15
   

Here a bully, there a bully, everywhere a bully-bully.

 
 
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 07:58 am
I think I have bully fatigue.

I visit a couple of education forums, a few parenting forums, and, as the parent of a 10 year old I talk to a lot of kids and their parents. The weekly school update mentions bullying more often than not and schools have assemblies about bullying.

I agree that bullying is a serious problem but it seems it's the new sexual harassment wherein "You look nice today" becomes some kind of threat.

It seems to me that if a kid annoys another kid it's now considered bullying. The word has lost all meaning.

When I was a kid a school might have a couple of bullies and everyone was afraid of them, some kids justifiably more than others. They were mean, intimidating, threatening, coercive, scary people; they ran long campaigns of harassment and ridicule.

Now it seems that "that girl said something mean" or "that boy bumped into me" equals that kid being a bully.

Mo and I were talking about this last night after he called some kid a bully -- a kid who is probably one of his best friends. Mo described the incident and I replied that the kid was not being a bully but he was being kind of a jerk. Mo said that the school calls anything like that bullying.

Am I alone in thinking that the term should be reserved for fairly serious actions?

Shouldn't there be some kind of pattern to a kids behavior before they're labeled a bully?

How do you define bullying?

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Type: Question • Score: 15 • Views: 3,695 • Replies: 36

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:00 am
Chicken Little should be along soon, this is something about which he claims to be expert.
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:25 am
@Setanta,
I'm thinking maybe we should all be a little more Chicken Little about it.

It really is weird.

I spent the first few years of Mo's schooling amazed and appalled at the tattle-telling. I especially hated it when Mo fell into the habit of telling on everyone for everything. Being a tattle-tell is the first lesson he learned at school!

Now that he's older all the tattle-telling falls under the heading of someone being a bully. It's gross!
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:31 am
The problem with all this 'protection' of kids is that they won't/can't learn how to deal with it as an adult. Bullying happens everywhere and they're not going to know how to cope.

Yes, bullying can be serious, obviously, as we've seen with kids killing themselves... but those are extreme cases and as usual, we've gone overboard. I don't know why that always happens, but the pendulum will swing to the middle again.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:56 am
@boomerang,
Yes - I agree. It seems we swing from one end to another - with no middling.

My middle school daughter now in her chapel days and part of their Bible study - they have a lesson on bullying. We did receive notification prior to this starting and they are supposed to read this book on bullying. I am planning on reading it too - just to see what exactly they are teaching so I can't really comment to what extent her school is handling this until I read the book.

I do think you have to allow children to be children. They need to learn how to behave and part of it is experimenting with being mean vs. being nice. One thing I discuss with my kids when they talk about so and so being mean (the odd thing is I rarely hear bullying used to describe kids from them) - any hoot - is that if so and so continues being mean like that, they will soon learn, they will not have many friends.

Besides the extreme meanness (physical and consistent slandering), most works itself out among the kids. And those being mean, learn that the other kids aren't going want to be around them.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 08:59 am
My sister and i went through school together--we claimed we were twins, but we weren't, it was just that her birthday is in December. My first grade teacher was an angel, and i was in love with her--i was particularly fond of her moustache. My sister's teacher was the bitch from Hell. When our teacher (Miss Whitfield--i've never forgotten her) had to leave, they just crammed us all into my sister's class. I don't remember the name of the bitch from Hell, but i can still see her evil face. One of her favorite tricks was to leave the room, telling us she had a magic eye in the room with which she could see everything we did. Well, that of course was bullshit, but as soon as she returned, one or two of the thoroughly terrified children would inform on the others. First she would torment the offenders (most of her cruelty was verbal--she would get in a child's face and say the most horrible things about them), then she'd turn on the informers, chanting "tattle-tale, tattle-tale, hanging on a cow's tail" after which she would torment them in the same manner as the original offenders. Nevertheless, there was always at least one informer, and often more. If she didn't turn on the informers, it might have been worse.

I think tattling has always been with us, and i consider bullying to be a serious problem which i have seen all my life. That it might not be dealt with effectively is not evidence that it shouldn't be dealt with. The CBC has run a series of call-in shows on this topic, and the effect that bullying has had on people's lives is just awful. One of the call-in shows was devoted to the bullies themselves, and the people who called in made the point that it hurt them, too. There was more than one caller who recounted the stories of children who committed suicice rather than return to a school where they were being bullied.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:02 am
when i was in school, bullys were taken care of on the play ground, either by big brothers or even big sisters, other meaner kids, or teachers.
Parents were not involved. Teasing is what kids do. Making fun of each other is what they do.

