Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Names *Can* Hurt... and Worse

Today, my guest blogger is author Gilda Evans (http://www.gildaevans.com). Ms. Evans is the author of the upcoming GIRL TALK book series and is also currently working on the first installment of her young adult novel series, THE ALTERNATES. She is also a mentor to Teen Help (http://www.teenhelp.com), an international, non-profit organization that provides an anonymous, free, friendly, and safe environment for anyone seeking support and advice on a variety of topics, as well as other support services.     

Guest post: Names Can Hurt... and Worse

Last year, more than one year after teen Phoebe Prince committed suicide because of unbearable harassment at school, the teens who bullied her appeared in court to receive sentencing. Our system is slow to respond to these kinds of situations and, many times, we as parents are also too slow or just in denial for some reason. Statistics state that 1 in 5 teens think about committing suicide as a result of depression and related issues. 1 in 5? Hey, people… do you think we have a problem here? And the sad part is, the vast majority of these teens – mostly girls, by the way – ask for some kind of help before trying to hurt themselves.  

Parents, if you suspect that your child is being harassed at school (or anywhere else) for any reason, you must take a stand on behalf of your kid and set the perpetrators straight. All too often the victim feels helpless to do anything about the situation and resorts to desperate measures to deal with it. Don’t let your child be one of those people. Communication is the key – open, honest, non-judgmental communication. Offer your assistance without pushing it down your kid’s throat. Share your own stories of when you were a child and had similar experiences. Assure them that you are there to assist, to protect, and to guide them.Talk to other adults in charge and find out what’s going on (but keep your child in the loop if you can).  Whatever it takes, you must be the one to make sure that the violence – because that’s what it is even if it’s only verbal – stops. We, as responsible adults, need to present the kind of role model that we would like our children to emulate…and that includes creating a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow and become the young adults we would like them to be.
*  *  *