Bullys in School

Updated on April 01, 2009
J.P. asks from Bellaire, OH
29 answers

last year my now 8 year old daughter and 7 year old son had some problems with bullys at their school....nothing that would physically harm them, but more emotionally. the problem is that my children..mainly my daughter would come home crying..we would talk about it....she would forgive and say but so and so is my friend..and the hurtful things would continue. i tell my kids to stay away from people that arent good for them...the ones who hurt their feelings all of the time. i have talked to the school principal about the situation but that really got no where. i understand that kids can be cruel to a point, but seeing my children so upset makes me soooooo sad. One little girl who treats my daughter this way repeats things and says her mother says them...she does this to alot of her "friends" i just would like some advice on how to handle it since school starts soon.

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R.N.

answers from Sheboygan on

Hi,

As a former teacher, I would say that you should go directly to the teacher(s). They are the ones dealing with the children all day and are around them more than anyone else. They may be able to help better than anyone. I also know that when I was teaching I wanted to know about these types of things, because we cannot see or hear everything that is going on. If the teacher does know about it though, he/she can keep an eye on the situation a little more closely. Hope this helps!

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K.G.

answers from Charlotte on

I am a teacher and from my view point I always wanted to know when this was happening. If the teacher is active in the classroom she/he can really make a difference with these kinds of problems. Of course, we can't be everywhere all the time but I had special things I did to handle that kind of problem. Plus I had class meetings and usually the bullying issue would come up with more than one student (chances are your daughter is not alone). That is when the other parent NEEDS to get involved (maybe even before that). Good Luck! No one wants a child not wanting to go to school b/c of something like this.

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L.

answers from Louisville on

HI,
There is a book called Simon's Hook. It is a Grandma Rose story and is really super. I continually refer to it when talking with my children about teases, putdowns and the like. The trick is to choose how to respond to those bullies. The book gives suggestions and illustrations that are easily understandable to children, and to adults. You might check it out at the library or let me know and I'll see what I can do for you. Also check out www.grandmarose.com. The book publisher is GR Publishing.
Grandma Rose's Free Fish Poem
"When people tease you there's much you can do. As Grandma Rose says, "It's all up to you."
You can DO very LITTLE or SOMETIMES AGREE that "MAYBE you COULD say that about me."
Try to DISTRCT them, or LAUGH with them too. Or just STAY AWAY may be what's best for you.
There are many ideas to choose from you see. When you learn not to bite, you learn to swim free."
The book refers to mean things people can say about someone and teaches that someone ways to REACT. It is written with a fishing theme. If someone calls you a "lawnmower head" because of a bad hair cut, they are throwing out a hook. If you "bite" at the "hook", then they have caught you. If instead, you Ignore them, Agree with them (just don't argue with them, Laugh or Joke about it - smile at them or even just Stay Away from them. Eventually, they will quit throwing "hooks" because you aren't biting giving them what they want.
I hope this helps.
Best wishes,
L.

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L.

answers from Indianapolis on

My son had that problem and I printed out some articles from the news showing how one child was bullied via text messages on his cell phone and committed suicide (even tho I internally was not sure if they really were related) and another article. I went to the principle with articles in hand and explained to him that, "I was sure he was aware of the seriousness of bullying, and that my child was to be guararnteed a safe environment for education yaddah, yadda... and could he please give me the parental info on the child who was bullying so I could provide it to my attorney." The "bully" ended up serving some detentions and the mother asked to speak with me and the child stopped aggressive bullying. I told the school if there were any threats whatsoever at the bus stop, school or anything I would make sure action was taken -- that my child did not need the distractions of coercion or hostile environments in a public school system and I would do whatever it took to protect him. Bullying is a serious issue and the media thrives on it. Use that to your advantage. I know that I got a little overboard with the school -- but if you demand your rights be respected or Channel 6 will be there, they tend to get hopping. They don't know I"m really very level headed and wouldn't call Channel 6 -- let them think I'm a hothead -- atleast the kid is off my son's back and he can go to school without worries.

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B.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

Chances are not much (if any) of what this bully is saying is true, but if she knows it's upsetting your daughter, then she's likely to continue - that's the payoff for the bully.

Not trying to minimize it, but there is an episode of "Little Bill" on Nick Jr./Noggin that deals with this. I can't remember the title of the episode; it might be called "The Meanest Thing to Say". A new kid to the school wants to play "ranking" - saying the meanest thing to someone until they win because the other kid gets upset. Little Bill's father asks him if the things are true, or if they hurt his feelings; no. Then just say, "So..." every time they say something. When Little Bill does this, the other kids start to giggle because the bully starts to say worse things and keeps getting told, "So?" until the bully says, "Hey, you're supposed to be upset...why aren't you crying?" And the other kids ask him why he kept saying, "So?" Little Bill tells them it's because nothing he said was true or made him cry, so why not.

