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4:52 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Parents, take charge and teach children how to handle bullies (Guest Column)

Bullying - each time I am exposed to this word or concept, I become more troubled; however, not in the way most persons would respond. First, I wonder why this subject receives so much publicity and why the solutions are hardly discussed. The No. 1 solution - teach your children:

1. "Sticks and stones ..." - Words are a compilation of symbols and sounds. What gives a word power or value is what the receiver chooses to make of it. Teach your children this concept. Parents, model it for them. After all, bullies are found at any age, in any situation, at any job.

This is such a simple idea to enforce. Walk away from loudmouths who are trying to start something. They can't achieve their goals when the victim is not there.

Teach your children how to evaluate "hurtful" words into a category labeled "truth" and "lies." Your children should then determine how they want to handle the "truth" bullies and then to totally ignore the "lies" bullies.

2. Physical bullying can and should be contained by authorities, whether it be school authorities or police. Adults who are physically bullied can and should make authorities aware. Work places have laws that protect employees from harassment, and most employers have no tolerance for workplace violence.

Use these protections, and make it loud and clear.

The criminal term "assault" means a physical contact of another without their consent. Teach your children this concept, and be prepared to support your child in reclaiming his rights to be free from physical bullying.

3. If you discover that your child is being bullied through social media, then shame on you! As a parent, it is your responsibility to guard your child from this exposure. Very simply, cut them off from this exposure. Many, many generations have grown to be productive, happy citizens without the technology that is driving 12-year-olds to suicide!

4. Teach your children that they need to "grow a thick skin" because they will encounter bullying in all its forms throughout the rest of their lives.

5. Teach your children that in the adult world, no one owes them anything. This includes respect, kindness, friendship, obedience, etc.

I believe that if we can teach our children these things, many related problems will also become non-issues.