This is a pretty popular new format for kids to express themselves. Holding up cards instead of talking.
It makes me wonder where their parents are. In my opinion YouTube is even more of a caution than facebook is and parents should be watching what their kids post. The feedback on Youtube is more anonymous and more vicious than on FB. Of course, many parents have no idea that their kids are posting these videos.
The big thing here is that we are not really giving our kids reasonable solutions. For some reason we have forgotten about natural consequences. When a kid gets bullied at school it tears on their self esteem. We tell them to ignore the bully OR that the bully is probably just getting bullied at home so our kid should just ignore the bully. But that doesn’t really help our kids because no matter if you believe what the bully is saying or not, the bullying still rips a little bit away from your soul and it needs to be filled with more than just platitudes from parents.
A kid won’t feel better about themselves just by getting good grades in school (they will probably just get teased even more for those grades). Our kids – just like adults – find a sense of self worth from the achievement of some goal. We need to be giving our kids meaningful challenges for themselves. My daughter set a goal of reading 50 books last year. Which she did. This last January 1 she declared 2010 the year of the side pony tail. Ok not a goal that will get us any closer to world peace but it is December 6th and she has worn her hair in a side pony tail every day this last year. My son decided he was going to be a vegetarian when he was 11. He’s 13 now and has stayed true to his vegetarian lifestyle. It is important for us, as parents, every day to help remind our kids that it is not words but deeds that build character and that our kids are uniquely awesome.
This year my kids have returned to our small town school system. Alex (8th grade) was bullied relentlessly at the beginning of the year. We are still dealing with that but it has been a little bit miserable. The Principal of the school laughed at him when he tried to ask a question about the school handbook ” Alex you take things too literally “. I have been asked to stay away from the school and that if I am interested in helping with any bullying issues I should perhaps go talk to the people at the High School. Alex is getting good grades and the bullies aren’t ganging up on him so much since he slugged one of them and took a day of in school suspension. So, needless to say the videos like the one above of this 8th grade kid in your email is near and dear to my heart. I do check out my kids bodies – cutting is a ridiculous new fad – and I do go through what they are posting on YouTube with them.
Last month Alex was asked to write an essay for school using the keyword “Change” – it’s not pulitzer work but it is very interesting to me because it seems like it is something that is going on for alot of kids and it tells me that the schools can do alot. The school Alex went to in 5th grade had a student handbook that they used and followed. Teachers expected respect from the students but they also gave the students respect. If there were any issues to deal with they would follow the guidelines in the student handbook and it was very calm. Alex did say that one day a kid was escorted out of school with his hands zip tied behind his back but other than that it was a very safe and encouraging learning environment.
YouTube makes for a whole new set of rules for kids these days. And its not easy because the parents don’t even know the rules.
Here is Alex’s essay:
Change is money. It can be given to people, or, it can be taken from people. Some need it more than others. Many things have changed for me from my past until now.
I experienced change when I lived in Baltimore. I was in fifth grade at the time. I loved going to school there. My teachers and classmates were nice, the school system was great, and I learned a lot from my classes. I also learned about the people. I was the only white kid in my class. I think living there gave me an open mind about people, no matter what colour their skin is.
Another change in my life was the time I started in sixth grade at Middle School. I was bullied at the time. Other students would make fun of my name or call me gay. The teachers weren’t much help when I told them about the bullies. It got so bad that I would only come to school for the first few periods, then I would homeschool for the rest of the day. My time spent in sixth grade changed me. I don’t trust everybody to be nice. I’m more cautious.
Finally, I changed when I went to the Middle East. I was there for part of sixth and seventh grade. The school there was strict and the school work was hard. For a long time I struggled. I didn’t understand a lot of what we were doing. The experience changed me. I now know that I have to work harder.
Change is money. Or it could be a new way at looking at people. Maybe it’s how to handle a bully. It could be how you look at yourself.
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