Just in case - here are some websites that might help:
Stop Bullying-Guidelines for Schools http://www.nobully.org.nz/guidelines.htm

Stop Bullying Now http://www.cary-memorial.lib.me.us/bullyweb/index.html

Education World-Bullying Interventions That Work
http://www.education-world.com/a_issues/issues103.shtml

Bullying In Schools & What To Do About It by Dr. Ken Rigby
http://www.education.unisa.edu.au/bullying/

Blueprints for Violence Prevention: Overview of the Bullying Prevention Program
http://www.colorado.edu/cspv/blueprints/model/ten_bully.htm

Safe Child Program-Bullies
http://www.safechild.org/bullies.htm#TAKE%20A%20STAND

Kentucky Center for School Safety
http://www.kysafeschools.org/2 ndry/resources.html

Safe Schools, Safe Students http://stwnews.org

Don=t Laugh At Me http://www.dontlaugh.org

National Resource Center for Safe Schools http://www.safetyzone.org/publications/fact4_index.html

National School Safety Center http://www.nssc1.org

Bully OnLine http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/child

Hurt-Free Schools http://www.bullying-in-school.com

Ophelia Project http://www.opheliaproject.org

Kansas Bullying Prevention Program
http://www.kbpp.org

Bully Stoppers.Com http://www.bullystoppers.com

ERIC Clearing House for Counseling and Student Services (ERIC/CASS)
http://ericcass.uncg.edu/virtullib/newlibhome.html

Bully B=Ware http://www.bullybeware.com

Maine Project Against Bullying http://lincoln.midcoast.com/~wps/against/bullying.html

Committee for Children http://www.cfchildren.org/bully.html

Nature and Prevention of Bullying http://www.gold.ac.uk/tmr/

Bullying Online http://www.bullying.co.uk/

Bullying.Org http://www.bullying.org

Anti-Bullying Network http://antibullying.net/

Colorado Institute for Conflict Resolution and Creative Leadership
http://weinholds.org/bullyindex.htm

Anyway- for what it's worth, and good luck!

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B.D.

answers from Greensboro on

If you spoke with principal and it is still continuing, then I would suggest a one and one meeting with the bully's parents and you in the principals office. Some face to face diplomatic discussions with the principal and other parent (not the children) would bring things to the surface much quicker than just speaking with the other parent.

Should the problem still continue, let the principal and the other parent know that you are contacting the Superintedent and school board to resolve the issue. (I can guarantee that the Principal will resolve right in his/her office).

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D.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

I would take it up with the school counselor. If you get nowhere, the principal. Still nowhere? The superintendant. I hope this doesn't occur again this year for your kids.

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S.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

I had a freind in kindergarten, who by the time we were in third grade, wasn't really my friend anymore. I along with some other kids picked on her to no end that entire year. And I still, to this day feel horrible about it.
She and I have been best friends for 20 years now, just took a girls only trip to Hawaii last month. Sometimes I think that maybe every kid has to both "bully" and be "bullied" (I was picked on my fair share at some point too!)as a right of passage so to speak. Perhaps it's an outside of the box view, but think back to your days in school, however long ago they may or may not have been. Were you always kind to other children? Can you honestly sit and say to yourself that only kind words have ever left your mouth?
We all have our times when we should have been nicer. And as adults, we really need to take that old addage "Be sure your words are sweet, you may have to eat them later" to heart. Not enough of us go by this.
Kids have to grow and learn, and they do a lot of this just by interacting with other kids. Whether it's nice play or the occassional bully, we can only teach our own children how to act appropriately, how to be kind to others and even at that, let them learn the hard way when they don't. We all know they are kids and won't always follow the rules we set in place, but part of parenting is teaching your children how to be nice kids, instilling self worth into them so when the bullies do come, or as teenagers, when the kids with drugs come around, they know they are fine people just as they are and no drugs, OR bad words and mean things to say will change that.
The media feeds on this bullying stuff because parents want to sue people for, in a nutshell, kids just being kids. Of course you want to protect your children, we all do. Arm them with faith in themselves, remind them always that possibilities in life are endless and they and ONLY themselves are responsible for how their lives turn out, no bully can take that away from them. You can't go wrong with that!

