It’s on us.

A 9-year-old girl recently committed suicide…her family says she was bullied.

Let that marinate for a second: a 9-year-old girl recently committed suicide. 

madison

Her name is Madison Whitsett…she lived in Alabama.

Look at her.

That sweet face.

That beautiful smile.

Gone.

Let’s call it out right now: kids can be mean and hateful. Some kids just have a bad day and they lash out at someone…other kids are just hell-bent on torturing others.

When we hear about bullying, there is a rally cry that follows: “THE SCHOOL FAILED! WHERE WERE THE TEACHERS? THE ADMINISTRATION DID NOTHING!”

This is the thing: it’s not a school issue. It’s a HOME issue.

Kids aren’t dumb…they’re not being mean to other kids IN FRONT of teachers. They’re slicker than that. They’re waiting until an adult isn’t around to say something mean. When they’re asked about it, most kids turn on the doe-eyes and deny, deny, deny.

The problem won’t get better if all we do is blame the schools.

It’s OUR job as parents to teach empathy, compassion and kindness. And that happens at HOME.

We teach our kids how to use the potty, brush their teeth and tie their shoes…but do we ever teach them how to show empathy?

There is a really simple way to teach empathy too: treat others how you want your kids to treat others. That includes how WE TALK TO OUR CHILDREN.  How we talk to our children becomes their inner dialogue.

I know it’s tough. I have four kids ranging in age from 1 to 10 so I am in the thick of things with a moody “tween,” a sometimes defiant 7-year-old, a threenager who knows it all and a one-year-old who, well, she is still sweet 🙂

There are meltdowns and temper tantrums that push me to the edge. My first reaction is to lose my mind like a lunatic and just start screaming. But I don’t. Well, I try not to.

I started to ask a simple question instead: “Something is clearly upsetting you…you want to talk about it?”

Their feelings are real…they just don’t know how to express them.

When we encourage our children to share their emotions and feelings with us…we are teaching them empathy without even realizing it.

Honestly, if we aren’t teaching these things at home…then it may be our kid who is the bully.

And if you’re okay with that…then you are the root of the problem.