We have an epidemic in our society. Apparently we are raising a generation of bullies and victims. What should we do?
Let’s take away dodgeball for starters. That is a cruel and violent sport. I still can’t believe that my generation actually managed to grow up unscathed after being exposed to at least weekly rounds of dodgeball.
Next, let’s step in every time another child even looks at our child the wrong way. Children cannot handle conflict. They simply aren’t equipped and we shouldn’t give them the ability to build on those skills until they are at least 21. We need to nip every argument in the bud and protect them. They will have plenty of time to learn appropriate social skills once they’ve grown up.
Another surefire way for getting a grip on bullying is to label every kid who’s having a bad day as a bully. We all know people can’t change. That is especially true of kids. Once they hit about 9 or 10 they are who they are and there is no point trying to help them be anything different. It really is best to just call a spade a spade and tag every kid with a bad attitude as a bully.
If you are a parent of said bully, well, you have two choices really.
First, deny that your child has a problem. Everyone knows that if you ignore things they generally just go away. Have a couple of beers, sit the kid down and pat him on the back for sticking up for himself. You ain’t raising no sissy.
If that doesn’t work out and people keep getting all up in your business about your kid then start looking at places to lay the blame. TV, video games, other kids, school – these are all viable options. You are on top of this shit. You watch Family Guy AND American Dad. You know how this parenting gig works.
Look, I know that bullying is real, that it is a problem and can have tragic consequences. But I also know that not every instance of kids being mean to one another is bullying. That’s part of growing up. It is our job as parents to know when to step in but also to know when to just be a keen observer, a good listener. We don’t need to make mountains out of mole hills.
Stop throwing that bully label around and plastering it on kids all willy nilly. Instead focus on things like ensuring proper and early mental health care for those at risk (that applies to the bullies and the bullied). Let’s try to provide parents with the tools they need to avoid or recognize problems. We need to stop feeding off the media frenzy and gain some true perspective on the issue. I just read an interesting study that suggests the more we exaggerate bullying the more we make it seem like it’s the norm, thus making it worse. Actually emphasizing that most kids DO NOT bully decreases bullying. Food for thought.