Bullying has been in the news a lot lately, and anti-bullying programs have been in the schools at least since I was in Elementary School. But none of it seems to help. Bullying is everywhere.
I feel that I am the target of a bully right now, and though I am not this person’s main focus, I am getting plenty of attack. And all the methods for dealing with people like this that they teach you in school don’t really make a bit of difference.
And while the idea behind the Fighting Bullies with Babies program may be great, it is quite terrifying to me. Basically, parents take their babies to programs with at-risk youth and the baby helps build empathy in these kids. Eventually, when the kids grow up and become parents, they have the empathy to be engaged parents, breaking cycles of abuse and neglect. Honorable idea, but anyone who has been labeled a bully isn’t coming near my child, or me for that matter. If I can help it.
On many parenting subjects, I try not to be too rigid. But this is not one of those subjects.
Although I feel a little bit (ok, a lot) nerdy referencing Glee, I think Kurt, the openly gay teenager on the show, speaks truth when he says that the best way to fight bullying is for all of us to stand up to it. This character is able to stand up for himself like no teenager, or even adult, I’ve seen. And still he must leave his school and friends to get away from the threats and violence.
I hate to be so negative, but I think that is reality. No one stands up, the victim must remove him/herself from the situation. In a case like school, it is sometimes easier than in a work or life situation. Transfer. But the bully doesn’t go away, and neither does the fear or the apathy.
How are we supposed to deal with bullies in real life?