I can’t find a Capetonian without an opinion on last week’s potty-mouth bully video.
To make a long story short, a 16-year-old girl sent an ugly video to her 14-year-old rival boasting about how much better she looks and threatening the younger girl with “escorting you to your grave.”
All the while she’s being egged on by two other girls in the background.
Most people think the bully deserves a proper pakslae.
I’m not comfortable with publishing her name, because I’m hoping her future self becomes a very different woman from the vain, naive and hurtful gangster girl she tries so hard to be in the video.
While it is a laughably painful video to watch, it is almost completely innocent compared to another bully video that surfaced out of Durban last week.
A much taller boy attacks another boy in a suburban street, throws him to the ground, kicks him in the privates, picks him up and throws him down again, before kicking him in the ribs, all the while verbally abusing and threatening him.
Other kids are watching, but doing nothing.
Instead, one of them can be heard ridiculing the victim for crying.
I know us adults are in the habit of saying: “kids these days,” before getting on with our business.
But when bully stories pop up, I wonder about how we as parents are negligent.
In our determination to give our kids the best, we have helped to breed a stubborn, ill-mannered and lazy generation with no sense of morality, self-respect and responsibility.
The kids today don’t fear their parents anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about kids who are scared out of their wits because they are regularly being physically abused to the point of assault.
I’m talking about the healthy fear that comes from appreciating consequence.
A hiding doesn’t have to be the only punishment they face.
And it doesn’t have to happen very often.
Sometimes the mere threat of punishment is enough to keep kids in check and to help shape their characters and personalities.
Because, as someone pointed out to me last week, discipline is also a form of love.
I have always believed that a child’s personality is a reflection of their parents.
You’ll often hear some parents say: “I don’t know where my child learned that behaviour.
“I didn’t raise her like that.”
The truth is, actually you did raise your child to be just like that.
While there are definitely some influences from friends, peer groups, pop culture, teachers and so on, children always return to what’s familiar to them, and that is the domestic culture in which they were raised.
Like any other personality trait in life, bullies are raised, not born.
If you want a sympathetic, loving, determined, strong adult child one day, then you need to give her all those things at home.
If you are a bad-tempered person, who often speaks with four-letter words, is boastful, cold, non-caring, violent and generally do not consider how your actions affect others, then expect your child to be the same one day.
And expect them to treat others the way you treated them.
We are responsible for the youngsters we want to disown.
It’s always our fault, whether we like to hear it or not!