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Bullying - Comments

VitruviannMan's Avatar Comment 1 by VitruviannMan

Man, those are interesting hypothetical questions and I'm not going to pretend I have the best answers. I suspect someone with an understanding of behavioral psychology might have better insights.

However, my initial reaction to how we can stop bullying is to teach kids to value diversity among themselves. I realize, that's probably easier said than done. But I'd guess that differences (looks, race, social status, gender, faith etc) play a large part driving kids (or adults) to bully each other. If we can teach individuals to respect these at a young age, I'm sure we could reduce not just bullying but violence in general.

I believe it was Nietzsche who said, the surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. Unfortunately, the education system in many countries are still based on teaching kids to be very uniform. Ted actually has a very interesting seminar on this by Sir Ken Robinson.

Then again, I don't know if my suggestions could be practical - like I said, I'm not familiar with the subject and someone else will probably offer better insights...

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:31:43 UTC | #597264

Canasian's Avatar Comment 2 by Canasian

Being bullied as a child made me believe I had automatic consent to bully others when the opportunities presented itself later on in school. What prevented this from becoming a chronic issue were the friends I kept. I grew distant from the ones who initiated events and closer to the ones who were level headed.

Not really sure why this happened, perhaps the good ones far out numbered the bad apples and it made sense to stick with the many. I'd like to think it had something to do with parenting but I passed through too many foster families growing up to consider that a legitimate explanation.

Reflecting on those times I'd have to say good friends, teachers and sports kept me from the downward spiral. I spent more time kicking a soccer ball around than with my studies (or bullying others). It was important to keep my mind and body active and engaged. The trick is pointing the student towards something productive rather than letting them drift towards a destructive path, this is where I believe good teachers can play an important role.

I placed teachers on a higher pedestal than parents only because of my unique upbringing, I know many see it the other way around and feel parents have a greater duty. My teachers were my parents and it would be great if educators strive to have as much of a positive impact in the lives of their pupils as possible.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:02:01 UTC | #597278

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 3 by -TheCodeCrack-

When I use to get bullied by older guys at school (say I was 15, they'd be 16/17), I went home and hit the weights: hard!

The best thing a bullied boy can do at school is get as fit and strong as possible.

Learn the techniques for getting big-biceps. Trust me, these guys really don't want a fight with someone who could annihilate them in front of their mates, school acquaintances, girls etc.

They're the solutions for the bullied person.

MY other solution is to treat school the same way you treat the workforce. You get in serious trouble for bullying in the workforce, even if you're only 16, but an equally aged schoolkid doesn't get in much at all. Contradiction of kinds?

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:07:29 UTC | #597281

William33's Avatar Comment 4 by William33

There's a vast difference between friends mucking around and one person going out their way in order to annoy or harrass another person. I mean, my friends and I enjoy banter from an outsiders perspective may be considered cruel, brutal or harsh. However we enjoy that... years of friendship and knowing the limits of one another can allow that.

However when one person, almost stranger, goes out of there way to do something unconstructive then we have a problem. Treat others how you want to be treated springs to mind. That person has not yet made that bond that I would consider needed before we fool around. There needs to be respect for one another, at least till we actually build a friendship.

It is important to understand the situation behind the scenes. Is this person actually getting bullied or are two friends just mucking around? It does not hurt to ask the pupil in private what the situation is. Does the pupil hang out with the person throwing the paper? Is the pupil an outsider?

I do not want to over-generalise but it should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Violence is never a solution. It can get taken too far where one person or two will need hospital treatment but it may also be settled with the bully now too afraid to bully any further.

I have seen all types of bullying. From little petty issue that turn into full-fisted fights. I have seen random unprovoked attacks on a certain people. I have seen many people to tell the bully to back off and leave the other person alone. In some cases the children settle their differences, the schools get involved to settle the disputes or the police get involved to finish it once and for all.

.. what I can only say is that there is never a one-way solution or answer.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:09:26 UTC | #597283

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 5 by crookedshoes

canasian,

I find your post very interesting. Many of our bullies are on sports teams. I mean, I was hazed pretty nasty stuff -- when I played high school football. Some of the "punishment" was a bit homoerotic from the bullies' perspective (i think).

