Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stop Bullies

A bunch of us bunker punks did a word swap where we each get a word (prompt) and have to write about it.  Here's mine: Stop Bullies. I don't follow directions well but here goes...
While bullying and bullies are a huge topic as of late and everybody is up in arms over the whole debacle, I have an entirely different and most likely not popular, point of view on the subject.  Before I give my unique opinion on how to stop bullies, I’m going to explain my stance and give a little background.

I believe the terms bully, bullies, and bullying are used far too often and used by people who have no idea what the actual definition is.  Being that there are several different types of bullying and I can’t stop all the bullies in one blog post I’m going to stick mostly with the generic good ole’ bullies.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start the post out with a definition.  The definition of bulling according to Wikipedia is as follows:

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets.   If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.  Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber - It typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.

If the definition above has been read and understood it should be obvious that most of these so called bullies are not bullies, they are just assholes.  Assholes with big mouths, vendettas, poor upbringing, no manners, anger issues, the need to be popular, etc…  Whatever it is, they aren’t bullies so stop calling them that.  They are being given all this false power because of perception.  Incorrect perception and the public’s ability to glom on to a phrase, overuse it, and generalize it, are real problems when it comes to issues like this.  Can you say vicious cycle?

I do think bullying exists.  I just don’t believe that it exists to the extent the mainstream media and overzealous bully hounds would lead us to believe.  Every time a student gets called a name or laughed at because they are wearing bright orange pants or their socks actually match, is not a bully situation.  This is called teasing.  It’s going to happen.  There is not one individual, no matter how cool or popular, who hasn’t experienced this.  It’s human nature.  We must not confuse teasing with being bullied. 

When a kid gets hit at school because he or she acted like a jerk, or they’re arguing with their best friend, this is not bullying.  If my Mini (12 year old middle school girl) fights every day with her friend at school, this is not bullying. This is kids being little shitheads kids.  What about when one kid is bigger than another and they get into a tiff - should we automatically assume that the big kid is bullying the small kid?  Absolutely not.  We cannot assume anything until some questions have been answered. As listed above the 4 types of bulling are emotional, verbal, physical, and cyber.  Size doesn’t matter in any of these situations.  All children are capable of bullying another child.

Let me refer back to the definition listed above for a minute – specifically the underlined sections. Abuse, intimidate, dominate are key words here.  These are serious infractions against another human being.  So if my Mini is calling another student a bitch in passing is this bullying?  Is there abuse or intimidation?  Is she dominating?  I think not. I call bullshit.  Again, this is just my kid being an asshole a kid. Should she be punished?  Hell yes. Should she be labeled a bully?  No.  Now, if my Mini is calling another student a bitch every day and getting her other friends to call this student bitch as well, that is intimidation (causing fear) and therefore – bullying.  Or if my Mini is repeatedly using force to coerce another student to only wear purple on Thursday, this is bullying and harassment. If someone is posting offensive photos, messages, or words on my Mini’s Facebook page every day to taunt her, this is cyber bullying.  If a classmate calls the Mini douche in a Facebook status update one day because she’s pissed at her?  Not bullying.  See the difference?

In my mind adults are incapable of being bullied in most circumstances.  I find the usage of the term bully in conjunction with adults absurd.  I’m aware of behavior out there that is out of control but as able bodied and minded adults we should possess the skills to obliterate this so called bullying before it begins.  Should sexual harassment now be defined as being bullied sexually? Again I think that this is just a generalization of the term bully.  We just categorize everything into one neat little package that makes us feel justified in calling everyone a bully because it’s a cool label. We love labels. It isn’t right and it pisses me off.  This is absolutely ridiculous and adults participating in this farce should be ashamed.

Now that I have blabbed on forever in regards to bullying I’ll address the prompt: Stop Bullies.  In my opinion there are only a few ways:

1.      Know the definition

Ensure that you and your child are aware of what bullying actually is.  Kids will pick on each other.  Know the difference.

2.      Ignore it

This works best with verbal and cyber bullying.  People (especially kids) are lazy.  Ignore it and it will go away.  Is it difficult?  Yes.  Children should have a support system of steel.  Parents, siblings, and other family members should all be there 100% for a child who is being bullied. 

3.      Fight it head on

This works well with physical bullying.  If a child is being physically abused on a repeat basis he/she needs to stand up for himself/herself, period.  Yes, I’m suggesting that a swift kick in the junk of said bully will deter future bullying.  If it doesn’t, we as parents need to get our asses to the school and take charge.

4.      Education/Awareness

Emotionally our children need strength.  Strength comes from within but the ability to use strength to deal with difficult situations is taught.  It should start with the parents but not be limited to them.  There needs to be more education and awareness training and at an earlier age.  We teach children about strangers beginning at birth.  Why shouldn’t this be the same? With the advancements that we have available to us, there is no reason to witness another suicide as the result of bullying.  On the other side, children are taught to bully.  Yes, I said it and yes, I believe it.  The majority of bullies are bullying to become popular.  This is learned behavior.  This needs to stop.  The self-esteem issues of our youth are incredible.  We need to spend more time teaching our children how to be empathic, supportive, productive members of society and to be happy with themselves no matter what.  Children who witness bullying should not be afraid to report it.  They should feel secure and proud in the fact that they are helping a classmate. In addition, every school in this country should have an anti-bullying program.  The funds are available.  How about we spend the money allocated for standardized testing on some anti-bullying programs?   

In closing please keep in mind that these are my opinions.  Having a tween child in middle school could have kept me going on this subject for another 10 pages (be glad I have a job).  In reality I don’t think this is a problem that will be solved quickly or easily.  I think education is the key and I think we as a country are headed in the right direction.  Not quickly enough but the direction is there. 

*I had to add that the morning of writing this story, my Mini called me 3 times at work as she didn’t want to go to school because her cheeks were peeling and she was afraid she’d get called names.  Ahem, she almost got called names – by me.  And her ass went to school.  Not bullying.  Just a bullshitty kid trying to use anything as an excuse to get out of school. 


 PPB aka The Precious Princess - The Princess is a twice divorced, recently dumped, recently unemployed, self-proclaimed member of the mentally hilarious. She has been referred to as living under a rock stocked with vodka and anger. Her 12 year old “Mini”, who is carbon copy of the Princess, is often the subject of blogs, and Facebook posts. In addition, she writes about dating, the dumbness of boys, life after 40, and shares stories from Bananaland which is both her past and current residence. She is the owner/sole admin for the Facebook page Precious Princess's Guide to Bananaland where she is famous for her rants and her blunt, honest, and sarcastic look at life. She blogs both extremely funny and all-the-feels posts at Princess Bananaland. She hates people, kids, and karaoke. She uses all the swears and makes up dirty words. Be afraid. 


Just a cape is in the dryer! said...

I agree with every bit of this!!! You should do those employer mandated "Bully Seminars".

Unknown said...

<3 this take on the bully situation and appropriately identifying the problem

Unknown said...

Finally! So sick of everyone crying bully. The overuse is absurd and annoying, and the damn media doesn't help the matter.