The fear a parent feels is more intense than anything that could have scared us before their birth. Our children's pain hurts us 10 times more than them, and we prefer it that way. There is a parental connection I could never comprehend as a child that surprises me still today.
While bullying prevention is certainly an important measure, it neglects the needs of potential victims of suicide. We need more programming to prevent suicide, which is quite clearly a risk factor for those who are bullied.
What role have the parents of bullies played in these cases? Why are parents giving young children smart phones with 24/7 access to social networks? More importantly, why are they not diligently monitoring their kids' online activity?
Should being a teenager or simply existing "come with the job" of being bullied?
Just as sleep plays a critical role in restoring our cognitive functions, the ability to step away from abuse to process, evaluate and take action is essential to mental health. Without that clarity stress can reach a tipping point with alarming intensity.
Our experiences growing up with bullying affected us in some challenging ways, but it also motivated us to work hard to prevent others from living through what we experienced. While resources weren't available then, it gives us relief and joy to see them available today.
Unfortunately, as I begin college, I haven't had my last experience with bullying. When most people think of bullying they think of physical brutality or mean girls spreading rumors -- both of which have happened to me. The reality is that bullying comes in many forms and sometimes happens when and where we least expect it.
Can you remember the schoolyard jingle that went, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Obviously that was not and is not the truth.
Real transformation within families, groups of friends, communities, corporations, institutions, governments, and communities of faith is an inside job. Change is found in the smallest choices we make every day about how we treat each other.
How do we protect our child when they are among the one in five youth who has been victimized? What if our child is one of hundreds of involuntary bystanders to a cyberbullying situation? What if our child is among the one in 10 teens who admits to harming others online or one the countless others who does so without realizing it?
I have always prided myself on being the optimistic sort, confident that there is no challenge that can't be met in some way. I've always felt that nothing is impossible. But I have to confess that it is hard -- damn hard -- to feel hopeful about the bullying epidemic in this nation, not when it continues to take kids lives.
Each child is different and each child is precious and -- at the risk of repeating an oft-used phrase, "even one case is one too many."
Faced with a bullying problem, schools will often reach for the latest anti-bullying program that promises to work, without considering the crucial question -- "will this program work for our school?"
In recognition of National Coming Out Day, I joined my mother and father, Jane and Joseph Clementi, in a conversation with LGBT rights activist Mitchell Gold to get to the heart of why coming out matters and how we can support young people as they go through this process.
As we come up to the one year anniversary of cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd's death, it becomes glaringly obvious that the impact of cyberbullying is not waning.
On October 7, 2013, Jesse posted on his Facebook page a sweet picture of him and Dirk. They are romantically kissing in gym clothes. The post received thousands of "likes." Sadly, amongst the appreciative comments, there were messages inciting violence.