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Posted: January 21, 2014 10:00 p.m.

In era of rampant bullying, parents must take action

The Jan. 15 edition of The Covington News featured a story that saddened me for many reasons.

The piece was about a gang of girls who went to a man’s home and made threats as to what they would do to his daughter. This story brought out many questions and emotions.

Why did they do this?

What is wrong our children?

These girls made a decision to go to this home to cause trouble.

In the animal world, there are "alpha leaders," dominating the herd or the pack, such as wolves, as described by L. David Mech’s "The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species." However, our children are human beings, not alphas and pack members.

I’ve worked hard to raise kind human beings, teaching them to shy away from being controlling alpha animals.

I was always concerned about my son’s welfare. He was bullied in the second grade, often coming home from school crying.

I decided to make him aware of the world he was born into, teaching him to stand up for himself. I will not repeat here what I explained to him that he had to do, but he understood. As he opened the front door to go take on the boy who was bullying him, my heart was pounding. When he returned, he said he had done as I had directed him. He wasn’t crying, was proud of himself and was never bullied again.

However, later that evening the mother of the boy who was bullying my 7-year-old came by my house, saying she wanted to speak to me about my son. I stopped her before she could finish her statement and told her, "You need to stop your son from bullying children, or he is going to get himself in trouble." I also told her to tell her son what I told my son to do. I never knew what happened to that kid, but my little boy never had any more problems from any other children.

My son’s bullying problem was solved by my use of psychology, my minor in college (with a sociology major). My approach might not work in all cases, but doing nothing wasn’t an option.

In my opinion, the father of the young girl in The News’ story had to protect his daughter from this misdirected gang of girls. And the parents of those girls must stop them before they find themselves in jail.

Let me say here, I am anti- bullying. As a teenager I was bullied, but like most people I never considered physically harming the person who bullied me. This is not to say I didn’t stop the bullying. I did, without violence, and my parents never were aware of it.

But it seems that too many kids today, like that gang of girls in the news story, and other children who take weapons to school, can’t stop themselves.

Bullying can be about anything these days. Sure, it still can be name-calling, kicking and pushing. However, in the 21st century, we also have what is called cyberbullying, the posting of mean-spirited messages about a person online. Sometimes it’s done anonymously and sometimes not. This term was first used in 2000.

It seems as if our children are victimized in all sorts of ways, both those being bullied and those doing the bullying.

What is so tricky for me is this: How can a parent not know that his/her child is bullying or being bullied, and only learn when a crime is committed? A parent’s job is to take care of his/her children, and some parents miss the boat entirely.

When I read that article about that father, I determined that he appeared to have handled this family crisis in the best way he could. It is up to the parents of that gang of girls and the law to handle them. It is my hope that the daughter in this case will keep her mind straight and listen to her father.

How bad will it get in 2014?

I fear it is going to get worse unless all of us try to do our parts to help our children. "We the people" must do what we can and never stop trying to help improve the lives of the bullies and the bullied.

As adults, we must be wiser. We can’t keep skimping on dealing with our children.

The child bullies among us are treacherous. Do you think they are learning their behavior from adults? I am just asking. ....

Dorothy Frazier Piedrahita welcomes reader comments. She can be reached at ufrazier2001@yahoo.com

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