Thursday, December 22, 2011

The one where I talk about bullying....

Bullying comes in many different forms, and from many different people.  We all know about physical school yard bullying and how much it can hurt our bodies. But what don't know about is the subtle bullying that comes from words.   "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". We've all heard that, right?  Well guess what, I'm here to debunk that.  WORDS HURT!   As much, if not more than, sticks and stones.
How do we recognize bullying with words?  Sometimes it can be hard. has some wonderful information in their article

Bullying: Know the facts about bullying, even if you don’t think bullying affects your child.

They talk about teasing and it's effects on a child.  A child can become withdrawn, not want to be around the person(even if it someone they really like). They can have self-esteem issues. They can feel like no one around them cares.  They can even feel resentment towards the person doing the teasing/bullying, even if it's a loved one.    A loved one, you ask? Yep. Sadly adults who love our children are also doing the teasing/bullying.    Why?  Well, because they have been that way their whole lives and everyone thought it was funny.   They made excuses for her.  They let her continue in order to "keep the peace."    

Well, this mama refuses to "keep the peace."  My house, and my children, are a Bully-Free Zone.   You may not bully me or my children, or my husband.  Not as long as I'm around...

So, how do we recognize bullying by teasing?   Here is how:
-The person who is being teased isn't happy about it. They may laugh, just to cover the fact that they are uncomfortable or to "fit in."
-The teasing is directly hurtful.  Covering hurtful words with a laugh and an "I'm just joking." is just as bad.  It still hurts.
-If the person is too young to understand that words hurt.   Small children can still be hurt by words, but sadly, do nothing about it.  They either can't verbalize it themselves or they have been taught to respect their elders no matter what.  This gives the adult an unfair advantage because the child cannot stick up for themselves.
-Making fun of people, even in a teasing manner, is still hurtful and not okay.
-Is the teasing tearing a person down, or lifting them up?   If it's tearing them down, it's NOT okay.   God wants us to love each other and use our words to lift them up, not tear them down. 

So, what can we do about it?    Well, we can teach our children that bullying and teasing in a hurtful manner is not okay.  Using your words to hurt others is never okay.   If you have a problem with someone, bring it to them directly. Don't use bullying/teasing as a way to retaliate or make your ways known.  

What can we do if we see someone who is bullying/teasing others?  STOP BEING QUIET ABOUT IT!  STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THAT PERSON!  There is no reason at all that the person doing the bullying/teasing needs to continue.    It doesn't matter if that person is  8 or 108, it's still not okay.   That person needs to learn a new way to communicate with others. If the only way she can communicate with others is by teasing/tearing them down, then I think maybe some counseling is in order because she has some serious problems of her own.    Be it self-esteem issues or a way of getting attention, or because it makes themselves feel like a bigger, better person, whatever it is. It's not okay.    

Kids Health has a wonderful article on teasing and what to do about it.   It's behavior that must be unlearned once it's been learned. It's behavior that needs to stop before it even gets started.  

If you have anything to add, or any comments, I'd love to hear them.


1 comment:

  1. I'm a public school teacher, so this hits really close to home. I see bullying frequently, and it's so heartbreaking. I'm always so encouraged when I see a student stand up for someone. Thank you for sharing this and the great resources!