After her bullied 12-year-old dies by suicide, Dianne Grossman makes a passionate plea to parents.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you the story of 12-year-old Mallory Grossman, who died by suicide earlier this year after a 6th-grade year filled with torturous bullying at the hands of 4 of her classmates, much of it done via text and social media.
I pleaded with you, my fellow parents, not to give your kids smart phones and social media at too young an age. But recently, Mallory’s mom, Dianne Grossman, posted to the website Scary Mommy’s Facebook page with a plea of her own: she just wants parents to teach their kids to be KIND, and to not let them off the hook for bullying behavior. In her heartbreaking post, Dianne Grossman says:
Dear Moms, (and Dads)
My name is Dianne Grossman…
My daughter is Mallory Grossman, after months of bullying at school she ended her life of June 14, 2017. #mallorysarmy
An article here on Scary Mom[sic], was recently written, where a mom pleas to ask parents to teach their children to just stop..
Their child lay in a hospital bed….
My daughter made it to the morgue. Only.
I cannot imagine this mom’s pain as she typed those words. She continues,
I need your help, we must manage, oversee, and parent our children’s social media use. Yes, you all suffer from “not my child syndrome” …
Humiliation, Exclusion, and intimidation IS BULLYING!
The “you can’t sit with us”‘was only funny in a movie, not in real life, and certainly not for Mallory.
I think the point Grossman makes here is VITAL: “You all suffer from ‘not my child syndrome.’” The truth is, on some level, we all do. We WANT to believe the best about our children and we fear their slip-ups reflect badly on us so we deny or make excuses for them. And as natural as it may be to us, it is VERY damaging to our kids to let them get away with terrible behavior, and as Mallory’s case shows, very damaging to others. We can’t be like the “cool mom” in Mean Girls who just wanted to be her daughter’s friend…we have to PARENT our kids so that they won’t think the world revolves around them and wreak havoc on their own lives, other’s lives, and their relationships.
Mallory’s mom goes on to detail the bullying her daughter endured, and the “one up” syndrome she believes the tormentors’ parents had that allowed them to let the behaviors continue:
Her life in 6th grade, was horrible.
We did our best, didn’t allow her to have access to Snap Chat, limited her time, online…
Still her bully’s found access to her… it was their mission…Now they have tears of getting caught… they don’t shed the same tears we do… her family. Suicide is now an option. Children 10-15, it’s the 2nd leading cause of death… that’s right! #2 – your child is more likely to DIE by their own hands, as a result of social media cyber bullying, than get cancer or car accident.The “laws to force social media parenting are coming,” Grossman says. This last point intrigues me, because I honestly believe this type of thing will be very difficult to enforce…yet, like with school attendance and truancy laws, the threat of parental consequences might be the only way to get SOME parents to care what their kids do on social.But, back to the “one up” syndrome. Shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Dance Moms” clearly exemplify what Grossman is talking about here. When did we as parents get so obsessed with our kids being THE best instead of them doing THEIR best? The other day my daughter came to me upset because she was getting a 95 in 5th grade math, and last year in 4th grade she had made 100%. I calmly explained to her that her dad and I just wanted her to do her best, and whether her best was 95 or 85, that was fine with us. “Sophie,” I said to her, “I am FAR more interested in you being a good PERSON that I am interested in you being a good STUDENT.” I mean, my first impulse was not to hire her a tutor so she can be the best math student in her class, and beat that brainiac who got first place in the regional Math Olympics.And I am not trying to toot my own horn. I am a pretty regular mom who messes up quite a bit. But it does not occur to me that my kid needs to be better than everyone else.But I think that’s becoming the norm, more and more.Moms and dads, I leave you with these words from Dianne Grossman, grieving mom, because I think they bear repeating: “Your JOB as a parent is to teach them, there is always someone better than you, and less fortunate.”Empathy, my friends. Please, let’s all vow to teach our children how to walk in someone else’s shoes, before we walk in Dianne Grossman’s…or the shoes of the parents of her daughter’s bullies.