Bullying is at an epidemic rate for school age children (CDC). Bullying is a problem many children and teenagers face on a daily basis and it is related to a large number of suicides. In fact, I read an article about a 15 year old girl in Pensilvania who killed herself which had a big impact on me. She was the victim of bullying at school. The family described her as a nice, caring girl. However, the bullying was severe enough to cause her to take her own life.
We need to remember that bullying is no longer just something that happens at school. Also it is no longer just part of childhood. With social media, bullying has become viscous. This 15 year old girl is not the first child to commit suicide due to bullying. The bullying we are talking about is Cyber Bullying. It is happening very often in elementary, middle and high schools. There are also cases of suicide due to cyber bullying in College students. Cyber Bullying can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The victim can receive emails and texts all day and all night. Additionally, the people doing the cyber bullying can post on social media sites. Therefore, they can be posting items on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. As a result, the bullying does not just happen at school and rumors about the victim can be spread world wide. Since they are using social media the perpetrators can hide behind a computer screen. Using the computer makes it harder to identify perpetrators because they can establish false accounts. This makes cyber bullying very dangerous. We need to remember a child’s suicide impacts and forever changes an entire family. A parent’s life is never the same after the death of a child especially if it is a suicide. Also the siblings of the suicide victim are never the same either.
In this girls obituary, the family openly discusses how they have been torn apart by the death of their daughter. The describe how they expect this feeling to last for a while. They also discuss trying to come to terms with this event. They cannot understand why kids would bully one kid so severely so the child be bullied feels that suicide is their only option.
We need to pay attention to what these parents are saying. Bullying has reached epidemic rates, as I stated above, and has become very vicious. Besides losing a young person too early, the entire family are victims of the bullying. Parents lose a child, siblings lose a sibling, grandparents lose a grandchild. The worse part is no one can make sense of the death. Why do we have children who feel the need to bully a child so severely that a child commits suicide? We need to think about this issue. I hear many children in psychotherapy reporting being bullied. These children are being bullied at school and at home through social media, as I stated above. We must remember that Bullying has changed. Besides being teased at home, there are posts bullying them on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram just to name a few social media sites. It doesn’t stop with social media. They receive emails and texts on a constant basis and these emails and texts are sent to other students too. In my opinion, this bullying is very vicious and emotionally exhausting. There person being bullied never gets a break from the bullying. Because they never get a break they have difficulties dealing with their emotions and their thoughts about themselves get twisted. They are so embarrassed about be bullied that they are ashamed to tell their parents. They feel they must have done something to deserve the bullying. Therefore, they tend not to tell their parents because they do not want to disappoint their parents.
We can take a lesson from this girl who committed suicide. After expressing their feelings, the parents closed the obituary with a simple request. They asked in lieu of flowers that we be kind to each other. This is the key. If kids who are bullying could put themselves in the shoes of the person they are bullying, they might stop. Also we need to look at the kids doing the bullying. What has happened to them to cause them to be so cruel to another person? Many bullies are victims of physical or severe emotional abuse. In order to solve the problem the person being bullied and the person bullying need to be treated.
In the mean time, we can honor the requests of this girl’s parents and be kind to each other. If you want to read the entire obituary here is the link. Family Of Teen Who Killed Herself Has Message For Bullies In Obituary https://patch.com/pennsylvania/northampton/obituary-pa-teen-who-killed-herself-bullies-its-not-too-late-change-your
Dr. Michael Rubino has 20 years experience treating children and adolescents. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit one of his websites http://www.rcs-ca.com or http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/drrubino3.