It pains me to see our schools systems spending time and money trying to teach kids about bullying in an effort to make it stop. It pains me even more that the school system believes children are culpable.
For example, StopBullying.gov has a link to “the role kids play” on their “What is Bullying” page. Interestingly, there is no link for “the role parents play,” “the role teachers play,” “the role uncles play,” or similar.
There are many roles that kids can play. Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. When kids are involved in bullying, they often play more than one role. Sometimes kids may both be bullied and bully others or they may witness other kids being bullied. It is important to understand the multiple roles kids play in order to effectively prevent and respond to bullying.
Actually government, none of that will effectively prevent bullying. And tiptoeing around this issue, making every possible effort to not highlight the role parents play is cowardly. You’re hereby stripped of your role in this matter.
Bullying is not a child-driven problem, it’s an adult-driven problem. Kids learn to be bullies from their bully mother and bully father. Their bully teachers. Their friends’ bully parents.
The constant negative interactions with adults and the other adverse experiences children have are the soil bullies sprout from. It’s also the soil the bullied sprout from. Being bullied by parents and other adults strips you of your self-worth and self-confidence. It makes you a target for bullies.
We’ve been led to think that it’s only the computer nerd with his too-full backpack that gets bullied. It’s not. Most of the time it’s Johnny with his abusive alcoholic father and his bitch mother who stands around watching her only child’s soul be destroyed, silently giving the okay.
If only the bullies and the bullied knew they were on the same team.
And this is why bullying will never die. Not until we stand up and address the root cause. Not until we clearly point fingers at adults who systematically disrespect and abuse children. Spanking, isolation, conditional love, coercion, yelling and screaming, threatening, raising the bar to impossible heights, laughing at a child’s pain, devalidating, frequently being intoxicated, mistreating others in the presence of children; these are all examples of the tools of bullies and the process by which they’re handed down.
Children don’t just experience these tools in the household. They’re built into the public school system. They’re built into the doctor’s office. They’re built into nearly every interaction children have with adults in our society.
The latest craze is to post videos of your children getting shots, screaming in fear, with you laughing in the background. Or posting your children in a big ant-sibling-rivalry t-shirt looking shameful while you gather hundreds of likes from your bully friends for being a creative disciplinarian. Sorry mom, having the best parenting board on Pinterest isn’t a virtue. Bullies, all of you.
Every “what do you think about this parent’s response” thread on Facebook has a gazillion comments that are almost exclusively pro-parent and ant-child. Like the mom who assaulted her son in Baltimore for participating in the riots. Do you think that’s the first time that boy has been assaulted by his mother or father? It’s okay for mom to be violent, but not for her son to be. I get it—nobody has principles. Bullies, all of you.
If you truly care about ending bullying, then it starts with you stepping up and refusing to teach skillful bullying to your children. It also starts with you stepping up to make sure that your children learn the language of love and peace at every possible moment through your interactions with them. Once that is done, start standing up for other children. Lastly, start objecting to the systematic abuse and disrespect of children in our society.
Being peaceful to children is the only way to have peaceful children…and then peaceful adults.