Buckwheat

On bullying in school

59 posts in this topic

On 5/22/2016 at 10:26 AM, polishgenius said:

It also depends a lot on the bullies- it's easy to paint them all as inhuman monsters, but I've certainly been in situations where a talking to - from a teacher very good at this- not only got some to stop doing it but I ended up having them on my side in other confronts.?

Yes.  This.

Certainly full time bullies exist, and should be dealt with,  but part of what makes this such a difficult problem to address is finding a definition and process for remediation that doesn't overly villainize otherwise good kids who make abd decisions, even if those decisions involve mean behavior.

There's a spectrum here, and I don't really think there's a one size fits all solution.  If you get to something like a zero tolerance policy, for example,  it's possible you're really doing more harm than good, IMO.

Edited by Swordfish

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1 hour ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I mean...to be frank im 22 and I am still "writing my own character" how on earth do you expect a terrified, angry, nervous, confused 13 year old to be mentally capable enough to handle that shit and not let it effect them? Im sorry but if you're physically weak, small, ugly, weird or unlikable in school nothing you do is going to stop bullies targeting you if they've started already...people talk about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and dealing with it when it comes to bullying but kids do NOT have the maturity or life experience to view the world in that way...a 14 year old is not going to have the same philosophy and outlook on life as me now just like im not going to have the same philosophy or outlook on life as a 55 year old because they have more life experience and maturity than I do...so why uphold a child to be as mentally strong as an adult...its so unfair ...

Can't the same be said about the bullies?

I know a couple of the worst bullies from my childhood have turned out to be completely reasonable adults.

 

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10 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I was bullied for 5 years straight for being ugly, 'weird' and welsh so...I don't really see what i could have done to stop it. I didn't always backdown either but then they just got a kick from getting a rise out of me. I  really don't think bullying is taken anywhere NEAR as seriously as it should. When you're kid you're still totally developing your personality and who you are as a person and when your anxious, frightened, confused and angry and upset that is having real genuine psychological damage on that child. I don't really feel like I have a victim  complex  or anything  but I do genuinely believe  being bullied  had a direct effect on my later mental health and depression. I dont hate the people now or blame them (i just dont care about them at all) but what they did did totally  mess with my head for a long long time

Yep.  I was bullied for twelve years for being southern and, after some years of emotional eating as a direct result of bullying, being overweight.  I basically have permanent psychological damage and am afraid of passing this on to my own child.

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13 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I was bullied for 5 years straight for being ugly, 'weird' and welsh so...I don't really see what i could have done to stop it. I didn't always backdown either but then they just got a kick from getting a rise out of me. I  really don't think bullying is taken anywhere NEAR as seriously as it should. When you're kid you're still totally developing your personality and who you are as a person and when your anxious, frightened, confused and angry and upset that is having real genuine psychological damage on that child. I don't really feel like I have a victim  complex  or anything  but I do genuinely believe  being bullied  had a direct effect on my later mental health and depression. I dont hate the people now or blame them (i just dont care about them at all) but what they did did totally  mess with my head for a long long time

Firstly, I don't know anything about you or your particular experience of having being bullied, so I couldn't possibly comment on what you could have done to quell the abuse you were subjected to. Besides that, I'm not inclined to tell other people how they should conduct themselves. I can honestly say, however, that I imagine it's horrible, and it leaves one with a feeling of powerlessness, frustration, and despair. The chances of any child 'deserving' it are infinitesimal. As I remarked above though, I believe honest and critical discussion is key - especially in the cases of psychological bullying. Whether this is a viable option for the majority of children, is another matter entirely; children are as wildly varied as any other group of people. 

Secondly, I wouldn't for a moment suggest that anybody on this board - or anybody who is or has been bullied - has a 'victim complex'. (Although some children I've known certainly have a proclivity for Munchausen-esque behaviours - but that's a different kettle of fish).There are fewer and less people who seek out bullying, and for the significant majority it's undeserved and unconscionable to any civilized adult. 

Expecting a child to know how to cope is ridiculous, yes, but providing an earful of advice, a handful of guidelines, and a few precautions against bullies and allowing a child to rely on this - that is absolutely inimical to their surpassing it.  

With respect to yourself being somewhat apathetic to those who had bullied you in the past, don't you ever have the urge to 'check-in' on them, talk to them, or simply garner some information about them now? I don't wish to pry, I'm just curious. 

6 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I disagree with this. People quite often suggest this as some kind of solution, but it has never worked for me, and I've never seen it work for the various others I know of or have seen bullied. More often than not it only leads to further bullying comments for being some kind of "oddity" or "freak". People say if you don't react the bullies will get bored. I don't think that is always true - quite often bullies just get a kick out of being mean, or in some cases have a personal grudge against their victims (one bully in particular that I recall had once been a close friend, and for reasons that to this day I haven't worked out, stopped being friends with me over the course of the summer holidays and became my "chief tormentor"). Not reacting doesn't stop them if this is the case. 