I was picked on mercilessly for years and finally started to fight back. Turns out I am a pretty tough customer when in a black out of rage.

So, Code Crack, I can commiserate with you and agree with you from the "hit the weights" standpoint.

I was running down the alley behind my house being hit by a boy with a wiffle ball bat. It stung, but didn't hurt. I slowed and slowed. And took the bat from the bastard. Next thing you know i am chasing him. I ran right in his front door and fractured his nose in his living room. His mum didn;t even stop drinking her 7 & 7.

Tough guy stuff aside, how do we stop this? I have noticed that as we curtail it INSIDE school, more and more occurs on the streets outside of school. WHAT TO DO?

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:17:23 UTC | #597289

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 6 by crookedshoes

william33, very wise words, my friend. How do we implement this in a school with 2200 14-18 year olds????

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:19:28 UTC | #597290

Canasian's Avatar Comment 7 by Canasian

Comment 1 by VitruviannMan :

But I'd guess that differences (looks, race, social status, gender, faith etc) play a large part driving kids (or adults) to bully each other. If we can teach individuals to respect these at a young age, I'm sure we could reduce not just bullying but violence in general.

I would agree. I didn't blend in so well being one (my sister was another) of only four Chinese students in a small school of about 1500 or so. Being chased around the school yard hearing "wing, wang, ching, chang, chung, chink" behind you made it obvious why I was being targeted by the daily wedgie patrol.

A little off topic, my girlfriend asked me the other day what I thought about gender segregation to improve learning in boys. She referred to a study that was done which pointed to boys achieving higher test scores when they were segregated from girls and their lessons were catered towards a more physically active regiment.

I said I seldom believe segregation of any kind was ok, even if it was for a good purpose. How hypocritical would it be to teach children lessons in equality as mentioned by VitruviannMan in a classroom divided by gender. You can't really say the end justifies the means in this case can you?

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:26:02 UTC | #597295

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 8 by crookedshoes

Canasian,

You'd fit in fine with me and my friends and are welcome here and anywhere I am. The names you endures (I hope) did not color your perception of yourself. Shit like that is NOT tolerated in my school and especially not in my classroom. I hope wedgies were the extent of the indignation. Nothing as cruel as an "ingroup" of children when they encounter a vulnerable member of an "outgroup"

We have experimented with girls only math classes and, of course, there are gender specific schools in the private sector. Very interesting that you'd include that topic here, but I see why.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:32:40 UTC | #597298

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 9 by Stevehill

There's a growing complaint in the UK from some teachers that we fail to use the exclusion remedy enough, or we suspend the troublemakers for a very short time and let them come back to resume where they left off.

The fact is one or two of these people can ruin the educational experience for a whole class year, and make worthwhile teaching impossible. It's a waste of time for the other pupils, a waste of time for possibly dedicated and capable teachers (but who knows?), and a waste of parents' taxes.

I'd back something like three strikes and you're out. Out to some sort of semi-militarised boot camp, probably residential, that acts both as a real deterrent and as a last-chance saloon to make something out of kids who have, probably, been badly let down by their own parents. It could save a lot of grief (crime, substance abuse etc) further on...

Sorry if that's a bit right wing!

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:34:02 UTC | #597302

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 10 by crookedshoes

Stevehill, Here in the US the bully has rights and lawyers and how dare you criticize the parents????? In the past month a teacher has made national news by blogging how lazy and wild SOME of her kids are. She has been suspended and will be fired.

I'd agree with you if i thought it had any chance of occurring here in the US -- too many lawyers!!!!

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:38:19 UTC | #597303

Canasian's Avatar Comment 11 by Canasian

Comment 5 by crookedshoes :

canasian,

I find your post very interesting. Many of our bullies are on sports teams. I mean, I was hazed pretty nasty stuff -- when I played high school football. Some of the "punishment" was a bit homoerotic from the bullies' perspective (i think).

