Check out my Op Ed in today’s Montreal Gazette:
In the campaign against bullying, it’s becoming clear that words matter.
When letter-writer Nancy Boyle (“Bullies come from the best of homes,” Gazette, Jan. 3, 2011) says that bullies are often “perfectly well-adjusted, well-cared for” children from “stable and loving home[s],” she is correct. Moreover, it is seriously counter-productive to paint these kids as dysfunctional monsters.
“Bully” has become the new-millennium scarlet letter. It connotes a colossal parenting failure, an anti-social, classroom-disrupting, Facebook-scrawling ogre. It embodies within it all our anxieties about our modern, ineffective styles of parenting. It anchors our worries about our kids growing up online.
So when the school calls to say that little Johnny (or Jean-Luc) is bullying someone in his class, a parent would have to surmount some pretty impressive psychological barriers to quietly accept this and ask what can be done. To the average mom or dad, the implication of that word is that you have failed as a parent; you have turned out a modern-day monster.
Read more: Full editorial available here.