Following on the heels of the last post about the USA Today article, I also received this post request from Suzi S. who wanted to put her thoughts about the current bullying issues going on in the world around us. I think that Suzi brings up some good questions and comments in her post that she would like to share here. Please comment back on your thoughts on Suzi’s opinions shared here. ~Alan Eisenberg
(thank god I have one)
ON THE BULLY DEBATE
Bullying vs teasing…. NOT THE SAME!!! To many people think it is and go waaay over board. Let’s not confuse the two. The word bullying has been overused, misused, and misunderstood.
Do not misunderstand me though….I do know there is a horrendous amount of it happening and it MUST be dealt with!! But, let’s be part of the solution, not part of the problem and deal with it at face value.
I feel “the powers that be” need to take a step back and THOROUGHLY analyze this awful situation. Call it what it is…a true bullying situation that needs swift attention so to keep everyone involved safe and use it as a learning experience, or another one of life’s tough lessons that NEED to be experienced as you will certainly need it again in life. Teasing, mocking, kidding, or joking has more than one connotation…do we agree on that? Bullying…HAS ONLY ONE…INTIMADATION! The label of bullying has become muddied in translation and we truly can’t come together on a solution if we don’t understand the words!
I have raised two fantastic children!!! Let me tell you, I have, as a Mother, dealt with all of the above and come close to snatching a child or two bald headed for bullying my them!!! Remember we are still talking about my opinions here so please don’t think I am advocating (bald children)! We did however, have lots of conversations on how to handle the bully…..or even if…it was a true bully. Side note….one boy was just totally obnoxious and out of line….because he had a crush on my daughter….he wasn’t a bully, but (almost bald) J Lesson learned on that one!
Let’s get back to teasing. Think about this; how many times have you teased, joked ya know, truly was just playing with a family member or a friend and you thought you were dang funny??? Well, turns out you embarrassed or hurt their feelings but they never told you that. Nooooo they instead, went to other people and voiced their feelings of hurt or mad and repeated the scenario (possibly embellishing a bit)….see the snowball effect?? So, the next time you see this person…you still have no idea they “took” you wrong…you repeat the “funny thing” and they still don’t voice how that is hurtful and the cycle is full swing now and you….are labeled a bully for continuing to hurt this poor person….Of course if you KNEW…you would cease and desist and apologize!
These kind of experiences must must must be taught to our children! If they can’t handle the good the bad and the ugly of life they are destined to live lonely and scared and ill-equipped. We need to teach them to have a back bone and a funny bone to get along in life. Parents, educators, lawmakers and society as a whole need to be part of these life lessons.
Mommy that person is staring at me…or the adult…what’s that dudes problem staring at me, what a jerk. Another one….everyone stares and me in my wheelchair…..everyone ignores me in my wheelchair. Sometimes you can’t win for losing! Staring doesn’t mean a negative! It just might mean a “look” or maybe you resemble someone else. Or….you might have something attractive on or you might be just good looking and people want to stare!!! I have encountered the wheelchair scenario a few times. I know people in wheelchairs so when I give a second glance it’s to check if that’s my friend. I am truly sorry if you have been picked on before but, please know, I was just looking. When I recognize that I got caught “staring” I always smile and say “I’m sorry you look just like someone I know” That always seems to work.
“Judging” seems to be another buzz word that gets a lot of negative attention. We pay people big money to “judge” people. To me….I will judge you in the same way I will have an opinion about you; that doesn’t mean I will ONLY be negative!!! I might judge you to be the happiest person I know and I want to spend more time with you….or the meanest and I don’t want anything to do with you! Either way, it is my opinion. Thank God I have one I hope to use it wisely!!
The purpose of this post was not to ramble on and on, but to hopefully make you THINK before reacting negatively in a given situation. And to get an ongoing conversation as to how we, as a society can help raise strong, caring and productive children that have enough esteem instilled in them to be able to pay it forward.
I don’t have all the answers for sure, on how to handle all of the degrees of bullying. I just know that they all can’t be dealt with the same way. This is not a one size fits all situation by no means.
I run the gambit of experiences with dealing with bullies starting in Kindergarten. That was small stuff compared to being 18 years old and losing my Mother to the ultimate bully who shot and killed her. Every lesson I taught my children about consequences was, in part, about this awful tragedy.
One of my very good friends was the school bully for years. Her childhood story is sad and unique but still with some very typical parts of a bully back ground. The great news is she grew up to be a very good proud Mother with a great sense of humor and has a lot of love to give.
I was the child that got into fights sticking up for the ones that got bullied. Oddly enough, that is how I started to become friends with the friend I just told you about. These experiences have taught me lessons that I am glad I learned. I am strong and have a well stocked “tool box”. When I run head on into a difficult situation, I have the right tool to use.
One last thought…well maybe.
As parents, we teach our children to look out for cars and to move so they don’t get hit. We teach them to duck a ball thrown at them…or to catch it so they don’t get hurt. Right?? That seems like normal stuff to teach a child. Well, we need to remember bullies and the bad stuff…. ARE GOING TO HAPPEN!!!! Give them the tools to handle it…..might have to try a few different tools, but keep trying!!!
Ok…really one last thought J
Young parent’s today have to deal with so so so much more than I did raising my kids. The crap and the negativity and the down right mean-spirited people on TV is shocking to me. Even news anchors are getting their “jabs” in. To pick on some celebrity for their hair or dress choice or even the size of the dress is just sending the message that it’s ok to be that way…..even funny. Well it’s not!!! The comedians hide behind their job title like its ok to be mean. I have a great sense of humor but when it’s at the expense of some one’s feelings it is just wrong!
My family and friends have heard these rantings for a long time now. It was time to put pen to paper and get my thoughts organized….which will only lead to more posts, stay tuned and go give a child some esteem.