I was asked to write a series of articles to assist in guiding teenagers through one the roughest periods of time in their lives, also known as the dreaded teenage years. My experience in working with approximately 3,000 teens weekly during the past 16 years I’m sure this will bring a fresh view in coaching teens through these deep water days.
I’m sure most everyone has heard of the news about the adult bus monitor, Karen Klein, that was bullied by 4 seventh graders. A video captured the bullying of a 68 year old grandmother and quickly became a rallying point against bullies.
The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cell phone video recorded by a student of Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats directed at her. One student taunted: “You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you.” Klein’s eldest son killed himself 10 years ago. Eventually, she appears to break down in tears.” She said she hopes the parents will talk to their children about being “a little more respectful.”
Don’t wait until your teen does something over the top. Teens are in a unique time in their lives, searching for their boundaries. I have no doubt that these bus bullies showed bad behavior long before this incident. They surely did not start cussing and threatening an authority figure without warning signs. For instance, there are countless children who throw tantrums for the same reasons. They are saying “give me my way or face my behavior.” And if you as a parents or caring adult do not deal with those tantrum early, your child could develop a larger behavior problem as they grow older.
This undoubtedly is what happened in the recent bullying incident with Mrs. Klein. So as caregivers of our families we should deal with the issues of our children before they become unruly teens. If you have waited too late and are unsure of how to confront your unruly teen, your not alone. Many times teens mimic their friends, so try to help them choose their friends wisely. Some places to find positive influences are in the Boys and Girls Clubs and in participation of school sports, as well as local youth groups and faith based teen organizations. Once you find an extended support system to the important values you are instilling in your teen, the task of steering your teen in the right direction will become much easier.
To contact Brad Holt or Youth for Christ or 228-864-0788

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