write a book on the importance of fatherhood. In my book, "The Power Of Dadhood", I describe a family similar to one described in the The Deseret News article.
The family in my book is comprised of a single mom with 8 children from 7 different biological fathers. She has one set of twins. The mom was raised without a father and is raising her children as she was raised, without their fathers. She now has one pregnant daughter who no longer associates with the young man who impregnated her. The sons in this single mom family do not know how to be a man and the daughters do not know how to be treated by a man.
Some may ask, "what can we do to stop families from breaking up"? The answer is 'not much' - unless you work on the families of today to save the families of tomorrow. What usually happens to the offspring of fatherless families is, 1) the females look for male approval in the wrong places and very often have unwed teen pregnancies. 2) The males don't know how to be a real man and they turn to bravado and often violence. These young men are more than willing to satisfy the male approval needs of the young fatherless girls, but have no thoughts of responsible behavior. There is no lasting union, and the cycle continues.
Please read this article below! It explains, better than I, the consequences of not having a caring father in the home (or at least nearby).
It's nice to see some National reporting on Fatherhood! TheAtlantic.com and Deseret News has teamed up for a four part series on fatherhood called "The Father Factor". I hope you follow it with me.From the Deseret News: “The Father Factor.” Many media organizations have focused recently on issues and challenges associated with single motherhood. But the topic of fatherhood — what dads have to offer their children — hasn’t always received the kind of in-depth coverage that it deserves".Please read:
This is a very disturbing video! A young boy, who appears to be around 4 years old, is seemingly left without supervision in an arcade.
While his behavior is shocking, my first thought involves his safety. No child this young should be without an adult to watch over him. Of course, even very careful parents can possibly lose sight of their child, but I don’t think that is the situation here.
I’m assuming that this little boy was not born with a serious psychological disability, although it is possible. It could be that he has a Disruptive Behavior Disorder *. If so, it’s even more important that he be closely supervised. What also could be happening is a child being ‘raised’ by a totally incompetent person or persons.
This child has obviously not been taught limits. Any consequences he has ever experienced were not related to his behavior, meant to correct, but likely random punishment (from the child’s view). He has witnessed and learned behaviors like spitting which may be one of the lesser sins he's observed.
Children need authority figures to keep them in check, especially before they have developed their sense of right and wrong. This child has been left behind and it will take years for him to catch up to acceptable behavior skills, even if taught consistent behavior modifications! Left unchecked, it’s likely he could end up in prison or worse.
I don’t know the back story of this video. Why was he left unattended? Why did security take so long to appear? Did he have parents or guardians, or was he with a group? Does he have special needs or is he just severely misbehaved? It doesn’t matter to my message.
Kids are dependent upon and shaped by the important people in their lives. All children are born with certain inborn traits - but teachable variables exist which will make all the difference in the world to their success in life. If those variables, like feeling love, learning confidence, respect, and how to fight fear, are not taught - then the child will have a future full of uncertainty, doubt and pain.
The responsibility of caring, teaching, and mentoring young people is one of the most important and life changing undertakings we can assume. It must be thought out, researched, and performed with lots of love!
I’m watching the Winter Olympics….occasionally. I like the ski jump and downhill skiing the most. The first hockey match between the USA and Russia was awesome. T.J. Oshie, from my home team, the St. Louis Blues was the hero in the tie-breaking shootout.
Of course, you have to be one of best athletes in the world just to compete. They may not know how to change the time on a DVD player or know where the United Nations are located, but that doesn’t matter. These Olympians worked on their craft, fell, got back up again, and never gave up.
Thank goodness there are no Father Olympics! Being a Dad is not a competition, it is a serious responsibility which should also be a great joy. We all have different styles, go at different speeds, differ in our goals, and we often miss the mark. There are no standard maneuvers we must accomplish or times to beat. But just like an Olympic athlete, a dad should work on his craft, realize he will fall, get back up again, and never give up! We just try to be the best dad we can for each kid we have.
Being a good father does not have the glory of an Olympic champion. The entire world won’t know of your accomplishments, but the rewards can easily be the equal of an Olympic champion. The stage is smaller but the purpose is much larger. Hopefully, there is no one competing with you as Dad. There will be no Silver or Bronze Medal winners. Your judges are your children. If you are involved with them, show your love, really care, teach them and support them, you will win the ‘Gold Medal of Fathering’ in their eyes and be their own personal T.J. Oshie. You don’t have to be elite at anything!
The 7 Rings represent The Seven BE’s of Being a Dad from an earlier article posted on the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Blog below: <http://blog.fatherhood.org/bid/191763/The-Seven-BE-s-of-a-Successful-Dad>
Give your daughter some flowers…
Give your Mom a call…
Give your wife a big THANK YOU and a night out…
While everyday should have some love in it, Valentine’s Day is a chance to make love the foremost part of your day. Remember and reach out to all your loved ones!
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My one exception is my grown son. He knows I love him too but we just don’t do Valentine’s Day! :)