According to a recent survey, more than 60 percent of Muslim youths have reported being teased, taunted, ridiculed and roughed up because of their religious beliefs.

Generally speaking, teenagers who haven't yet experienced some of life's greatest joys are also dying by suicide because of merciless bullies who verbally torture the kid in school as well as on social media. Celeste and I have always told our family, when they were growing up, to take a firm stand about being true to themselves and proud of their roots, traditions and beliefs.

During those same growing years, I sensed a big change happening in families. A change for the worst, from an era of low divorce rates to an age where half of all families were pulled apart by divorce, having a direct impact on the siblings. The kids in that family are ringers to bully others.

Then drug and alcohol addiction invaded so many families. Kids absorb the indelible images of their parents fighting regularly, strung out or feeling the repercussions when both parents are working too many hours, creating a mutation of child abuse through neglect. The kids in that family are also stand-ins as future tormentors.

And then there are the many parents who rage and show anger as a way of reacting to problems or disagreements, acting out in front of the kids. If the adults don't have a coping mechanism to handle their stress, imagine how lost their children must feel.

As long as we're talking about learned conduct, keep in mind, it can also become an unlearned behavior if the decision to change is embraced. If a positive movement like that grows and eventually takes over, the way those other destructive movements did, then we have a good chance of shrinking the injurious way we treat one another.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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