Mark Davis Solves the Bullying-Suicide Crisis: "Raise Tougher Kids"

Categories: Media, News

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Reports of young kids being bullied to the point of suicide are distressingly common. The most recent case to grab the nation's attention happened last month in Lakeland, Florida, where 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a concrete silo after being mercilessly ridiculed by two classmates on Facebook.

This is clearly a problem, one that educators, policy makers and parents have begun working to crack, but it's no easy task. Certain kids seem to be hard-wired to be assholes to their classmates. Social media extends their reach into their victim's home life while simultaneously making it harder for adults to detect.

Luckily local conservative noise-maker Mark Davis can teach you how to "bully-proof" your children in just two easy-to-follow steps, wisdom he drops in his column in this morning's Dallas Morning News.

See also: Radio Host Mark Davis Thinks Allowing Women in Combat is an "Outrage Against Humanity"

Step 1: Obsessively monitor your child's social media accounts. Better yet, ban them from social media altogether.

"Our kids cannot be bullied online if they are not on the sites where it occurs," Davis writes, going on to add that, "Since we know where threatening content comes from, we may have to slide onto our kids' pages to inform any little snot-nosed stalkers that they need to back off or taste some consequences from grownups, some of whom might wear police uniforms."

Step 2: Stop letting kids be such wusses.

[M]ost importantly, we must raise tougher kids. We cannot allow the thickening of a narrative that begins to naturally lead from online bullying to suicide. This cannot become a familiar progression seen by countless victimized kids who think, well, this is what usually happens.

We must tell our kids not to feel defined by the online cruelty of their hoodlum classmates. Before things even begin to get out of hand, we should surround them with the certainty of parents who love them, and in households of faith, the comfort of a God who loves them.

With that, it's safe to say the bullying scourge is behind us.

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127 comments
JackJett
JackJett

I read that Davis opposes "religious indoctrination in public education".

I assume that means he doesn't condone religion being taught in public schools. I do agree with that as it should be taught in Churches. An perhaps they could spend more time teaching compassion along with religion and avoid politics which is the reason they are tax exempt in the first place.

My primary concern is with bullying in school.  Some people with various diseases or handicaps are not and will never be able to defend themselves no matter how hard they try to tough up.  And I worry that they may not be capable of getting a fair shake at education if they are living in pain AND fear.  But trust me, no one enjoys seeing a bully get their ass kicked and face shoved in the mud more than I do.  And I hope Mr. Davis's comments leads to more and more bully's suffering.  Perhaps they might be perfect folks to test the argument about WaterBoarding  being torture or not. 

tdkisok
tdkisok

At least Mark isn't the top douche bag in DFW pundit radio. That honor goes to J.D. Wells.

Anonamouse
Anonamouse

Pardon me, but f**k the "victims". If those precious little snowflakes can't handle grade school. much less High School, we don't need them out in society breeding and voting for people who make decisions on how the rest of us will have to live.

Ouch, that hurts, don't it?

Liberals love to yammer on about nature and evolution and survival of the fittest - until they have a shot at sticking their paws onto people who do have the wherewithal and natural abilities to not only survive, but thrive, in the Real World (tm).

I was bullied - back before it became a thing - and I survived. Because I had to. If we're raising little darlings who are so weak that they can't handle harsh language, then we're in serious trouble - not only as a society, but as a species.

Maybe the Chinese .... or the cockroaches ... will have better luck.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo dats uh good idea.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Mark Davis is correct in saying the kids need to have their self image strengthened in order to get thru the bullying. A kid who has a strong support system and a positive self image can easily find the refuge they need to limit the negative thoughts a bully attempts to prey upon.

Mark Davis is wrong in saying a solution is to keep the kid away from electronic devices, as if not reading the bullying posts will insulate the kid from the affects. The issue is social media distributes these bullying acts to a wide group of people, the very same people the victim is with every day at their school. The victim will need to address and deal with the posts regardless of if the victim is reading them or not.

Mark Davis is wrong that religious faith is an insulator. period.

scerinjen3
scerinjen3

I have to say I agree with Davis here. I was a little funny looking kid that got moved around a lot so I was constantly having to deal with bullies. My parents advised me to face my fears and fight.  Learning how to deal with a bully has proven to be a useful skill my whole life.  

