Monday, April 9, 2012

Do you ever think about your kids being bullied?

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.

Today’s post is definitely going to a place that I haven’t written about before.  I’m going to share with you guys about the fears I have as a mom, raising a little boy with Hydrocephalus and SVS.  Many moms raising kids with different disabilities, illnesses, or conditions, will know the kind of worries I have.  They’re not just worries about the next time my son might get sick, or need another surgery, or about the painful symptoms he will probably experience the rest of his life. These worries come every time I see a story in the news about a child being bullied. They come every time I think about my son going to school. They come every time I hear a story about child giving up on his/her hope that things will ever get better.

I read stories about kids who said they got made fun of for their hair, or their clothes, or for being shy, and I think about my son who has already had five surgeries on his shunt and has scars from those surgeries. I think about whether kids will make fun of him for having scars on his head. I think about whether kids will make fun of him if he were to get sick while he was at school. Or if he had to have surgery, and had to return to school with bandages on his head, and his hair shaved off where his incisions would be…I think about him getting made fun of because he won’t be able to play some sports like other kids his age will get to play, or how he might miss a lot of school because there are some days he just feels too bad to go.  I think about all the stories I’ve read from adults who have Hydrocephalus and SVS, and how they said going to school was difficult for them because of the symptoms they had.  I wonder if it’s going to be like that for my son… 
Levi's collage
When I first saw the trailer for the movie Bully I cried and cried.  I tear up just thinking about the kids I saw that go to school and are tormented everyday because they might be a little different than some of their classmates. They’re bullied because they might be soft spoken, shy, wear glasses, or they might not really be different at all, they just somehow became a target for the hate and anger some of their classmates had.  Watching the kids on the film made all of my worries for my son become more real. 

I’d love it if you just took 2 minutes and 21 seconds to watch this powerful trailer for the movie BULLY.

I know that as a mom, I’m always going to worry about my kids, especially my son who might have more to deal with, but I’d love for bullying to not be one of the worries that keeps me up at night. I’d love to know if any of you have dealt with a bully situation with your own kids, and how you dealt with it. Or maybe you have a child that isn’t yet school age, and you worry about them being bullied?  How do you overcome those fears? What would you do to ensure that bullying in your child's school ends?

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.

"This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Clever Girls is proud to support Bully, a film directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch. Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis. Click here to watch the trailer.
About the film:
Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 –year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers.
Bully will be shown in select theaters beginning Friday, March 30."
                 ~Information provided by Clever Girls Collective and the makers of the film BULLY.


JHill said...

I both really want to see this movie and wonder if I could handle it. It is SUCH an important message. I hope it has an impact on kids AND their parents!

Amy Anderson said...

That trailer makes me so sad too. Parents need to know what their children are doing at school and how they are interacting with other children. It's so important!

Jenn "Rook No. 17" said...

Jennifer, I applaud you for taking on this post and spreading the word. I think it's so important, as parents, for us to raise the awareness level about the pervasive nature of bullying. My oldest daughter is in 5th grade and already we've begun to deal with "the mean girls" and verbal bullying. With the help of other proactive parents, movements like The Kind Project, and movies like "Bully", I hope we'll see a change in the way we, as a nation, see and deal with bullying. Wouldn't it be wonderful if by the time your little guy hits upper elementary, bullying is no longer considered a typical part of growing up.


Carolina said...

I've got a scenario very much on the opposite side. I'm concerned that my son could one day BE a bully. At 3, he is already very outgoing and social. He is good at reading people. He is big for his age.
We are trying to teach him important traits like right and wrong, empathy, and compassion. He doesn't always make the best choices (hey, he is 3!!), but I hope as we continue to raise him in a loving home, listen, and care... that we'll raise a strong, loving little guy that will rise up as part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Catherine said...

Jennifer, THANK YOU for bringing up this issue. My now adult daughter was bullied as a child and it is heart breaking. The trailer was powerful and I just wish every parent in America could see it. Thank you for having such a powerful message and voice in this sad issue.

Patricia Villamil said...

As a new mom, this is a terrible fear I have. It's not enough that some families deal with real illnesses, or disabilities, or just simply the struggles of raising kids if you are single or have financial problems, now we have to deal with this horrendous situation of being BULLY. it REALLY worries me, and how about if your kid is the one doing the bullying? That's horrendous too, and hopefully something you can control from the start.

Jennifer Curtis said...

Catherine- so sorry that your daughter was bullied as a child. It is heartbreaking to think about how many people have gone through their childhoods or teenage years in fear. Thank you so much for sharing your story too.

Karla said...

You have a beautiful family. I blogged about this too. Your son is beautiful and i hope his schooling experience is a positive one. You know, when i went to school, although bullying did happen i always felt my peers had a soft spot for anyone with dissabilites. I always felt we were protective of them and did what we could for them to feel safe at school. It always made me smile when then toughest guy/girl in school went out of his/her way to do something nice for them. I know that kids seem more cruel now but i tell you this because i have hope that some parents are raising they're kids right. When the time comes for your son to go to school be as involved as possible and do your best to know what's going on in school. I really wish Bully had a lower rating so it could be seen by the ones who need to see this movie