I was picked on mercilessly for years and finally started to fight back. Turns out I am a pretty tough customer when in a black out of rage.

So, Code Crack, I can commiserate with you and agree with you from the "hit the weights" standpoint.

I was running down the alley behind my house being hit by a boy with a wiffle ball bat. It stung, but didn't hurt. I slowed and slowed. And took the bat from the bastard. Next thing you know i am chasing him. I ran right in his front door and fractured his nose in his living room. His mum didn;t even stop drinking her 7 & 7.

Tough guy stuff aside, how do we stop this? I have noticed that as we curtail it INSIDE school, more and more occurs on the streets outside of school. WHAT TO DO?

Some of my coaches would include equality concepts within our practices. For some students perhaps lessons on their own without context has little meaning. Encourage after school activities as well, this can't happen of course if teachers aren't willing to put the time in themselves.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:45:08 UTC | #597310

Chica1's Avatar Comment 12 by Chica1

When I was younger I was bullied mercilessly and violently by a mixed group of boys and girls. They made my life hell for 5 years. Not enough was ever done by any of the adults who should have been there to help me, even now more than 10 years after I left school I still have nightmares about them. All the teachers ever did was send home notes (with the child, not through the post) which the kids would delight in telling me they threw in the bin on the way home, and I was told by the teachers to 'just ignore them'.

What adults see as harmless name calling or messing around is far more frightening to a small child who feels helpless.

Now I work with kids in an after school club and if I ever see or hear about any bullying I come down hard on the bully, if it happens more than once then I involve their parents. Children and teenagers need to be punished to learn that their behaviour is unacceptable. If they are not reprimanded for their behaviour it's like giving them a free pass to do as they please.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:12:58 UTC | #597328

VitruviannMan's Avatar Comment 13 by VitruviannMan

I just remembered this promotional video I had seen way back on Youtube. It's one of my favorites and I think it could be relevant to the issue here.

I don't think our societies have nearly enough people who can set good examples. Counting on the parents to be mentors simply is not realistic in a society where divorce rate is nearly 50%. Of course, priests can be even worse, which pretty much leaves us with teachers as the only other option. Putting all of this responsibility on teachers can also be detrimental as there will surely be bad teachers as well as good ones. But I think a nationwide campaign such as the one in the video above could be very helpful in raising awareness in adults and children alike.

It might seem cheesy or contrived for some people to advertise such issues, and surely national ads alone cannot educate children. But if it works for the average person, I think it could be a break through supplement for raising socially responsible citizens. It's one thing to hear something in class, another to notice it in everyday life.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:16:28 UTC | #597329

Canasian's Avatar Comment 14 by Canasian

@crookedshoes

Wedgies were the mildest part I endured, I just chose to use something a bit less graphic and embarrassing. Being chased and harassed outside of school was a problem for me as well.

An older colleague (50+) and I (29) had a discussion about bullying about a month ago. We noticed the change in how bullying is being done nowadays. It seemed to us that it's now more violent and being done by larger groups rather than individuals.

Our conclusions weren't scientific by any means since we just went by our own experiences. But is this what others are seeing as well? If so I'm curious as to what's causing this, perhaps narrowing that down may give us a better idea on how to best move forward in addressing the bullying issue.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:44:37 UTC | #597347

Canasian's Avatar Comment 15 by Canasian

@VitruviannMan

I was expecting that to turn into a car commercial haha. Powerful stuff though, we don't see enough ad campaigns like this. I have no qualms seeing my taxes go towards educational ads such as the one you posted. So long as all levels of government follow up the ads with actual changes in policy through legislation.

I currently work for the Canadian government and know as all governments go we can be doing so much more. We recently had a string of ads regarding elder abuse and the feedback has been positive. I say carry the message onto drug abuse, child abuse/neglect, bullying etc...

