My sister and I just had a conversation about bullying which made me realize what a complex subject it is. The discussion began, as most bullying discussions do, with a specific example of a kid she knows who is a “victim” of bullying.
Now, you may ask why I put victim in quotation marks? Well, it seems in cases of bullying often there are many players and the victim just may not be easily identified. Don’t shake your head. It isn’t always the big scruffy kid and it rarely is totally one-sided.
No, it is not alright to pursue and badger someone incessantly.
No, it is never okay to hit someone.
How can we be sure that they, the “bullier” and the bullied, are victims of the purest form? Are we to believe that in our society the preponderance of bullying involves one weak, unsuspecting victim and one mean spirited person who picked them at random?
There’s a quote from the 60s TV show Adam-12 that seems appropriate here. The two hero/police officers are standing beside their police cruiser after a day of crime fighting. One turns to the other and says, “The only thing that is black and white in our job is this car.”
Kids who are small, girls who cry, people of minority status, people with physical infirmities, etc. start off with the sympathy barometer needle tipped on their side, and they are aware of it. It shouldn’t matter that much because we are all aware of their “edge” but it has become a powerful tool in our modern, politically correct society.
Once upon a time, if Earl was an unfriendly sort of kid who tormented others, Earl would not get invited to Birthday Parties or be asked to play games. Earl just might have a chance to see the error of his ways by the natural course of things and learn to play nicely.
Nowadays, Earl must be included. Many Kindergarten classes insist that all kids are invited to play, no exceptions. The natural order of consequences are disturbed and Earl realizes he need not get-along at all. If anyone attempts to straighten Earl out, and Earl has a special need, he realizes he is ALL powerful because, after all, the kids are automatically (Get the black and white deal?) discriminating against him. Earl is not stupid and learns that he need not even try as long as he can use the “D” word. Ah, discrimination is the most powerful word.
I know! All you can imagine are poor special need kids or minority kids huddled in a corner abused and forgotten. We must make sure that they are treated fairly! No we don’t. Their siblings and friends will be there. The only kids who need protecting are those with the inability to learn social lessons, such as, autistic kids.
Little kids are not like that and I maintain, the Big kids without compassion were once little kids who never learned the social lessons. I trust little kids more than anyone else (except for dogs) to have compassion. Small children almost always like anyone who plays nicely. Don’t forget, minority and special needs kids are capable of being brats. Being excluded for bad behavior would be the best medicine for any and all brats. Besides, the perceived weaklings are more than their disadvantage alone. By considering them disadvantaged we label them as disadvantaged!
Gosh, I remember being protected from getting hurt on a baseball field because I was a girl. I thought our society was interested in equality. Wearing labels just works contrary to that, don’t you think?
As for bullying, this blanket protection of the crying and weak has a direct hand in the increasing incidences. To step in when kids are “at odds” keeps them from learning the social lessons they will need. Which are:
- play fair and consider the feelings of others or you will not get along and have friends.
- being too sensitive doesn’t work and it’s your own job to get along. (Just this morning, one day care child kept telling me another wasn’t “being nice” to her. Upon investigating the crime, I realized, the child who was complaining just wanted the other one’s attention. My answer was, “Well, invite her nicely to play.”)
- a person’s character is who they are, not any other variable.
- Everything is NOT always fair and that is a fact.
While I am making this old-fashioned and controversial presentation, I want to add another insult to the politically correct utopians. Yes, there are varying degrees of being a victim too.
WHAT? <GASP> A victim is a victim!
No…a person who leaves his/her keys in their car and has it stolen is less of a victim than one who has their car hot wired and stolen. Stealing IS wrong and shouldn’t happen. NEWS FLASH…it does happen.Take some responsibility people.
And if you swim in a canal in Florida, there’s a chance an alligator may bite you too. What a world, what a world! 🙂
11 thoughts on “What IS a bully?”
Bullying is not nice. But as grown ups we present double standards to our children so how are they to take the lead from us? Somewhere along the line adults have introduced the notion of ‘fair game’ in relation to victimisation and bullying – famous people seem to be fair game, as do those in politics, sports people – all hidden behind the mask of humour. Where does most bullying start – taking the piss out of somebody. We show our children it’s okay to make fun of others by our laughter at the expense of somebody ‘picked on’ by our favourite comedian – ‘bully-boys’ would be their label in the playground.
Of course, I’m still going to laugh some comedian makes a comedy crack about obamas lugs or those of prince charles – so why should I care if some little kid with sticky out ears becomes the butt of all jokes in the local playground – same thing…..isn’t it…… ?
The kid with sticky-out ears would be okay if we teach our own children to defend themselves by ignoring a lot and to speak up when others are picked on. It’s all about self-esteem and supporting others. WE NEED TO START OUT EARLY with these lessons.
I really don’t think our choices in entertainment have an effect on little kids…we too should speak up when we see unfairness but learning to laugh at oneself is one of the best powers we have.Public figures who use it are the better for it! Thanks for your comment!
Well all I can say is jolly well said and I agree with every word!
Thanks so very much! Been taking a beating for this on Facebook. 🙂
very well said!
Thank-you…I appreciate your comment and wish more folks would consider a proactive, rather than reactive, problem solving technique. ~Susan
This post forces us (me?) to step away from ‘what we think’ and try to see it from all angles. If one doesn’t learn to handle the bullies when young, he (she) will have to eventually learn those skills in adult life or be forever disenchanted. Having a thick emotional skin is an important survival trait in today’s world.
There are some ultra sensitive souls who just aren’t wired for being tough, and they wouldn’t be those special creatures that we love if they had tough skin. We have to know the bullies in order to appreciate the angels! Unfortunately learning the skills to stand up to bullies or to ignore them/their words is a difficult one, and I know many people who still suffer from the damage those unkind words/labels caused.
Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!
PS: I love the frog image on the masthead!/header! It always makes me smile!
Fantastic post! Hits close to home, too. My son was one who always loved to play the ‘victim’ at home and school. He spent a whole lot of time Crying Wolf and it bit him in the backside more than once. Not to say that bullying is okay, of course…but every time I investigated one of his cries, I usually discovered that he had either instigated something or snitched the whole class out or things of that nature. He’s almost 20 now and really hasn’t changed too terribly much…his dad always did, and still does, swoop in to protect, defend, etc which has left our son with a stunted ability to work through tough social situations. Sometimes kids (like the one I was) learn best by taking a few falls and learning how to get up on their own again.
Much appreciated and I hope people read your comment and learn from it.~ Susan