How are you guiding your children in the ways they should treat others? Do you talk about challenging situations where another child is from a different race, religion or sexual orientation? What values do your children see you demonstrating?
Given the recent tragedies involving teens taking their own lives after being bullied, it’s clear that as parents we need to be more frequently discussing these moral issues. We especially need to talk about how to treat others who are gay or lesbian since these kids are singled out more often for cruel bullying.
One of the most recent tragedies was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University, who took his life on September 22nd after his college roommate posted video of him and another man making out. The two 18-year-old students who posted the video are being charge with invasion of privacy. They face 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted.
How did these teens ignore the legal and moral issues associated with their behavior? Clearly they are very intelligent to have gotten into Rutgers but they seemed to be lacking any empathy towards Tyler. What went wrong that they didn’t develop this empathy?
It is up to us to teach our children about the importance of treating everyone with dignity. Their future and maybe even their lives depend on it.