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 20:13:51 UTC | #597370

Jay G's Avatar Comment 16 by Jay G

I was bullied when I was a kid. The teachers and administrators did NOTHING about it and I got the message early on that I was on my own. Fortunately for me, it was never a matter of being hurt badly. However, it took a long time before I was able to trust anybody or feel safe in the world.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:01:13 UTC | #597399

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 17 by Alan4discussion

The humbug - rights do-gooders in politics and administration have undermined and fudged the discipline in schools to the point where it is difficult, tedious, and expensive in their own time, for teachers to deal with bullying or anti social behaviour.

When I was younger, The UK had a law allowing teachers to act in "loco-parentis". That is enforcing rules as a reasonable parent would. There was none of this "teacher physically broke up a fight or dragged a lippy bully in to the building" - resulting in the busy-body administration deciding to discipline the teacher for "assault" while the miscreant was quietly forgotten about and failed parents played the hero/martyr!

Standards and rules were enforced without matters being regularly referred to fumbling bureaucrats or passed around amateur committees.

It should be obvious to anyone with a brain, that if the teachers are unable to enforce their standards, the protected bullies with "rights" will enforce their own!

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:06:58 UTC | #597401

bigfootisreal's Avatar Comment 18 by bigfootisreal

thats a waste of good food

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:10:05 UTC | #597404

bigfootisreal's Avatar Comment 19 by bigfootisreal

But seriously if a kid is getting picked on, he has the right to retaliate within reasonable limits(no long term injuries).

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:14:59 UTC | #597407

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 20 by Carl Sai Baba

My lifelong criticism of popular child-raising methods is that adults regularly tell children to "ignore" harassment and assault which would qualify for lawsuits or criminal prosecution if the victim were an adult.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:57:28 UTC | #597430

zirconPhil's Avatar Comment 21 by zirconPhil

I haven't been bullied so much by peers, and when I was, it didn't last very long (it was dealt with by verbal or in rare cases minor physical retaliation)

However, I have been bullied by teachers (3 examples). 1 - Teacher treated me unfairly for the year as I informed her that her statement that "Whales are fish" is incorrect, and backed it with books (I was about 8 years old). 2 - The year after that, same thing but different teacher, and this time it was "Mushrooms are plants". 3- Religious studies teacher kept insulting me (trying to pass it off as 'jokes'). It wasn't so bad because I'd always have a witty reply waiting for him, and the class would laugh at him on their way out :-)

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 22:05:48 UTC | #597433

phodopus's Avatar Comment 22 by phodopus

I had a strange bullying experience in elementary school. I was bullied by one guy from the neighborhood whom everyone considered to be my friend, and with whom I played quite often. He had some serious issues when we were kids, and he let me suffer for that. Strangely, I hardly ever really fought back - a very strange relationship that only suddenly ended when I changed schools after fourth grade. In Kindergarten I was bullied by the son of our physician, who was basically domineering over everyone shorter than him. This also created a rather odd constellation. What's my solution to these problems? Well in my case, there were limited things that the grownups could have done. In Kindergarten, I think that it was definitely a lack of sensitivity of the women who were in charge. It must have been obvious that one guy was basically claiming parts of the premises as his territory and was beating up anyone who dared enter without his permission. In cases like the former, there is i think not much generic one can do, since its not possible to regulate personal relationships. My parents could maybe seen it and try to work on it with me to improve my situation, but that's not at all clear to me.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 22:09:59 UTC | #597434

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 23 by Dr. monster

i got bullyed at school. i look back on it now as a sort of test that everyone must pass. i think it really comes down to lack of self-confidence and social skills. the kids that don't have these skills will get bullyed.

to prevent bullying you need to teach the kids self-confidence and social skills. this is not easy. it may be possible to teach all the bullied kids a martial-art like karate. to teach social skills you need some sort of life coach or material adapted from the pick up artists like David Deangelo.

good luck

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 22:36:43 UTC | #597447

SheilaC's Avatar Comment 24 by SheilaC

A friend who works in a primary school says she's got mostly good results from saying this sort of thing to the bullies: "You know, I used to think you were a nice person. But I saw what you just did to X and now I'm wondering. Are you a nice person or not?"