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

We all act as if bullying is a new and horrible thing-its not.  What do you call it when a male chimpanzee combatively bares his teeth to a smaller male?  In biological terms it might be referred to as establishing social dominance.  The difference between humans and the smaller male chimpanzees is that they're smart enough to know that and don't pop off to the top of especially tall trees and jump in response. 

The struggle for social dominace exist in virtually all mammalian species in one way or another, its how male bear cubs determine which of them gets to mate with the cheerleader bear cub and which one gets the bookish bear with the overbite.  Humans have been bullying each other since...we started being human.  Through all those 4-6 million years of evolution we have been tough enough to take it and move on and grow from the experience.  Are we less strong now?  The evolutionary imperative to establish and learn our place in our various social groups can't have changed, so what changed? 

And, if your child has so little self esteem that they can be "bullied" via a computer, stop complaining, get rid of the computer and look at your self in the mirror and ask yourself, "How did I so weaken my child?"  I find it very hard to find the angst on this issue, so lump me in with Mark.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

Mark's not a conservative - he's just a heckler.

It's very common for self-described conservatives like Mark to blame the victims, instead of taking a stand against the predators. 

But there's nothing conservative about that attitude.  Conservatism isn't about giving a free pass to predators - it's about ensuring that the focus remains on the predators and not expanding the focus elsewhere.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Pundits are notorious for being unable to entertain two ideas in heir brain at the asame time. Why would teaching your kids to be thick-skinned and teaching them not to bully be mutually exclusive?

ruddski
ruddski

Excellent deconstruction of his argument.

Yehoodi
Yehoodi

@Anonamouse So why not drop all charges of assault? After all, adults should be able to handle violence even better than kids. Why should it be a crime under your irrationale? As with any post that includes "Liberals love..." or "Republicans love..." this is a self-important, bombastic waste of space. Maybe it will "become a thing" again and you can go a few more rounds with witless brutes...or more likely team up with them, in true bully style. What an ass you are!

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@mavdog Mr Davis believes religious faith answers all issues, personal and political.  

animas
animas

I am amazed at the total gall of most talk show hosts who peddle advice and moral judgements so freely when their own domestic life is a complete disaster.  "We should surround (children) with the certainty of parents who love them".   Davis was raising his own nephew  at the time  the nephew died of a heroin overdose in his (Davis) own metroplex  home.  Davis second attempt at vicarious parenting with another nephew ended when Davis walked out on his second wife prompting the 16 year old to remark that Davis "behaves like a bratty teenager". Any  parenting /marital advice pronouncements by Davis are viewed by many with skepticism.

ruddski
ruddski

No-one is blaming the victim, he's offering solutions. Try reading the column before seeking attention, Sanders.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel 

I don't think it is or that it has to be, and I don't understand where you are getting that from, here.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @Anonamouse You have used the term 'nazi' to describe such a wide range of people, characteristics, behaviors and attitudes that the term no longer has any meaning.  Nazi means, in the context of this blog, 'anyone who is not Myrna'.

ruddski
ruddski

Oddly enough, faith is just one of several points he offers. Care to rebut those actual points, or is your political bigotry crippling your intellect? Should parents monitor kids online activity, for instance.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@animas 

OK, we get it. you do not like Davis, and you have a ton (too much?) knowledge of his personal life/demons/failures.

just give it up. if you can't make a lucid argument against what Davis says based on Davis' own words, don't go and throw out these personal details as evidence that Davis is wrong.

you can do better.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ruddski Davis is, in his typical obtuse fashion, blaming the victims, because he's ignoring the source of the problem and offering ways to deal with the symptoms of the problem.  What he offers are good ways to deal with the effects of bullying, but bucky is right, the focus needs to remain on the bullies, not on the victims of bullying.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski Almost all of them. It goes with the territory. Pundits are in the business of peddling opinion.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk From Davis' column, which blithely ignores the pressing need to cut off bullying at its source -- the bully and his/her parents -- and takes the position that bullying is something we'll always have with us, like the weather, and so we should dress our kids warmly and give them umbrellas.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@mavdog @TheCredibleHulk 

In the part you left out, Davis advocates invoking the authorities in the pursuit and prosecution of the bully - a point that you seem to elide.

