Bully

I realize that in the world we live in there are a great number of social injustices. You have your homeless people living on the streets or in subway tunnels. You have starving children around the world and even in your own neighborhoods. You have underdeveloped nations tearing each other apart through civil wars.

I’m not going to address any of those global issues though. This one hits real close to home. Today I’m gonna take a look at bullies.

Scut FarkusEveryone at some point in their life has been exposed to bullying. Whether you were on the giving or receiving end, it’s a playground phenomenon that’s inescapable. For the most part, it seems that adults turn a blind eye. Maybe we think that it builds character in our kids to deal with that sort of conflict on their own.

Oftentimes, however, when parents get involved it becomes an impossible situation. The parents of the bullied children are placed in a difficult position. They may not witness the act of bullying, but they witness the results. Crying, brokenhearted kids who are victimized by the kid on the playground. But they don’t want to talk about what happened. If a parent is fortunate enough to drag it out of their child, they still have no actual proof of what happened. They have their child’s word against another’s.

The parents of the bully are in an equally awkward position. Most of the time they don’t have a clue how their child acts outside of their home. They have no idea that their son or daughter may be belittling their classmates or, more often, kids who are younger or smaller than they are. So when another parent approaches them to discuss the problem at hand, they are extremely offended. There’s no way their little angel would ever mistreat others.

And so the cycle continues.

Eventually, the kid being bullied will take all he or she can stand and then fight back. Most of the time. But at that point, the rage inside is so strong that it’s unleashed in a maelstrom of emotion (See A Christmas Story for a perfect example).

Ralphie Beats Up BullyOr, they allow it to keep happening. They repress what’s really going on and they spend the rest of their lives battling a damaged self-esteem and lack the confidence to push themselves.

I think Daniel Stern said it best in City Slickers when he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that a bully isn’t just mean. They rob you of your dignity. What makes a bully act the way they do? Why do they feel the need to make others feel horrible about themselves?

Most psychologists will say it’s so they can feel better about themselves. They’re lashing out and exposing weaker kids’ insecurities in order to compensate for their own. What’s wrong? Daddy didn’t hug you enough? Mommy hugged you too much?

And I’m not saying that bullying is limited to only childhood. We have bullies in the real world, too. Managers who think that just because they’re your superior on the job, they can step on you as long as it accomplishes their personal goals. Cops who bend the rules simply because they’re in a small position of power. There are others as well. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all police officers or bosses are bad people. I’m just saying that power can corrupt.

And these adult bullies could be anyone. They could have been bullies as kids that no one ever had the guts to stand up to. More often though, those kids grew up feeling guilty about the way they treated others as a kid. The adult bullies might have been the kids that got kicked around. Now that they’re older and in positions of authority, they feel vindicated and think they’re well within their rights to push others around.

As with most of my posts, I’ve done pretty much no research to back up anything I’m saying. This blog has and always will be based solely on my opinion and how I see things. If you disagree, as always, I invite you to comment below.

And I’m sure that there won’t be any “bullies” reading this, but if you are a kid reading this blog, I encourage you not to pick on the ones who are little or different than you. If you’re one of the bigger kids in your class or in your neighborhood, then you have a responsibility to stand up for those who are incapable of standing up for themselves. When you do the right thing, you’ll feel much better about yourself as a person than you would if you were kicking someone while they were down.

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8 thoughts on “Bully

  1. I dealt with bullying and stuff like that a lot growing up. My sister liked to use me as a verbal punching bag for all her issues. Riding the bus for over an hour with both middle schoolers and high schoolers can also take its tool on you in your preteen years. By the time 8th grade came along I would never even enter the cafeteria, I simply did not eat lunch and went to the cafeteria. All those things are probably a big reason for my MDR and PTSD but hey, why should I blame anyone? They were al just young and stupid like me.

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  2. Very well stated. Bullies are very prevalent in the adult world. I have intervened in situations myself on many occasions when I have observed bullying going on. Unfortunately, many people are complacent in these matters, and will just stand by idly and shrug their shoulders, taking the “It’s not my problem,” attitude and that just makes things worse in my opinion. I am glad that you wrote about bullying. More people need to be aware of it, and more people need to step up and DO something.

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  3. Well said! It makes no sense to pick on people who are different from you. You should embrace differences! Great post! πŸ™‚

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  4. With my son’s disability (Developmental Coordination Disorder “DCD”) there are certain things he cannot do in class and the 5th graders are just awful. The teacher says she tries to nip-it-in-the-bud immediately… but I’m often finding she is a part of the issue. Kids with DCD have motor skill challenges and take forever to write and need occupational therapy… and it takes them FOREVER to get anything done. Short term memory, etc. So although they appear normal, there are a few things where their differences stand out… “Why is it taking you so long. I gave you plenty of time for that test…” and the kids pick up on that and begin teasing my son to where he gets embarrassed and shuts down… I just sent the principal an e-mail because half the class got awards. Grades kinder-4th everyone would get an award at one point during the year that matched one of school’s core values. 5th grade they failed to tell us this changed and basically 12 kids didn’t get recognized. There was no criteria to be met to get these awards and were basically based upon the teachers favorites. Our son deserves an award as he works harder and longer hours than any student…just because he’s not the “ideal” student and best performer, doesn’t mean he’s not deserving. The principal did not respond to my e-mail, but had the teacher e-mail me. I had formal complaint about that teacher. I’m kinda ticked off… that the principal did not respond to me.

    My 11-year-old’s self-esteem took a major hit this year. I AM TICKED OFF!!!! Bullying comes in the form of a teacher who does not care to really work to ensure there’s a safe-learning-environment that fosters learning, and confidence to all students…even those that don’t fit in the box.

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    • Do you have a 504 or an IEP (I’m not sure where you live and if it’s the same, but I’m in Virginia, USA, and my kid has a 504 plan for high-functioning autism)? I’m wondering if this could be addressed in some way, maybe such as stating that any verbal teacher concerns over him must be made in a one-to-one situation, or written down for him to read. If you end up with a bad teacher, there’s only so much that can be done, but legally, having those plans in place, they are supposed to comply.
      I hope your son gets a teacher that has both compassion and creativity for next year so he can be the best student he can be, as well as regain some confidence!

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      • Yes, we already went to an “outside” psychologist that diagnosed DCD and now the School has 60 days to legally respond… which of course falls over summer… and they want to do their own testing, etc. To see if he can qualify for Occupational therapy and IEP, etc. In the meantime, everyone agreed to lighten his homework, etc. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be happening and 2 missing assignments and he wasn’t allowed to play in a special kickball game as a penalization. So upset.

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