Bullies Aren’t Going Away, Deal With It.



There’s been a lot of talk in the news this week about the evils of bullying, and the tragedy of teenagers killing themselves because they were bullied. I’ve heard people (rightly) decrying the actions of two Rutgers students who secretly videotaped a student having sex and posted the footage online. I’ve heard discussions of how to stop intolerant people from bullying.

This is an important conversation to have, but not nearly as important as the less-discussed issue: how can we teach our children to handle being bullied?

I was taunted pretty regularly as a kid. I was mocked for being “too smart,” for wearing the wrong clothes, for being odd. Boys would draw on the back of my shirt with dandelions, or call to pretend to ask me out and then hang up amid the background laughter of their friends. Girls wouldn’t even talk to me. A teacher in high school literally refused to give me the time of day. In college, my “friend” slept with my boyfriend to hurt me, then let it be known that she had a large knife in her room and wasn’t afraid to use it (and we all lived on the same hall. Good times…).

But I didn’t kill myself. Even though I suffer from clinical depression, I didn’t kill myself.

I was raised to believe in myself. I had goals and passions to focus on. I had parents who I knew would listen to me, even if I didn’t want to talk to them. I had a handful of friends who appreciated me. I developed a thick skin.

Bullies will always exist, throughout our lives, because some people are just jerks. We can try to educate them, and we may get through to some of them, but we’ll never convert them all. Fox News will never lack for job applicants…

Therefore, it is critical that we turn our attention to coping mechanisms. This is especially important for parents of special needs kids, who are easy targets for bullying.  We must teach our children from day one that the loudest person in the room isn’t always the one who is right.  Our kids must grow up knowing they are important and that their lives have value.  That the world needs them.  That they are loved unconditionally.

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Meredith Zolty
My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at http://notanaffliction.blogspot.com/
Meredith Zolty

TheRyanFiles

My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at http://notanaffliction.blogspot.com/

0 thoughts on “Bullies Aren’t Going Away, Deal With It.

  • October 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm
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    Thank you! It’s something that can’t be stopped, but can be helped. 

    Reply
  • October 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm
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    Of course there’ll always be bullies. And, what you describe is absolutely essential – coping mechanisms are absolutely necessary. That said, bullies must get some sort of counseling and/or punishment. This lame and lazy attitude by authorities of basically ignoring the bullying needs to stop. These assjacks need to be stopped in their tracks whenever possible. I’ve heard too many stories of teachers and other personnel just doing nothing in the face of obvious bullying right under  their noses. Doing nothing just can’t be the standard way. Apathy, especially in matters like these, piss me off royally.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm
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    This morning, Joshua came into my room in tears, begging me not to send him to school today because he was tired of being made fun of by the other kids. He knows he is different. He knows he’s somewhere on the autistic spectrum. He sees the differences between himself and the other kids… and so do they… with or without an official diagnosis. Josh is eleven and in sixth grade. He’s in a normal middle school class setting.

    So, this morning I told him the truth, “You are a brilliant, talented, smart, and funny kid. They just can’t see that because they are all caught up in being the same as each other. It’s hard now, because all of you guys are going through a lot of changes, growing up from little boys into young men… it’s hard to do. None of this will be easy, but YOU CAN DO IT.” He quoted a line from “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and applied it to his own situation… and left for school smiling and telling himself that he is smart, capable, and talented.

    Josh could hold his own in a physical fight. His dad has taught him several martial arts techniques to use for self defense… but if only it were that simple. Bullies these days don’t resort to obvious physical violence. It is more psychological and so much more difficult to escape and to report. It’s easy to see a bruise left by a fist. It’s not so easy to see a bruise left by cruel words. It becomes a matter of “he said/she said” kind of thing and no one can do anything about it… because “no one got hurt.”

    The only “weapon” against these kinds of bullies is to build up our own kids with the truth about themselves. That they are valuable, that they are capable, that they are loveable. Yeah, they might have limitations or challenges that other kids don’t have, but if anything, I’d say that in the right circumstances those challenges make them that much stronger. I refuse to feel sorry for Josh… just like I refused to feel sorry for myself when I was the one being bullied in middle school. He doesn’t need pity, he needs confidence. Not arrogance… confidence.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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    Most definitely a good perspective to look at things.  I was heartbroken about the Rutgers incident but you’re right, telling people not to bully just isn’t enough.  Refreshing post.

    Reply

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