Of course that might only work with younger kids who haven't thought about it seriously yet. I'm sure some of the older ones (and a few of the younger ones) know exactly how much damage they're doing and glory in it.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 22:46:27 UTC | #597454

VitruviannMan's Avatar Comment 25 by VitruviannMan

Comment 23 by Dr. monster :

you need some sort of life coach or material adapted from the pick up artists like David Deangelo.

If a couple of bullies approach your target while you're sarging in the playground with your wing-kid, you gotta first neg the target, then demonstrate value by locking the smaller bully, and punch-closing the bigger bully while following the 3-second rule.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 22:49:53 UTC | #597457

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 26 by InYourFaceNewYorker

No kidding. I was bullied relentlessly and ignoring didn't work. Know what stopped the bullying? Standing up for myself. It was difficult and scary but it worked. After years of abuse, things got better because I stood up to the bullies. I looked them in the eye and told them to knock it off and didn't let my guard down.

Julie

Comment 20 by RightWingAtheist :

My lifelong criticism of popular child-raising methods is that adults regularly tell children to "ignore" harassment and assault which would qualify for lawsuits or criminal prosecution if the victim were an adult.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 00:30:40 UTC | #597489

Randy Ping's Avatar Comment 27 by Randy Ping

I was bullied until I fought back. It's amazing what going after somebody with a broken bottle end has on their attitude.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 01:28:10 UTC | #597499

Joolz's Avatar Comment 28 by Joolz

I was bullied all through junior and secondary schools (around 8yrs to 16yrs old for US readers). I chose my secondary school purely because my bullies wouldn't be there. I don't know of any real solution but I thought of a silly one while I read this thread - if someone can prove that another person is bullying them then the bully should have to wear at all times the hairstyle of the bullied choosing for six months. If during that six months others in the school decide that the hairstyle is now "cool" the bullied has the choice to change the hairstyle. If a wig is required, then it should be provided by the bully's parents, at their own cost. My original thought was that the bully should have their head shaved, but I realised I was coming from a female perspective so I changed it. I realise that this is completely ridiculous, but the idea of my own worst school bully with her head shaved made me smile, as did the idea of pigtails on some of the thugs I've seen in news reports.

I did stop the bullying for a while by standing up to one of the bullies, but I was only able to stand up to her because we were, to some extent, friends and she had gone too far. Because I had stood up to her, and she was one of the "in" people, she got the others to lay off me.

I'm now in my mid-40s but that school bullying still gets to me now, although I realised as I typed this that I have no recollection of the name of the bullies from when I was around 11 years old - they had a huge impact on my life at that time - but now I don't even remember their names.

I do, however, wish there was a solution for kids going through it now.

Joolz

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 02:06:01 UTC | #597510

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 29 by MilitantNonStampCollector

I was bullied by about half the class for a while in school, this went unnoticed by the useless teachers until I finally snapped like a cornered animal. I of course was the one punished and suspended. The bullies got off scot free. I would rather be tortured for a few hours and die a horrible painful death than go through that ordeal again.

The single worst piece of advice I've ever heard,(as Inyourfacenewyorker says) which I've grown to hate is "just ignore the bully", when I should have been told to fight back.

How about ditching this platitude for a start?

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 03:38:18 UTC | #597534

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 30 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Comment 29 by The patron saint of headaches :

I was bullied by about half the class for a while in school, this went unnoticed by the useless teachers until I finally snapped like a cornered animal. I of course was the one punished and suspended. The bullies got off scot free. I would rather be tortured for a few hours and die a horrible painful death than go through that ordeal again.

The single worst piece of advice I've ever heard,(as Inyourfacenewyorker says) which I've grown to hate is "just ignore the bully", when I should have been told to fight back.

How about ditching this platitude for a start?

That's because the people who dispense such advice have probably never been bullied. And of course you don't need to fight back physically. I used my words and didn't let my guard down. Besides, like lots of kids with Asperger's, I had the worst full-body coordination.

And yeah, of course you were the one suspended. It's almost cliche. How are teachers so oblivious?

Julie

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 04:12:27 UTC | #597541