I have thought for a very long time that this fanatical bullying streak was way over the top. but our society seems to salivate at the possibility of a new craze such as this, so it will only be time before it is pushed to the way side. Sadly,just as Mame said, it will leave our kids defenseless..
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:15 am
I think part of the reason it's become pervasive as a subject in schools is because it can be much more pervasive in a child's life than it used to be.

When I was in fourth or fifth grade there was a boy who always used to chase me home and it bothered me. I thought of him as a bother really - not so much as a bully. But yeah, I did tell my big brother about it and he met him one day and told the kid to leave me alone and then advised me to save the apple from my lunch every day and put it in my brown paper lunch bag and hit the kid if he started bothering me again.

Later on, in highschool, this kid and I became good friends and he told me he actually liked me but didn't know how to express it and in fact he told me that he himself had always felt bullied in elementary school as he was short and chubby with bright red hair - his nickname was 'Jellybean'.
By highschool he had grown taller, slimmed down and was really bright and creative - in fact I remember one of the highlights of our Humanities class was his senior project - he did a photo-collage/video of his journey through his childhood toward adulthood to the Grateful Dead song 'Truckin'.

Anyway - these days - these kids can't run to the safety of their homes and escape the bullies. Bullies can still reach them through the internet - texting- whatever.
It's much more insidious and erosive.
I wouldn't want to deal by myself with what kids today have to deal with - I can tell you that.
Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:21 am
@boomerang,
Quote:

How do you define bullying?


I've been having confrontations at work for the last few days with my old boss, who was removed from her job 4 months ago in a sort of a lateral reassignment, because she's a terrible boss. She doesn't seem to be able to internalize the fact that she can't order me around and act rude to me any longer. There's no doubt in my mind that she's a bully; she pushes people around to get what she wants and is willing to escalate at any moment that there's pushback.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:25 am
The ladies on The View all wore purple yesterday in honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:38 am
Is bullying on the rise or is it that it just seems that way?

Kids were bullied when I was growing up, too, but it lessened as we got older as they were able to stop their behaviour or we learned to ignore it, it seems. I always thought bullies were bullies because that's what they learned at home; now I'm not so sure.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:42 am
Set, I'm not saying bullying doesn't exist. I'm saying when we call everything bullying that real bullying gets lost in the shuffle. I would like to see the word saved for those cases instead of the everyday meanness of children.

I do think social networking plays a large part of if with older kids -- the tormenting becomes inescapable.

And absolutely, cyclo, adults can be terrible bullies. It's disgusting and downright psychopathic.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:47 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Set, I'm not saying bullying doesn't exist. I'm saying when we call everything bullying that real bullying gets lost in the shuffle. I would like to see the word saved for those cases instead of the everyday meanness of children.

I do think social networking plays a large part of if with older kids -- the tormenting becomes inescapable.

And absolutely, cyclo, adults can be terrible bullies. It's disgusting and downright psychopathic.


The lady has mental problems. I've elevated this and there's going to be some sort of action taken, but until then, I'm basically just trying to ignore her - I don't want to have another confrontation in the office in front of my staff and coworkers.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 10:58 am
@boomerang,
Well, you would know better than i how this applies to your local school. I do think, though, that it's too easy for adults to dismiss it as just a part of childhood. The callers to the CBC made it clear that when they were bullied, or when they were bullying, it wasn't just the ordinary childhood teasing and transitory strife.

A propos of what Cyclo said, there was a terrible incident when i was in the eighth grade. I was obliged to sit in the classroom during the lunch hour recess writing an essay as a punishment for some eminently forgetable transgression. While i was sitting there, Alma came in.

Alma was the saddest case i've ever seen. In eighth grade, she was 16, almost 17 years old. The only reason she had made it that far by that age was that teachers had just started passing her on, and administration turned a blind eye. She wore the same dress everyday--and i mean that literally, the same dress every day of the school year, including winter when she must have been absolutely frozen. According to what i heard, sometimes the teachers would take her to the school nurse, strip her, wrap her in a blanket, and take her clothes to the training room in the gym to launder them, because otherwise it wouldn't get done. I doubt if she bathed any more often than once a month, if that often. She was barely articulate, and she was an obvious target for bullies, especially among smaller children from lower grades.

