Should Parents Be Held Liable For Their Children That Bully?

“Frustrated by the rate and nature of modern bullying, the former head of the Family Court (Australia) Alastair Nicholson, is now proposing the parents of bullies should be held legally liable for the conduct of their children, and that schools should also be the subject of legal action if they fail to create a safe enviroment for their students”

Reading the Sunday Mail (Brisbane edition) a couple of weeks ago,  I came across an article ‘Targeting parents of bullies not fair’, and whilst I am not a fan of continuing down the American path of – sue anyone for anything – it sure made me ponder the thought, that IF parents were liable, would many parents out there take a different approach to teaching their children about bullying?

Bullying seems to be growing in epedemic proportions, no longer just a scuffle in the school yard! Thanks to modern technology and social media, many of todays children are raging all out war, whilst safely hiding behind their computers. I have witnessed some of the conversations that go on amoungst kids today, and it is truly horrible how some of them ‘talk’, and I am pretty sure that most of them would not have the nerve to say such things face to face.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Arthur Baldwin

This quote sums it up quite nicely and by sheer fluke appeared on my Facebook feed today, a little sign that may-be I should write this post……

Children are like sponges, they soak up EVERYTHING, filling their conscious and sub-conscious with every little event, reaction, and happening, and sets the blue-print for how they will react to the things that life throws at them.

Bullies come from all walks of life, and how they treat others can often be a reflection of how they have seen their parents interact with others and with themselves.

Parents are the teachers, their children the students, IF parents were held responsible would they rethink the lessons they are teaching their special charges? We need to ‘Lead By Example’, showing our children how we should behave around others, as some of our everyday actions are sending the wrong messages…………

  • Do you express anger at ‘bad’ drivers by yelling, honking and fist waving, rather than patiently allowing them get on their way and you on yours?
  • Do you verbally comment when someone ‘pushes’ in front of you in a que?
  • Do you take the time to REALLY listen when your child is talking to you, or are you distracted by the multitude of things you are trying to do?
  • Are you able to provide all the latest toys or electronic gadgets, but are not able to spend time with your kids?
  • Do scream and shout at the umpires and players at a sports match if you don’t like what you see?
  • Do you enjoy a good ‘bitch’ session with your friends?
  • Do you have a good relationship with your family or are there ‘wars’ happening on that front?
  • Do you complain loudly at bad or sub-par service at a restaurant or store?
  • Are you leading by example, showing compassion for others less fortunate than you?
  • Do you yell at every little thing your kids do wrong?
  • Do you ever tell your kids they are ‘stupid’, ‘useless’ or any other similar phrase?
  • Are you continually focusing on what your children do well, however small the action, to help build positive self-esteem?
  • Do you keep an eye on your kids social media interactions?
  • Do you tell your kids that is OK to stand up for yourself with physical or verbal actions?
  • How do you deal with requests from kids that want things that others have so they fit in, are you open to negotiation?
  • Do you really try to keep the lines of communication open with your kids, will they come and talk to you openly about everything happening in their lives?

We all want the best for our children, and bullying has become a scary menace that can have such tragic consequences, we as parents all need to focus on the messages our children receive from us and those in close contact, their wellbeing depends on it!

What are your views on the ever growing problem with bullying, I would love to hear them?