Close your eyes for a minute! Think back to when you were 13 years old. Do you remember? Do you remember what it felt like? How unsure you felt? How much you wanted to fit in and be liked by others at the same time of trying to figure out just where you belonged? Do you remember feeling like the little things that happened in your life were ENORMOUS things and not being able to put those things into perspective?
The story of the 13-year-old girl is a sad one. Her last few days on Earth were riddled with bullying from school, from home, from the world. Why wasn’t anybody on her side? What drove her to take that final jump? If you know the story, you know about her “punishment” from her father. The punishment was that her long, beautiful hair was cut, and a video was taken of her while her father initially mocked her. The girl didn’t say much in the video. She was as silent as the dead pieces of hair that still laid on the floor in front of her. Days after this incident, she jumped off a bridge.
It’s not my place to say that the video caused her suicide, or that there wasn’t any other problems in her life, but I do have one thing to say… Being the target of a shaming video by somebody who is supposed to love you and help you probably didn’t help. As a parent, I watch as these shaming videos become more and more popular among parents. It seems the trend is to humiliate your children if they make a mistake, in hopes that the internet will make you “mom of the year” or “best father ever”.
Are these titles worth it? Is the online popularity worth tearing down the one person you are supposed to be lifting up? I’m not perfect, and I’ve made mistakes. But what is wrong with people who want to raise their children with fear and bullying? Every other person in this world will tear down your child, and target them, and make them feel worthless. The one place that a child should feel loved and accepted is in their own home. There is no other person on this Earth that will guide and love your child the way you do. So wouldn’t you want to be the one person in the world to guide them and protect them? The girl’s father made sure she had nowhere to go, no place to call safe. Teenagers are so isolated as it is, because they are going through a difficult time of growing from child to grown up. It’s a hard transition, for parent and child alike. But what he did only isolated her even more. Every adult on Earth has been a teenager, has mouthed off to their parents, and has made mistakes. Eventually, you grow out of it. Her father could have related to her just by remembering what it was like to be thirteen, what it was like to feel awkward and upset.
The problem is that children and teenagers aren’t adults, therefore, they aren’t seen as human. They are seen as less than human, something that has no important thoughts or feelings. But that is just not true! We are raising human beings. They deserve respect too. They deserve to be listened to, and treated as a living, breathing being. I believe whole-heartedly that if you want your child to learn kindness, be kind to them. If you want your child to learn respect, be respectful to them. Children, especially young children, look to their parents for guidance. If you just beat the crap out of them, you are not giving them guidance. Guidance is showing them how to be, by being it yourself. It’s that simple. What do you think shaming them and beating them is going to accomplish? That fear that you are instilling in them will destroy who they are, destroy their spirit. If we want better people in this world, we have to show them what better people are like. And if all else fails, talk to your child. Believe or not, it is possible to communicate to your child without a so-called “rod.” The human language allows you to tell them why something is wrong or dangerous. And, if you show them the respect of listening to them, they will show you the same respect.
This world is obsessed with obedience without question. Every parent that shames their child wants their child to be seen and not heard, and wants their child to obey, obey, obey. Well, I disagree. I want my children to ask questions. I want my children to think for themselves. I hope they never stop asking questions, because once they stop asking, they stop thinking. I refuse to break their spirit just to turn them into little, obedient members of society that keep their head down and do as they’re told. My children will not be conformists. They will question things and follow their own path.
In any case, what I’m trying to say is that if we want to raise decent human beings that know how to respect and love and think, shouldn’t we be the example? One of the saddest parts of the thirteen year old girl’s story is that a week before this whole thing, she posted lyrics online about having no friends… Where was her family to help her? To support her? To guide her through this? Maybe, if her family was there for her and cared for her, her outcome would have been different. Maybe, even without friends, the love of her family would have been enough to get her through such tough times, but instead she got a family who bullied her and shamed her. I would love to see a world where love and respect of each other prevails, but that can’t happen the way things are now. Our children are the future of this world. Do we want the future to be filled with violence and anger? Or do we want a future filled with love and understanding? We have the choice. Choose.
**Suicide affects everyone! Family members, friends, and all the people left behind to suffer the heartache of never knowing why. My dad committed suicide 15 years ago. The one question that still goes through my mind is why?! Feeling lost and alone has nothing to do with being around people. It’s something that is inside. Something you can’t see but you feel very, very deeply inside of your soul!!
Here is some information on suicide: