My oldest son is now in the fourth grade, and he's never had an incident of anti-gay bullying at school. And that may have lulled me into a false sense of security, because I was caught totally off guard when it happened to his little brother.
We need to stop arguing over the definition of bullying and trying to objectively indentify it. Instead, we need to listen when youth say they've been bullied.
Back to school should be an exciting time -- new teachers, new clothes, new school supplies and new friends. But for a child who is the victim of a bully, the excitement of a new school year is filled more with anxiety than anticipation.
At the time, I thought these incidents would ruin my life. I thought they would completely destroy my relationships with friends and family and that I would be cast out. When you're in high school the mistake of divulging information to the wrong person can seem disastrous.
High school has started for teens all over the country, and parents and teens are grappling with all sorts of issues around playing team sports.
In a society where the old adage, "It takes a village" is as dead as the concept of having only four TV channels or a life without Internet access, the job of being a parent is even more important. We have basically become our children's first and last line in the sand.
It is hard to stay calm when we read about transgender violence, and we continue to experience discrimination in our community's. It hard to be patient when our children's self-esteem is being eroded in ways most parents cannot fathom.
Words hurt. They can stay with you for a lifetime. It's easy to tell victims to ignore their bullies, but any of us who have experienced this type of abuse know that it's much easier said than done.
Kids often are the first to discover the latest and greatest thing, whether it's a download from the app store or a cool online trend -- but, just as they must sit through algebra and world history, they need to learn how to use these tools safely and responsibly.
You can't take for granted that all schools have adequate policies in place. Ask about them, ask for copies of them and go over them, when appropriate, with your child.
So, what's hot? Apps based on anonymity, where kids and adults can explore questions that can be asked or answered anonymously, are rising in popularity.
When you've been bullied in the past, the first day of school isn't usually exciting. In fact, it can be terrifying. It's hard to walk back in the "lion's den," but there are a few things to do that can make it a little bit easier.
Assertive responses are particularly effective in countering bullying because the child who masters this type of direct, emotionally honest communication demonstrates that a bully's attacks will be answered in a fair, but formidable way.
Pamela, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, was bullied all through middle school. They'd corner me in the locker room, and call me names... fat, ugly, t...
I often hear this "hit back harder" advice from adults who are recalling their own playground brawls from 20, 30, or 40 years ago. The simplicity of this advice fails to consider the complexities of the bully-victim dynamics of today's digital world.
Kids today have far too much responsibility ahead of them to be pushed down before they've even learned to tie their own shoes. While the logic behind it may seem reasonable, it's NEVER okay to publicly shame a child.