I don’t think there is a person on this continent that has not been a victim of a bully, been a bully or witnessed the actions of a bully. I participated in bullying actions; not for long – it weighed on my conscience. The girl had done nothing to me personally; she had pissed off one of my friends and things kind of escalated. It bothered me enough that I began to avoid this friend. The events ended the friendship and she turned on me but…I was bigger than her and I was nobody’s victim. Her attempt to bully me ended right quick. I think back on those days and try to determine what I was thinking; I know I felt indignation for my friend. I figured this other girl – the victim – needed to be taught a lesson. Although, a short time later, I also remember thinking that this really had nothing to do with me and I never really felt any animosity toward the victim. I, frankly, didn’t know her.
That was, pretty much, the end of my bullying stage. I did end up beating the living tar out of a few bullies who thought it might be fun to pick on my little brother. Those bullying incidents against my brother created an aversion toward bullies. I saw what these actions could do, first hand.
There were bullying incidents at school against my kids. And one against our family that involved having our car vandalized. Let’s just say that this was a gross error in judgment by a local wannabe street gang; be very careful who you choose as a victim. You may open a can of whoop ass on yourself.
Why is bullying such a major issue now? What has changed? Are schools wimping out? Are parents that disconnected from their children? Is it unfettered access to extreme violence by our children, creating a disassociation toward cause and effect? What, the hell, is going on? Children are killing themselves because of bullying by other children.
I believe the origin of this issue lies at the feet of the adult world, parents and media. Media found that stories regarding bullying create a jump in readership and viewership, so they have run with it. Bullying, because it has happened to so many, struck a cord and the consumption of the media reports reflect how widespread this has always been. News is no longer reported in the local newspaper or supper time news cast on television. Media is global, it is everywhere, at any time. Our viewpoint of the news has not caught up with the technology of the news business. We still think because something made that news that it is somehow, absolutely, without question, IMPORTANT!!! Need I remind you that there is a large segment of the population that truly believes what the National Enquirer prints because…? It is in print, therefore, it must be true.
Without a doubt, bullying has increased or so it appears. The type of bullying has become more violent, more visible and more invasive. We now have cyberbullying in addition to the garden variety of name calling, shoving and physical abuse. The victim knows no peace.
Here is where parents have dropped the ball, miserably. Computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets/I-devices are used without restriction by children. There is, by and large, no monitoring of internet activities by parents. If there were? Cyberbullying would not exist. Parents who back their child, no matter what the child has done. Because…? It is too much trouble to discipline, particularly if discipline has never been a part of the family life. Consequences. Children are not taught consequences anymore. Fail a class? Get promoted anyway. Lousy at sports – you’re on a team anyway.
Then the schools and their policies. Oh sure, most have anti-bullying campaigns. My sons did and the campaigns were beyond laughable. Who thinks these things up??? Children, when confronted by a bully, tell them “I don’t like this. Please stop.” Oh sure, that’ll work. How about hauling the bully into the office, calling the parents and removing recess privilege. Oh No!!! Can’t do that! Their poor self-esteem will suffer! Or the parents defend the child and accuse the school, the victim of lying.
So what is left to the parent of the child being bullied? Well, if all else fails, there is no other option than the legal one. The restraining order. And this California Dad has done just that:
We, as a society, need to take a good look at what has happened to the job of parenting. We have to look at the pop-psychology and do the math. It isn’t working. It appears the we are raising a generation of sociopaths. I wouldn’t want to work with one of these little maladjusted morons. I certainly wouldn’t want to live near one. The time to teach consequences is now. No more of this Oprah crap – I’m ok and you’re ok. Failing is not okay, whether it be socially acceptable behaviour, school work or chores. Failing should never be an option. Bullying is failure. Failure of the bully to understand social convention, failure of the parents at their job of parenting and failure of the schools to take firm and decisive action.
Bullying doesn’t stop when school days become memories. Bullies do not grow out of it. They enter the workplace but that’s a topic for another blog.