She came into the room with tears streaming down her face, because she had fallen and had cut her finger (i don't know if she had fallen or been pushed, but she just said she fell down). The teacher, a total bitch, began to ridicule and taunt her. I had an epiphany then, and realized that her life was completely devoid of any love, of the least shred of affection, and this little cut loomed in her narrow little world as a terrible disaster. I suspected then that she simply hoped to be taken to the school nurse, whom she adored, and who would have provided her some small measure of affection.

The teacher turned to me and said: "You know, i think she actually understands that we're talking about her." I was enraged. I slammed my notebook closed and told her: "Don't include me in this, i wasn't talking about her." Then i picked up my books and walked out of the room. Nothing was ever said to me, and the "punishment" was forgotten. I suspect the teacher would not have wanted to explain the circumstances because if she had taken me to the superintendant, i'd have been able to explain what happened, unlike poor Alma.

Some of the worst, most vicious bullies i saw as a child were the teachers, and precious few of them seem, in retrospect, to have been normal, well-adjusted adults.
OmSigDAVID
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 12:04 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Chicken Little should be along soon, this is something about which he claims to be expert.
I think Setanta is bullying the chicken. Setanta is a bully -- a mendacious, deceptive one.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 12:16 pm
We had a kid like that in school, too. We were very, very poor, as was everyone else, and a lot of houses were gross and the parents were slatternly... this poor kid, Vicky, smelled to high heavens and didn't have a single friend. I always felt really sorry for her. One day she needed to go to the bathroom and the teacher wouldn't let her so she went in her seat. It was NOT her fault at all - there's no excuse for that teacher not letting her go.

Bullying does exist and should be stopped, absolutely, but what Boomer is saying is that not everything should be labelled 'bullying' - "nyah nyah nyah nyah" doesn't constitute bullying to me - just normal playground behaviour.

I don't know if it's more frequent and/or more vicious, but it does seem to have escalated since I was in school. I was chased by a boy who had a diaper pin clutched in his fist and I was scared to death he'd stab me with it as threatened. I just ran home and stayed there, hoping he'd forget all about me. A lot of those kids don't get any love at home, either. His mother had 9 kids and she was a terrible bully herself. She forced my mother to hand over her burn medication (pain killers) for an entire year on the threat of beating the crap out of her... fortunately, we moved at that point.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 12:21 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
The problem with all this 'protection' of kids is that they won't/can't learn how to deal with it as an adult.
Bullying happens everywhere and they're not going to know how to cope.

Yes, bullying can be serious, obviously, as we've seen with kids killing themselves... but those are extreme cases and as usual,
we've gone overboard. I don't know why that always happens, but the pendulum will swing to the middle again.
I knew a trial judge (liberal judge) who dismissed a civil case,
finding for the defendant. Soon thereafter, plaintiff committed suicide, leaving a note blaming the judge.

He was so injudicious as to take it personally.
He took time off from work. I wondered if he was going to resign. (He did not.)

When he returned, I comforted him
that people have been committing suicide long before he
assumed his judicial office and that thay did not need him to do it.





David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 12:30 pm

I can 't remember ever seeing any instance of bullying
during my education. The students were pretty quiet.





David
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 01:47 pm
CBC is doing a piece on bullying right now. They are talking to a representative of the Ontario School Trustees, whose recent survey showed that 70% of students want schools to do more to combat bullying. Apparently, the biggest concern of students in secondary school is cyber-bullying. I'll see if i can find a copy of the survey.

This page at the Ontario Ministry of Education web site covers the subject, although i don't know if it refers to the survey mentioned in this radio segment. Please note that the links there are to PDF documents, so if you're using dial-up, you might not want to click on them.

The survey mentioned in the radio segment was taken from 7,000 students, which would mean its margin of error would be relatively low.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2011 01:48 pm
This article at the Globe and Mail (Toronto) is about the survey to which i've referred, and specifically focuses on the subject of cyber-bullying. The article contains a link to the Ministry of Education report, which is in a PDF format.
 

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