Please, then, disregard the entire post, if you wish and respond to the last paragraph, which is my real point.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk 

how did the part of Davis' sentence that was not included change anything? it doesn't.

Davis (and apparently you as well) see the preferred parent/child relationship as similar to that of a warden/prisoner. not very positive to the long term health of the kid imo.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@mavdog @TheCredibleHulk

Yes, I read his piece. Davis, much like any talker uses extreme statements to hammer away on points he is trying to make, but you do him an injustice by not quoting him fully, here, and cherry picking his words.

The actual quote was: If we do not shut down our kids’ social media entirely, they should be policed constantly. Since we know where threatening content comes from, we may have to slide onto our kids’ pages to inform any little snot-nosed stalkers that they need to back off or taste some consequences from grownups, some of whom might wear police uniforms.

Are you of the opinion that pre-teens and middle-schoolers should have unlimited unsupervised access to social media and the internet? Because I'm not, and I'll tell you why.

Your children may be well behaved and well socialized so that they understand the bounds of civil interaction and the enormous personal responsibility that goes along with having a presence on social media. Most children do not, and I would venture to guess that most children are so much more tech-savvy than their parents that they are almost no buffer at all to their children's media access and that breeds not only bullies, but also breeds victims.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

huh...did you actually read Davis' piece???

"If we do not shut down our kids’ social media entirely, they should be policed constantly"

"we may have to slide onto our kids’ pages to inform any little snot-nosed stalkers that they need to back off or taste some consequences from grownups"

that's certainly not developing an honest communication with your kid and treating them with respect. not at all merely being "involved with your kids". far from it.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@mavdog @ruddski 

Huh . . . that's weird . . .

That sounds EXACTLY like what Davis is saying - Be involved with your kids.

Monitoring your kids doesn't necessarily mean monitoring their every verbal or digital utterance.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski 

no, but if that is how you want to handle the problem give it a try.

a 12 year old who has a good communication and a honest relationship with their parent handles online bullying with their parent. together they work thru the issue. odd you would think the 12 year old can't have the skills to deal with it.

ruddski
ruddski

So youre saying that a 12-year- old girl should handle online bullying on her own, because in a few years, she'll have the skills to do so.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@dingo @Sotiredofitall @ruddski 

IMHO if you continue to treat your child as a juvenile they stay a juvenile. we gave our kids liberty to do as they chose until they showed they couldn't make the right choice. guess what? they didn't disappoint us and they make good decisions.

monitoring their online activity and texts shows them you do not place any trust in their ability to make correct decisions. unless they give cause the best way to treat them is how you want them to act, with respect and honesty.

ruddski
ruddski

Kinda like the promises of Dear Leader, versus dismal reality?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@mavdog @animas 

Those real world examples are totally on-topic.

You can speculate all day and night about what MIGHT be the result of Davis's attitude toward children.  But nothing underscores the point better than pointing out what actually happened when he was allowed to raise children.

The same is true for most other Libertarian Republican issues.  Their claims about what MIGHT happen if they get their way are totally discredited by what ACTUALLY happens when they get their way.

animas
animas

@mavdog @animas Good I am glad that you get it.  Mainly any one who is such a failure at anything but doling out pious advice should at least have a reasonable track record of self discipline.  Davis is a sociopath in my opinion.  The details of his life are available on any website and have been public knowledge  for about 15 years. 

ruddski
ruddski

I'm reminded if the classic image of the militant lesbian ANSWER babe with the placard reading WE DEMAND A PERMANENT END TO ALL WAR!!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski 

"end natural human behavior"? so in the world of Ruddski humans are just animals who don't progress and change their "natural behavior". oh shucks, guess humans are just not trainable are they Ruddski?

yes, we as a society can minimize negative behaviors and by way of social pressure make them the exception rather then the rule. it's been seen before, and done successfully.

as for your repetitive line on "political bigotry", you missed the post above, where you wrote the same repetitive line on "political bigotry".

ruddski
ruddski

If you have a viable way to end natural human behavior, the world is all ears,,Mac.

