Bullies and Bullying
Today’s post is a bit of a rant. I’ve been trying to bolster both my children with lots of messages re enforcing their positive qualities and trying to remind them to stand tall, shoulders back, visualising a wall between them and their teasers / bullies.
The youngest is having to deal with silly teasing at the moment. They don’t like it, but we are working on shrugging it off, going and finding other children to play with and remembering that the teaser is just being silly and a bit stupid. The teaser is probably too young themselves to be mean.
However my eldest is having a whole other set of issues with this subject. Teasing does happen, the trouble is because its daily, drip drip, repetitive stuff, it starts to feel like bullying. What also doesn’t help is that bullying is happening alongside this from other sources.
I despair that my children, particularly my eldest has been so badly bullied that he doesn’t want to go to school every day to have to face the nastiness. He just wants to go to school, have an ‘unmolested’ day, learn, chat with those he does get along with and have a good day. This relentless attack on him as a person is wearing him down, making him doubt himself and wish he was something other than what he is.
I have lamented to just about anyone who will listen, about this state of affairs. There is sympathy out there but there is also an awful lot of ‘yeah I had that too’, ‘hated my school days’, ‘gotta find a way through it’, ‘be strong’, ‘be brave’ etc . I was getting pretty brassed off that we all seem to just accept that bullying is a way of school life and that our children should just have to get through it.
What are we doing to our children though, when we keep sending them into a hateful lions den each and every day. We tell them on the one hand that we love them and we want the best for them, but we keep expecting them to spend 6 to 7 hours a day in a nasty toxic environment – and that this will go on for at least the next however many YEARS. My son has had it for 5 years so far and potentially has at least 4 more to suffer, perhaps more.
I appreciate that our children do have to learn to be self reliant, they have to learn to be strong, resilient and not let the stupidities, nastiness and silliness displayed by others affect their own self esteem. They do need to learn to ‘rise above it, recognise their own true worth in order to succeed. BUT do we really need to make it so very difficult for them to do so, with this seemingly relentless daily onslaught?
Up until this weekend, I kept on reassuring, thinking, well as adults it should lessen, though there will always be people we don’t like / don’t gel with / can’t work very well with and we will all have to learn how to deal with those in order to function as adults – hold down a job etc. However, there was an article in the news about workplace bullying this week that made me sit up and think.
Those (it does tend to be younger / less experienced) staff members who are being bullied are at the mercy of older / more experienced staff, the age of which is probably much the same as the parents of school age and particularly teen age children. Anyone else see a correlation here? If someone is okay with bullying a subordinate at work and probably getting away with it due to their ‘brilliance’ or simply the ‘industry culture’, then what are the chances that that bully is not exactly an ‘apple pie’ kinda person at home?
Woah – what on earth are we doing here? This has been going on for generations. Complete and utter lack of disrespect across the board. A large swathe of the population doing their best to mitigate the effects of bullying, in some cases working hard to eradicate it from their workplace or school but constantly having to fight a tide of other folk who having been recipients of bullying, have no problem in perpetuating the problem – because its all they know?
Asking the schools to tackle bullying can only ever be of limited assistance if what the children are living and experiencing is akin to what they are displaying at school. No amount of lecturing is going to help a child not to bully and empathise with their peers, if they are experiencing and witnessing disrespectful behaviours at home.
In my lifetime, drink driving and smoking have both become beyond socially unacceptable. In both cases, people’s lives and well-being were at risk, which heralded the huge changes we have today. Bullying and disrespectful behaviour are equally as damaging, putting lives at risk (yes the numbers may not be comparable to those from smoking or drink or driving, but they are still relevant) and most certainly affecting the well-being of far too many souls in our world.
We need to change our mindset. It is NOT okay to be disrespectful, it is NOT okay to bully. Teasing should be limited. Voice your opinion by all means, but bear in mind your audience. Gauge how your message may be received. Think about others – treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
Meanwhile, I shall keep on trying to bolster my childrens’ confidence, keep reminding them of their good points, of all the things they are good at and keep on with the visualisations, daily meditations and journaling exercises to help them deal with the nastiness they have to face each and every day.