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Take it from someone who knows.  Bullies are a pain in the butt.

I was a small child, wore todler clothes to the first grade, and I weighed in at 37 pounds, I was six years old.

A walking target.

PUT ME DOWN!

Well, researchers have found that kids who get bullied and snubbed by peers are probably gonna’ have problems in other parts of their lives as well.

No kiddin?

Supposedly, there are at least three factors in a child’s behavior that can lead to social rejection.  (Social rejection, now isn’t that a pretty phrase for bullied?)

The causes are, according to researchers:

  1. Reading nonverbal cues.
  2. Understanding their social meaning
  3. Thinking of options to resolve social conflicts.

Those who are supposed to know say that 10 to 13 percent of children “experience some sort of social rejection”.   I’m not so sure where they got these numbers, but I’m guessin’ it’s a tad higher.  Everyone is rejected socially at one point or another.  But, not everyone is bullied.

They also tell us in this report that being bullied can result in mental health problems, can increase the polibility that a child will get poor grades, drop out of school, or develop substance abuse problems.   Clark McKown of the Rush Neurobehavioral Center in Chicago says, “It really is an under-addressed public health issue.”

Another ‘expert’ says what a kid learns on the playground could show up in later life.  He claims that when children interact without the guidance of an authority figure,  is when children experiment with the relationship styles they will have as adults.

Ok, who’s leaving their kids alone?  I’m sorry, I can’t even fake surprise on that one.

It all stems from the fact that the number one need of any person is to be liked by other people.  Well duh!

We all want to be liked, but we’re not all gonna’ like everybody. 

After a boat load of studies, and a truck load of money, they claim to have found a few things.

  1. Kids don’t see clues.
  2. Kids don’t understand clues.
  3. Kids don’t know how to react to clues.

They even have a book now that they are recommending.  “It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success” (Touchstone, 2006).  I’m sure it’s just an awesome read!  And they claim it works for kids who don’t have disabilites as well. 

These experts have a “process”, and it’s all geared to the bullied, not the bully.

To teach social skills, Lavoie advises a five-step approach in his book.  He claims the process works for children with or without learning disabilities and is best conducted immediately after a transgression has been made.  (Transgression being made by the bullied!!!!)

1) Ask the child what happened and listen without judgment.

2) Ask the child to identify their mistake. (Often children only know that someone got upset, but don’t understand their own role in the outcome.)

3) Help the child identify the cue they missed or mistake they made, by asking something like: “How would you feel if Emma was hogging the tire swing?” Instead of lecturing with the word “should,” offer options the child “could” have taken in the moment, such as: “You could have asked Emma to join you or told her you would give her the swing after your turn.”

4) Create an imaginary but similar scenario where the child can make the right choice. For example, you could say, “If you were playing with a shovel in the sand box and Aiden wanted to use it, what would you do?”

5) Lastly, give the child “social homework” by asking him to practice this new skill, saying: “Now that you know the importance of sharing, I want to hear about something you share tomorrow.”

I for one, think this is a bunch of crap. 

The only thing they got right is listen to the child without judgement.  Now, there’s a parenting tip I can live with.

As to asking the child to identify their mistake: being smaller, stranger, or just different isn’t a mistake.  Ask the bully why he’s a jerk.

I don’t think the kid missed anything other than the opportunity to get the heck out of there before “Felon of the Future” jumped him.  And maybe Emma’s just a big, mean, hateful, future skank!  And maybe he’s just a little wuss!

I think kids have enough imaginary scenarios as it is.  Are mommy and daddy gonna stay together;  am I gonna’ get to the bus without gettin’ my ass kicked?; is the sadistic gym teacher gonna’ make me stand out front in dodge ball?  (OK, I’m not over a few things.)

Social homework? You can’t get most kids to do the homework from school.   Teach the kid to fight, tell him to kick the bully’s ass or die tryin’!

Other kids not liking a child is not the end of the world. Surprising as it is, there are people out there who don’t like me!   But it has nothing to do with bullying.   The kid may have gotten a swirlie because the bigger boys didn’t like him, or as I said before, he may just be a big wuss.  But that doesn’t make it his fault.  The bigger boys are at fault here. 

Apparently that “do unto others” crap was lost in translation.

Maybe I was a little dweeb and pantywaist, but that sure as heck didn’t make it right for El Kabong (a girl in the 3rd grade) to kick my ass everyday on the playground.  Thank God that tramp moved that summer!

And maybe Courtney has blue hair, wears fishnet stockings, and anarchy gloves, but I don’t remember a law being passed saying we should fail her, rail at her, or flog her.

Bullies are bullies.  Bullies need to be stopped. 

BAD BUMPER STICKER, BAD!

Just because the kid next to you in class is weird or just because you can, doesn’t mean you should take his lunch money. 

Sadly, there are bullies in all walks of life.  Middle School, High School, College and the workplace are all just extensions of Elementary School.  Generally, once a bully, always a bully.  And conversely, one would think once bullied, always bullied. 

Ah, not so.

There’s a way out.

So, to everyone of you who’s been beat UP, stuffed in a locker, dragged into the girls room, had toothpaste put in your hair at camp while sleeping, or had someone take your dessert at lunch, I say this:

Shut UP, Stand UP, get mad as hell and don’t take it anymore.

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