Can you rebut the suggestions he makes, or has your political bigotry crippled your intellect?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

Mark Davis makes the statement "We will never stop bullying" and "You can’t keep some big adolescent lummox from giving your son a swirlie in the boys’ room".

apparently in Davis' world we need to just accept that the bully will be a bully, not address the bully as the problem and we need to tell the victim to just "suck it up".

that is clearly NOT blaming the bully....

ruddski
ruddski

Davis is not blaming the victim by offering defenses any more than weight warchers relies on shaming to market their product.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ruddski 

*owwwwwwwaah*

Jeeeeeez,

And here I was, just starting to like you,  ruddski.

ruddski
ruddski

Nothing wrong with a tool and simpleton defending his own kind.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel @ruddski 

Davis is a tool and a simpleton, that is not at issue here.

Sometimes a simple point is all that is needed. This is one of those times.

You can't control the rest of the world, so control the things that you can and mitigate problems in the arena that you can control. Monitor your kids, love them, be part of their lives, know who their friends are, know who their (perceived) enemies are.

That's not saying don't try to stop the bullying. Nowhere in the piece did Davis say that.

I can't believe I'm defending Mark Davis. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddskiIt's pretty much what's taught in journalism school, Don't oversimplify, consider all sides of an issue But In these days of extreme partisanship -- and I know Davis is a great personal favorite of yours -- not often observed, and never on the blogs. 

ruddski
ruddski

I get it, you shouldn't offer any ideas unless you cover all ideas.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski I read the entire column and I stand by my assessment. Davis oversimplifies Davis.

ruddski
ruddski

Bmarvel over-simplifies Davis, then attacks Davis for being too simple. Maybe I missed it, but does Bmarvel have a rebuttal about the specific points Davis makes?

ruddski
ruddski

Davis covered SOME possible solutions, Eric intimated that Davis considered this the end-all solutions. IOW, you're criticizing Eric's inaccurate take on the column, not the actual column.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski Mark Davis' failure to recognize that the answer to bullying is not at all as simple as building tougher kids. But Davis is the city champion of simple -- and often incorrect -- solutions to difficult problem. 

ruddski
ruddski

That's so very true, pundits are paid to be pundits, but your point and who it is directed towards are a little hazy. What motivated your statement?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel @TheCredibleHulk

Directly from the Davis piece:

 "...we may have to slide onto our kids' pages to inform any little snot-nosed stalkers that they need to back off or taste some consequences from grownups, some of whom might wear police uniforms."

I will admit that Davis didn't exactly hammer on this point, but that is hardly what I would call blithely ignoring, it.

And like it or not, bullying IS something that will always be with us.

ruddski
ruddski

I get it. Yo u don't disagree with the points made by Davis, you're just dissapointed that the column was do short.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@RTGolden1Alas, Catholic schools are not what they us to be, but I'm willing to bet there's still a lot less bullying there. 

If public schools are hamstrung, it is because they have hamstrung themselves. Almost any classroom teacher will tell you that. The nuns taught generations of tough Irish kids, tough Italian kids, dead end kid of all sorts, and managed to turn most of hm into responsible adults. They did it not by being tough -- any average schoolboy could beat up a nun -- but by being smart. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bmarvel Catholic schools are not the same as public schools, Marvel, and you know it.  In today's society, the public schools are hamstrung when it comes to discipline.  Davis, perhaps totally by accident, is actually bringing up a good point.  Teach your kid to ignore the bully (especially easy if it isn't physical bullying) and the bully generally goes away.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ruddski I think bullying can be reduced a whole lot (a useful goal). I've seen it done, but, then, I went to school with the nuns. If one 90-pound woman can reduce a room full of roaring boy-os to quivering jelly, parents and an entire school system should be able to get a hand on the problem.

Before you accuse someone of knocking over strawmen, ruddski, make sure their target isn't made of straw.

ruddski
ruddski

I think Davis is correct in pointing out that bullying will never go away, and he offered some excellent defenses, not a solution that would End Bullying As We Know It. Good day for strawmen, eh?

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