Bubble Wrap and Lollipops

I’ve been thinking…

I know, words no one REALLY wants to hear anyone else say.  I have been thinking, though.

I watched a news program tonight about bullying and the suicides that result from it.  My first reaction was to be sad and then a bit angry for the bullied kid, for the parents that had to mourn the loss of their child.  Then, I started thinking.

When I was in middle school kids got picked on.  Mercilessly.  CONSTANTLY.  I was one of the ones that got picked on a lot.  I was hypersensitive, easy to rile up, overweight and just different all around.  I learned to handle it.  My parents talked to me about it and helped me find ways to cope and to ignore.  I’m not saying it didn’t hurt my feelings or get under my skin.  Oh, it did.  I still have scars from some of the things said about me and to me.  But I didn’t want to kill myself over it.  I rose above it.

Why are kids so different today?  We’re not teaching them to stand up for themselves.   Why are they less able to handle things? We’re not teaching them to cope.

Did you know, schools are now teaching our kids that EVERYONE CAN BE FRIENDS?  Teaching them that is setting them up for failure and humiliation and a LOT of heartbreak.  You are NEVER going to get along with EVERYONE.  Ever.  It’s just not going to happen in any stage of life.   It’s like handing them a basket full of rainbows and flowers and sending them off into battle.  It’s not preparing them IN ANY WAY for what life is.

I know the popular rally cry for parenting in MY generation is, “PROTECT THE CHILDREN AT ANY COST!”  That’s great in theory.  Unfortunately, it seems to have created a generation of entitled, self-important, self-aggrandizing people that don’t have a clue how to tough out the things that come along in life.  Have we coddled and protected them so much that they can no longer function effectively in society?  Have we  created a generation that thinks life is all bubble wrap and lollipops?

I’m pretty sure and VERY scared that the answer is yes to those questions.

I’ve been guilty of it with my own son.  I love him to pieces, but he’s not mentally tough AT ALL.  I know I messed up BIG with that one.  I’m left with fixing it now.  When he’s 11 years old.  Almost 12 really.  Puberty is upon us and he’s going through all SORTS of changes.  Here I am, in the middle of it all, trying to figure out how to help him become mentally tougher.  Mentally ready to take on the world and WORK for what he wants.  Trying to teach him how to THINK and not just go through life like a blind, deaf man with no direction or help. We need to teach our children to stand for themselves. We need to teach our children to believe in themselves.  We also need to teach them how to back all that belief and posturing up.  Here is where I see us failing.

I have not a clue how to go about this.  It scares the hell out of me honestly.  I just know I have to find a way and then make it work.

Maybe teaching them respect is the answer.  Don’t fear peoples differences.  Respect them.  Don’t hate peoples differences.  Respect them.  Don’t listen to what the bullies are saying about/to you.  Respect yourself….

Ugh.  I’m knitting some tight stitches today.  It’s all because I dropped one rows and rows back and I’m trying to close the hole.

Tink, Tink, Tink, Tink…

Tink, Tink, Tink, Tink…

Tink, Tink, Tink, Tink…

If only it were that simple.

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11 responses to “Bubble Wrap and Lollipops

    • Why does that make you hesitate QP? The thing about parenting is you just take the bull by the horns. You teach them the way YOU believe is the right way. I’m to the point now with the bullying issue that I’m thinking, “Detention/Suspension be damned. He needs to start standing up for himself.” Now I just have to figure out how to teach him THAT without letting him think it means he can start crap with those who have been picking on him.

  1. I felt the same way as you in middle school and in high school. AND was able to survive with little but memorable scars. I have 3 adult kids that dealt with those problems in different ways and but my youngest is currently in middle school and I feel that I have not prepared her as well for those challenges. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only parent that feels this way.

    • Karen, that shows you what I knew back then, what ANY of us know. I always thought I was the only one feeling like that! We really DO live in a bubble at that age! You’re FAR from being alone in your feelings as a parent now!

  2. I was taught to never speak up at home, then ridiculed for not being stronger mentally. As an adult, I knew I wanted my child to be stronger, smarter, better than me. So when she fell, even as an infant, I would wait for her reaction, then react. If she cried, I’d kneel next to her and say, “Are you okay? No blood? Ok, let’s play!” and distract her. If the crying continued, THEN I would pick her up and hold her.

    This is not because I don’t love my daughter, or have no sympathy. It’s because she needed to learn STRENGTH. Cry over the BIG things, not the little ones.

    We still have this routine today, in everything. She can come talk to me about ANYTHING, but if she just sulks in her room and doesn’t speak up, I ignore pouts and move on with life. When she does come to me, we discuss, I hug and kiss and soothe.

    She’s learned that breakdowns are fine, as long as you get up and pick up the pieces. And that sulking gets you nowhere. And that honesty and speaking up will get you support and love.

    I’m glad I have a strong child. I tend to think, “I got lucky.” But when I focus, I realize that I *did* play a part in this. I chose not to coddle, not to shelter, and not to dumb her down.

    I’m not saying that every child who doesn’t have emotional strength was coddled. I am saying that it *is* possible to curb that tendency with a little patience (ok, a CRAP TON of patience) and resolve.

    I’ve met your son, and I think he knows your weaknesses as much as you know his, and I think he plays on them. He may be fragile emotionally, but he’s cunning … and you can use that to help him grow. 😉

    • Cunning indeed! He’s a smart dude and I’m a sucker. He TOTALLY knows it. I’ve been trying to toughen up MYSELF in order to get him to toughen up mentally as well. It’s time to take it to the next level though. The weight… it’s crushing sometimes.

      You KNOW I adore who your daughter is and is becoming. You’ve done an AMAZING job with her and done it on your own. She’s lucky to have a mom as centered and smart as you!

  3. The other day Aiden was telling me that he had been told that if he acts like himself people will be his friend but that at school he hears kids making fun of him. I told him that no matter what you do you will never be friends with EVERYONE and that those who make fun of you aren’t really worth being friends with anyway.

    • And that’s the message they NEED to hear. I hate that many try to portray life as all nicey nicey for kids. It in NO WAY prepares them for dealing with people. Ugh! Good on you Laurie!!!