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K.T.

answers from Raleigh on

I think most children go through this at some point, but some more than others. When my daughter came accross similar situations, I talked to her about some reason why that person might be acting that way, and also that the more of a reaction that person gets the more likely they are to continue. It might be hard for your kids, but they need to hold their ground and not let the other person know they are upset. Cry when they get home, but act oblivious around that person and have a "what ever" attitude. Another situation, a boy wouldn't stop calling my daughter, I ended up calling the parent of the child because that was the only way I was going to get the harrassment to stop. Most parents are very understanding and not supportive of such behavior. The parent may not be aware the child is acting this way. Another step is to talkt o the teacher, not the principal. The principal is not in the presence of the children when these actions are taking place, so it is difficult for them to do anthing. The teacher is much more likely to be available to intervene. But, be aware the more intervention by the teacher the more likely it will continue when the teacher isn't watching because the child will know your child is upset. Most of all, talking with your children and letting them have some say in how you respond is important. If they will be imbarrassed by you talking to the parent for example, then that will be counter productive in your personal relationship with your child. Letting them be part of the solution is very impowering and will add to their confidence.
The good news is, many times when my child had problems one year, it stopped the next because the other child's focus moved elsewhere, or they just grew up enough or ended up becoming friends.

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K.

answers from South Bend on

I took a class on bullying last summer through Valparaiso, the Connecting Link. It was here in town, a very good class and they have a web site if you're interested in checking it out. The book we worked through was Bullying in American Schools by Anne G. Garrett. Bullying is a huge problem! I hope this helps!

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B.S.

answers from Louisville on

Kids can be so cruel and I'm with you it's not right! There is no reason that your daughter should come home crying repeatedly. I'd go to the school board if the prinicpal is not willing to help. I might also request a meeting with the child's parent to address the issues that way, but then again the apple usually doesn't fall far from the tree! Good luck and I hope you get some resolution on this situation.

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T.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi- I don't have much advice for you butI do have a daughter who is 7 and a friendly, well mannered little girl who would be a great friend to your daughter. We also live in Gastonia (new to the area) My daughter will be in 2nd grade at Robinson Elem. Please email me, maybe they can play together [email protected]____.com

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L.H.

answers from Charlotte on

I have the same concern about bullies. I have heard from the young child living near us (my son is 13, the boy near us is 9) that there are two pre-teen or maybe older boys two blocks from where I bought my house. The boy claims these two have been physically bullying - kicking him, he says. While I haven't wittnessed this and have no proof, it concerns me. My son doesn't yet have any friends and doesn't like the whole idea of moving, so I am not sure how he may react if faced with this. I know there is 0 tolerance for bullying in several places. I am curious to know how it is handled in this area. I think it is entirely unfair that our children should feel unsafe going to school. Thanks!

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K.C.

answers from Richmond on

My son just started Kindergarten, but through some TV shows, has picked up on the existence of "bullies"

Here is how we have chosen to handle his inquiries about "what if I meet a bully?"

Maybe because my husband is a counselor/therapist, and/or because I had been bullied plenty in my own childhood, we have chosen to respond to him this way:

We explained to him that the reason people bully is because they really feel badly about themselves and that is the way that they try to make themselves feel better/important. It is alot easier to make someone else feel bad, than to make them feel good. I told him that lots of bullies don't feel loved at home for whatever reason, maybe their family does not express love or pride for the child, the way we do in our home. I tell him that deep down he should feel sorry for the person who has to deal with life without true friends or the skills to make friends. Basically he should let me know if it is happening, and go to any effort to ignore the behavior and report it to the Teacher.

ON that note, we will see if that plays out in the event he is ever bullied (which I am sure will happen at SOME point in his elementary education career) Hopefully he will have the interpersonal skills to understand the behavior and respond accordingly.

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M.G.

answers from Indianapolis on

Try talking to the childrens teachers to let them know you are concerned and would like to work with him/her on these problems. Kids are mostly bullies because they are insecure themselves and want to make others miserable. Keep talking the situation out and have your children problem solve with you how to avoid or make the most of the situation-sometimes teaching children to walk away is the best option (ignoring bad behavior). I am not anxious to deal with this as my child gets older and the more stressful childrens lives are the scary it becomes.

Best of luck with this and hope your children have a great school year!

