Why is there bullying--and what can I do?
We have quite a few friends who are teachers. They are incredibly fun people and they work ridiculously hard at their craft. Although they teach different grades and subjects, they all truly relish working with kids--and I admire them all.
My friend Robyn is a middle school adjustment counselor. I don't know how she does it. I would never be able to shepherd a young mind through the social hazards of school--I barely made it out myself.
Robyn and I have talked at length about how bullying has changed since I was a kid. You were more apt to see physical evidence of bullying back in the day--versus now, when kids hide their bruises and scars on the inside. Oh, and the MANY ways to be bullied have certainly blossomed. Why stop at having an embarrassing story cycle around the school when you can be immortalized and humiliated via someone else's social media?
I still had so many questions---How do you help kids that have been the victim of bullying? Why do some kids bully and others don't? Mad or not--there is never a good reason to be cruel to others. Why doesn't everyone learn this lesson at home? How can we help repair some of those social skill deficits?
Robyn walked me through a couple of thoughts around these questions. She clarified that bullying happens when there is intent--and when the bullying is repetitive, and there is an impact on the target. She stated that the bully has more social power.
I could never do her job.
Our talks always make me think, though.
Now that I'm older, I know that it's important to help children to practice feeling good in their own skin. No one is impervious to bullying, but giving kids the tools they need to navigate complex social situations is certainly a start. Kids that feel secure in their value and have high self esteem are more apt to be able to weather the storm--(which is why we started this site!).
If you would like to learn more about bullying--please check out our "Resources" page for links to some incredibly informative sites.