I feel so much pain for what he must have been feeling and had no one to help him through. I’d have fought the world to the death had I known…why didn’t he come to me? Why couldn’t I see it? – Kris M. Huntley, mom of 12-year old Kyler
These are the tragic, heart-wrenching words from a mom who lost her 12-year old son on December 29th — during a season of hope, love and looking forward as the new year approaches. According to his mom, Kyler was bullied and as a result of the pain, he took his own young life.
I’m sure in her agony, the question is asked over and over, “Why couldn’t I see it?” But sadly, she is not alone. Kids are good at hiding their pain.
The most frightening statistic, I believe, is that over 64% of kids don’t tell an adult when they’ve been bullied. The reasons are many and if we can transport ourselves back to our youth, we may remember feeling the same way.
Why is it the most disturbing statistic? If they don’t tell us, we can’t help.
The hopeful part? If we make it a priority to become more aware — sharpen our skills as the Go-To Adults – there’s a chance we can turn some of the hurt around and help children grow to become their best selves.
Here are some of the reasons kids keep things to themselves:
Fear of things getting worse
Retaliation from the bully
Fear an adult will overreact
Fear an adult will under-react
Fear that they won’t be taken seriously
Fear they may be seen as a snitch
Fear that a cell phone or computer will be taken away
Assumes an adult already knows
No one will actually do anything about it
They don’t understand subtle acts of mistreatment
Being aware that they may not be sharing what’s really going on is half the battle.
Next steps? Listen. Ask questions. Reserve judgment. Address their fears. Help them feel safe.
And as parents, we need to support each other.
God Bless You, Kyler.