I recently read an article on KSL.com (one of Utah’s leading internet news sources), which contained an article about a lady and her views on the bullying her daughter has had to succumb to. I would like to discuss in my own opinion the other side of this this story that is clearly not being reported by popular news sources.
First of all I admit that I could count the times I’ve been bullied, I remember they were short instances in my early childhood where simple things were blown out of proportion. The first time my mom was made fun of for example was the last, instead of crying or hitting the kid, I went and told the teacher that my mother had been called stupid. She giggled under her hands and then retained her posture and told me “Is it true, do they personally know your mother”?
At the early age of five I realized that kids sometimes feel the urge to try to make others feel bad in order to make themselves feel good. When I went back to my table the kid tried to continue making fun of my mom, but this time instead of sitting there allowing him to continue harassing me I said “I think your mom might be stupider oh and also very ugly”. His giddy attitude disappeared immediately and he sulked in his chair realizing that I had just beaten him at his own game.
So what happened here, fire was fought with water, if I would’ve allowed him to continue making fun of me I would’ve eventually gotten really angry or who knows but allowing the fire to grow almost never helps. I used a fire retardant and made sure I’d be prepared for his follow up by saying oh and how do you know my mom if you’ve lived in a garbage can your whole life? The next day I told him I was sorry and asked him if he could be my friend and surprisingly he was more than happy to accept my apology and accepted my friendship.
These matters are just a single case and I understand that bullying doesn’t always get nipped in the bud this way, nor is it always as easy as it may seem. Sometimes it takes much more effort in order to make the bully understand that what they’re doing is wrong. In order to do this I think it’s important to try and analyze why the bully is a bully. What drives an adolescent to want to cause physical or verbal harm unto his/her peers?
Think the answer is hard? Well it isn’t, it’s almost always caused by the environment at home. When the student isn’t at school they spend most of their time at home where they may encounter many factors that cause the negative behavior they display at school. Some of those obvious factors are:
abusive family members
lack of attention
With violent media I think it has to do with how old the student is and how much information the student has that allows them to realize that what happens in those movies, shows, or videogames is merely fiction and should only be used for visual entertainment. Abusive family members such as the parents, siblings, or cousins may also contribute to them feeling inferior. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t love their family and therefore they try to mimic the bad behavior with kids smaller than them or through other means. Sometimes they just allow the abusers to bring them down in which case they become the opposite of the bully and are in constant fear only waiting until the next time they are put down. With a lack of attention from the right people, they may be getting attention by older siblings or friends who bully them causing them to also want to be a bully thinking that by following example they will be okay like those who pick on them. Also they might not be seeing enough of a mother or father figure and unknowingly commit themselves to trouble making in order to get the attention they require to be happy.
It seems like a lot, but the reality of the matter is that it can all be suppressed from by taking it by the root, if you remove a weed from the top and leave the root what happens, the weed will grow back. The same goes for bullies, you pick on a bully for a moment, it may cause them to think twice about bullying, but it may also make the situation worse by infuriating the child further. In most cases the discipline the bully receives isn’t enough to stop them from being a menace to their victims. It usually can only be solved by someone who can explain to them why they feel that way by asking them questions like: Do you feel like you aren’t loved enough, do you need a hug, and/or if it’s okay with you may I ask how things are at home? Some of these simple questions might allow the adolescent to realize that maybe the person/s they are picking on may not be the cause of their rage or anger towards them, but instead it is something that they have created out of the environment they have at home.
I think it’s funny that in all these bully reports, the parents hardly ever blame themselves and if they do they say things like “I had no idea”, “I didn’t think it was a big deal”, and “I should’ve intervened”. By then it’s too late, social scarring doesn’t take much time to happen. Being embarrassed in front of an entire school or a lot of your peers is enough to send you into a spiral downward into a social abyss. What can the parents do then if the school system isn’t working for them the way they expect it to? For starters, start asking questions! Simply by asking “how was your day today” could make a world of a difference for the relationships between the parents and their children. With that question, if the parent is paying close enough attention everyday to the answer to that question, they can deduce if everything is indeed alright when the day comes that it isn’t.
Let’s say one day a child comes and responds sadly, “yeah my day was okay”, I think there is cause to ask if there may be something wrong. It might not be serious, but it might be. Either way, proper communication is key to finding out whether or not to help or make them a sandwich and give them a pep talk. Adolescents are very influential and like routine until it they reach a point where it isn’t enough and they want to leave the norm, this is usually emphasized in the rebellious stage of an adolescent’s life. A comment as small as “you look good today” may become an insult, if all they hear at school is negative criticism about their fashion style for example. A parent simply needs to put the effort, which I know now as a parent isn’t easy, to communicate effectively with a hormonal and sometimes severely unstable human being. Well my daughter is only three years old at the moment, and I can assure anyone that there are times where she is like a ticking time bomb.
If I say go to bed, it’s the equivalent of telling an adult to that the world may be coming to an end, at least it seems that way to me. I’ve noticed that when I get upset and tell her that I don’t care whether or not she wants to go to bed, she gets even angrier with me. She even tried to hit me the other day with her plush fists on the leg. Luckily, my wife came in and we both were able to explain to her the importance of sleeping early and waking early in order to play more hours of the day and to maybe enjoy a delicious breakfast with daddy before I have to go to work. She then thought for a second and said “okay I’m going to bed, I love you mommy and daddy”. Like I said it isn’t easy, but it also isn’t impossible to show the love that children require, the love that spreads and diminishes the evil within the bully.
As for the school system I’ll leave that disastrous issue for one of my future posts. The link that led me to write this is provided below and my source of information is based on the helping out two of my teenage cousins, one male and one female, to find their path intelligently. I’ve also studied one year of psychology through university of phoenix and enjoy learning the newest psychological findings whenever and wherever they are available with consideration of bias. Please comment and let me know if someone is bullying you, or if you have a child who is being bullied so that I may offer a suggestion to consider on the matter.