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J.G.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi. I read your post and wanted to let you know that my 7 year old daughter had the exact same issue last year. There was a little girl who sat beside her in class and whenever my daughter talked to the girl on the other side of her the first child would start saying mean things to her. "you are not my friend anymore" "I am going to tell on you for talking". I don't know what was being said to your children, but my daughter took these things to heart and said she was being bullied. I asked her if she wanted me to talk to her teacher and she said no. Finally after another week of her coming home upset with more mean things being said by this girl I finally asked her why she hadn't told the girl to stop. We did role playing were I was the girl and she had to tell me to stop. I told her to tell the girl either stop being mean or I am telling the teacher. Or to tell her if you want to be my friend you can't say those things to me. If the girl doesn't stop then just avoid her. I reminded my daughter that she had other friends, and a real friend wouldn't be mean to her. I haven't had her come home crying once since that conversation and that happened last year. Hope that helps. Good luck.

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D.

answers from South Bend on

Hi,
I feel for you - how awful. Mental bullying can be more harmful than physical. If I got nowhere with the principal, I would use the advice my mother always told me - Go to the very top whether it is the superintendant or whomever. Since it is unlikely you would want to change schools, find out asap who their teachers are and make sure your kids are in different classes. I would advise not going to the children's parents as it sounds like they are enabling this kind of behavior and would most likely defend their children or say it is not true.

Could talk to other parents of kids that are spoken to and treated this way? There could be power in numbers. If the principal thinks it is an isolated case, he may just ignore it or chalk it up as normal behavior for that age group. If a number of parents complain, he would be forced to take some kind of action. If all esle fails and this problem continues to grow, there is nothing more powerful than the written word. Talk to the tribune or any other widely read publication - I don't think the school, principal or anyone affiliated would like to see their name attached to failing to act on bullying complaints....Hope these ideas help.
Good luck- I would love to hear the outcome.

D.

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C.W.

answers from Louisville on

Oh how I feel for you! My son is only 4 and when we started putting him in daycare this past spring, he came home after his first week and told me that "these kids called me a BIG LOSER!". He's only 4!!! I didn't even know that it started this early on!! I think I was more upset and devastated than he was and wanted to immediately remove him from there, but that would solve nothing. While I don't have any advice on how to stop the bullying, all I can say is that how you teach your kids to cope with bullying is just as important as stopping it. Because you may get this one girl to stop, but there are plenty of bullies! We had to consistently tell my son how he was a great kid and those mean kids don't know what they are talking about. We tried to teach him early on that bullying and being mean is not what "good and nice" kids do. I think he learned from it and it made him stronger. He has a little sister and he watches out for her all the time to make sure that the mean kids don't pick on her either. You can make something positive out of this. You can teach your daughter some good lessons from this experience and will make her that much stronger and ready for whatever else comes her way!

Good Luck!

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K.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

What school do your kids go to? I only ask because I was worried about that when we moved here as well. My son was not picked on at school but on the bus and had personal items taken away from him.
Would talking to the kids about how they are better kids for not acting this way and that the kids that do act out in this manner, are doing so because they are insecure. My 8 year old I have to explain things like this to him and it seems to work. I also ask him would he want friends like that and he says no but I like them. not sure what the best course is but if you have situations occur this year just tell them to talk to their teacher or bus driver as it happens and then follow up with the teacher. Good luck!!

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K.A.

answers from Lexington on

You need to do anything and everything to stop this bullying! If it means talking to their parents the teachers or even changing schools! (I know that isn't always possible!) But you have to let your kids know that you are there for them. BTW I like the idea of the positive notes in the lunches!
I was the target of a group of bullies for a year in grade school. My family had a little more than most and they were so horrible to me because of it. Even though it was 20 years ago, I know that it changed who I am. I still have this anger in me from that situation. My parents went to my teacher(who was also the principal) once and he "solved the problem" by moving my desk in between the 2 worse ones. Lets just say things when from bad to down right intolerable. I felt very helpless and alone. I am still very bitter that my parents and teacher didn't do more to protect me.

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N.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

Seeing the age of your children it makes me sad that girls are already that mean. However, I have an eight year old girl myself and hear some stories but not to the extent of this. I think I would first ask that your child not be placed with this child to see if the problem is this particular child. Explain to the principal in the manner of not only the social ramifications but the academic concern you have for the children involved. Second if the problem resurfaces to the extent it did before with other childre, I would definately talk to your pediatrician because maybe your daughter might need assistance with social situations and how to handle them. I would also talk to the school counselor if you have one. They are hired for this reason. The last thing I try to do with my daughter each day is to tell her to make one person's day while at school. I also put notes occasionally with positive thoughts in her box to remind her how special she will feel if she is special to others. That puts a positive job in your daughter's mind and maybe she can be proactive with the situation. (I used to be a teacher for nine years and am married to a elem. principal) Hopefully it helps! Being a mom is tough!!!

