Last month, a local news station came to my home for an interview about bullying. While the cameras were rolling, we found ourselves discussing the phenomenon that most parents don’t mind admitting that their kids are being bullied, nor do they mind looking for a solution to that bullying. Few parents there are, though, who are willing to admit that their kids might be bullies, and the need or want to find a solution to that bullying is, for the most part, non-existent. Yet for every kid being bullied, there’s at least one kid doing the bullying, usually several. Imagine if parents could be real with themselves about their kids’ roles in bullying and actually do something about it.
Of course, bullying is only one issue of countless that seemingly only gets worse because nobody wants to admit that they (or their children, or their spouses, or their whoever) might be contributing more to the problem and less to the answer.
My neighborhood, a fairly nice neighborhood, has a dog problem. Several dogs have free-run of the streets, frightening children at times, crapping all over everybody else’s lawns (my lawn seems to be a favorite target), barking, and in general being a nuisance. You ask any of the owners of the dogs, and their dogs aren’t a problem. The rest of the neighbors are all too worried about ruffling feathers to file complaints or say anything about it, so we all quietly gossip and share our disdain for the animals and their owners while graciously smiling and chatting with those same people any time we bump into them.
Likewise, some parents have a real difficult time admitting that they might have a part in their children’s behavioral problems, and are quick to find easy reasons to explain away their children’s bad behavior. We all know parents like this. Perhaps sometimes we’re all parents like this. No parent likes to admit that they’ve been too neglectful, that they’ve stuck their kid in front of the TV or video games too often, that they haven’t been engaged in their kid’s life, that they haven’t played with their kid enough, and more. No, it’s always due to something completely out of their/our control, something spurred by peers or teachers, or something that can be controlled again with the use of drugs or heavy discipline.
Failed relationships, failed marriages, failed families…
Our chronic tardiness.
Getting fired from work.
The national debt.
Our personal debt.
Must I go on? Okay, fine.
Our financial problems.
Our loss of friendships.
Our failed ventures.
Our poor sleeping habits.
Our failure to overcome our addictions.
Must I go on? Okay, fine.