Why bullying is never OK

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

As a parent you can’t be everywhere for your kids. At some point you have to trust that the world is going to be a kind enough place to your child, and that with a bit of the same luck you had, they will survive – better than that, they’ll go on to live their dreams.

But not every parent gets to see that happen. Their child in a minute of absolute and utter hopelessness, takes their own life and leaves what can only be imagined as despair, futility, overwhelming loss and regret behind in the hearts of the very people who’s job was to protect, nurture and sustain that young life.

Worldwide research has demonstrated the strong link between suicide and bullying. Statistics tell the story that being bullied is a risk factor in youth suicide.

But why do people bully? Why is it, that because a child (or even an adult) is different, their peers find it so hard accept the differences. It’s got to do with peer pressure, sometimes even ‘pack’ mentality and today there are more and more ways that kids are connected to the ‘pack’. Through Facebook, SMS and live chat. More and more of their time is spent communicating within their peer group.

Cyber bullying is unfortunately a growing phenomenon. As we give away our privacy to online crowds, the potential for taking ‘pot shots’ at someone is just too easy to do now.

To understand what your child faces each day, with the unrelenting pressure to conform to someone else’s norm, imagine yourself at your child’s age.

Remember the dominence of the popular kids, remember the fashions you were forced to follow, remember how many times you shut your mouth because you didn’t want to be the ‘nerd’ who knew the answer. How many times did you dumb yourself down, do something you weren’t comfortable with or utter stupid words you never believed in.

And even if you were really good, really well behaved, sometimes you just got bullied. Maybe because your dad or mum didn’t have what was considered a good job, or you wore glasses, walked funny, had a nerdy sister – whatever. It didn’t really matter because at this point the power was already with the bullies, because you had given up your identity to be like them.

It takes courage to face a bully, whether you’re a kid or you’re being harassed in the workplace which is, unfortunately, a common occurrence.

Bullies thrive on threats and gaining your secrecy through fear. Intimidation is very real, either physically or through mental stress. If self-esteem is low, confidence hardly visible and add to that family upheaval, grief, trauma, and the pressures of everyday living, it’s not hard to see why a young kid with few defences will get boxed into a place he or she thinks is inescapable.

So for those of us that care about preventing any type of bullying, what can we do? We can celebrate differences. We can encourage individuality and, if we are parents, nurture our children’s unique identity so that self-esteem and confidence are not a problem. We can do our best to make sure that our child becomes who they were meant to be, inspite of the world.

You can follow me on Twitter @MaryannWeston

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