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J.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

I can sure your 'pain'. I would be very sad as a mom too. My littel girl started kindergarden this fall. All I hope for is that she will be happy in school and have a healthy environmetn to learn academically and socially.

A friend of mine recommend a book called Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. It is all about girl's world. It will help parents to understand girls nowadays and teach them how to cope with many difficulties in schools and in their lifes.

I just ordered mine and havenot read it yet. So couldn't tell you more. More than one moms recommend it to me. I can't wait to go through it.

Hope it helps you too on many subjects.

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S.

answers from Asheville on

Dear Momofthree,
You and your children do not have to put up with bullying. In fact, most schools seem to be adopting "zero tolerance" rules for bullying, just as they have drugs, weapons, etc. What I believe I would do in your situation is document in a notebook or on a spreadsheet each incident your child tells you about including date, where on the school grounds it happened, what was said and who said it. After you have five or six incidents, schedule an appointment with your principal and bring your documentation with you. Let him or her know you are as serious as a heartattack--you will not tolerate your children being bullied and belittled at school and you are prepared to do whatever is neccessary within the law to stop it. Let him/her know your children should be supervised at all times at school, and faculty should stop name-calling, picking-on, bullying whenever it occurs. Let him/her know you will go to the superintendent of schools with your problem if it is not resolved within the school. Be short and sweet about it, and follow through if you document any further problems. We are paying these people to educate our children. Bullying in the adult world is called harrassment and is not tolerated on the job, why should be tolerate it in our schools? Don't listen to people who tell you your kids should "toughen up". We are humans, not animals and we should be evolving beyond this type of behavior. It cannot be tolerated in our schools--your little girls deserve better from them.

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R.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 9 yr ols who had similar problems. I got nowhere with the school. I took my daughter to school and when the girl said something to her I told in a nice mommy voice that what she said hurts my daughters feeling and I asked her to not talk like that to her or I would tell her mom. I was worried that I would have to talk to her mom, but the little girl stopped and her and my daughter didn't really play after that. If it continues maybe then maybe you can call her parents and you can talk to your daughters together face to face. I hope your children have a better year. :)

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K.B.

answers from Charlotte on

I totally understand what you are going through. Last year my eight yr old daughter and seven yr old son would get off the bus all upset. Stating that the bus driver had two of her children on the bus with her (the attended the same school as my children) and they would bully my children for their notebook paper and make them get up out of their seats. I went to the school, I called the bus company and it went no where. I pray to GOD that they get a different driver this year or I will have to drive them to and from school this year and rush to work.

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L.G.

answers from Spartanburg on

I too have a very sensitive girl and she also has a friend that hurts her feelings by telling her that so and so said... or so and so doesn't like her.
If telling the principle did not help try talking to her teachers and bus driver, they see it when it happens and can take faster action to keep it from continuing. When my girl (1st grade) came home with scratches on her hands from two kids on the bus I talked to the bus driver and she said she would keep them apart and hope that would stop any further bullying she also told my girl to speak up and tell her when things like that happen. The teachers and drivers are there for the kids you just have to communicate with them, the principle is there to run the school.

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A.D.

answers from Charlotte on

We moved from FL to NC in the middle of our sons 4th grade and he stole the limelight from the other "smart" kid in class, who then retaliated against my son. We always taught if they hit first fight back, well it happened. After suspension it stopped for the rest of the year, but started right back in fifth, just verbally. I went to the Principal and demanded seperation and that he talk to the boys parents and I wanted a report back on what the other parents said. He was great about handling it and also told both teachers to keep an eye on them both to stay seperated. Be demanding of your Principal and Teachers, you and your husband are paying their salary, if they won't listen any news channel will. As for the whole she is still my friend, I think it is how you have taught your child to be nice to others and she probably thinks she can win this girl to be her true friend. I don't think your daughter is old enough to realize that some people won't ever change. On the other hand it sounds like you and your husband are raising wonderful caring children. Just keep talking things out with your child, unfortunately we can't spare them every hurtful thing in life, it will only make her stronger. Good Luck and be tough with the Staff at your childs school, you have every right to demand the best of them!!!

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C.M.

answers from Charlotte on

You know I remember when I was around that age my brother and I were picked on too. We were picked on in school, the bus, and in the neighborhood. I remember feeling sad and lonely. If you continually talk to your kids about what is going on in school they will always feel safe with what you have to tell them. I hate to say that schools don't do much about this situation, even back in the day. Always, ALWAYS keep in touch with your kids about this, hopefully they will gain the strength with your strength.

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