I also disagree with this and I know you said you don't want to sound flippant or anything, but this really does sound like victim blaming to me. People can only take so much. Being name called and belittled and shamed and humiliated every day for months, even years on end, is enough to break anyone down. It's all very well "writing your own character" and owning your life, but in the face of such constant belittlement I don't think that is feasible at all. And I also don't think it's a fact of life. If you experienced this sort of thing in the workplace, there are official channels to follow to resolve it. You aren't expected to deal with that kind of behaviour as an adult, so why should you have to deal with it as a child/teen, when you are still coming to terms with who you are, going through lots of changes, and are all around more vulnerable?

Regarding the "solution" I posited earlier... I'll amend it slightly and say that - yes - this is certainly an easier position to adopt when one has the luxury of being an adult. The majority of children can't simply elect to be resilient and courageous. A tremendous number of adults can't, either. 

I'll refine. As I replied to @Theda Baratheon, I think that children, like adults and people in general, differ dramatically in character. For the sake of this thread let's just oversimplify it into:

1. Bullies.

2. Bullied.

3. Immune. 

By 'immune' (a terrible choice of word, I know) I mean those children who, for any number of reasons, aren't tested by bullies and have no inclination to bully anybody else. It might be because they're good-looking, intelligent, kind, charismatic; it might be because they have a dozen older siblings, whatever. A lot of bullied children, and also bullies, don't tend to form significant relationships with these other kids who are removed, perhaps because they inhabit two utterly disparate social spheres - I have no idea. It's also true that, regrettably, a lot of children who reap the boons of an enjoyable school experience won't socialise with those whom they view as 'outliers', and can even fail to notice their fellow peers' plights altogether. This can last for years, and I'm sure it's hellish for young people to have to endure, but it's also a truth of our world. 

Tapping the same vein, with regard to your point about adult harassment and abuse being comparable to child/teen bullying, I'd have to disagree and say that there's a very worthwhile distinction to be made. Whilst you're absolutely right that, as adults, we can utilise various channels to end workplace misconduct (to use your example, which I *agree wholeheartedly is a reasonable system), I think your point about "why should you deal with it as a child/teen" shouldn't be mixed into the same cocktail as adult bullying. A child can't be expected to know how to cope with bullying as we might, but that's the crux of it: children need to learn to "write their own character", to coin a phrase. No amount of disciplinary action for bullies, or support for bullied children, is going to equip them with the yearning and means to enjoy other people and - most importantly - discover the type of person who they want to be. Adults have had that opportunity, or at the very least should know better. And that's not to say that adults are impervious to changing; plenty of bullies grow up to be ashamed of some of their childhood behaviours - because they figured it out later on.

Harking back to my original post, I can't dissuade myself from the belief that the most responsible thing to do is to allow children and teenagers to sift through the dirt and figure out how to navigate their own course as best they can - sure, they should always seek advice from others with superior experience - but the vital factor is that they experiment and solve things for themselves. If a child is oppressed, bullied, and tormented, and is also safeguarded by countless interventions, support frameworks, and general adult protection, then, most likely, a tradition of insecure and unhappy young people will emerge, again and again. Similarly, as I suggested above, it consistently seems to occur that the chastisement of a bully following a complaint or report is succeeded by the bullied child being punished further by the bully, perhaps more cruelly than before. The near-absolute absence of a child having to circumvent adversity and unhappiness through necessity and their own creative means is absurd to me. The majority of schools nowadays offer lacklustre remedies for bullying, opting instead to simply erect a barrier between the two children and hope that they both forget about the whole ordeal. It denies the development of some of the most meaningful relationships a person can hope to hold. 

Again, if I've come across as discourteous or tactless, that certainly hasn't been my intent. I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly have a surfeit of firsthand experience in this beyond my observing, but I applaud those who share their own experiences in this matter. Cheers.

Edited by Daecon Dayne

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It is possible to do multiple things at once.  You can strive to teach children coping and emotional management skills and also work to adequately address bullying.  That bullies can return harder and stronger after punishment isn't actually a good argument for the 'play it out in the dirt' method.  That the responses a school can make are inadequate is not a reason to ignore bullying and allow the 'play it out in the dirt' method.  These problems in addressing bullying are actually reasons to find better solutions. 

And no.  There is no "near-absolute absence of a child having to circumvent adversity and unhappiness through necessity and their own creative means."  You don't need to be bullied, beaten, neglected, starved, made homeless, experience extreme trauma or loss, taunted, or abused in any multitude of ways in order to learn how to navigate the difficult parts of life.  Even the implication that these things are necessary to become functional, well-rounded adults should be met with extreme and emphatic objection.   

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And no.  There is no "near-absolute absence of a child having to circumvent adversity and unhappiness through necessity and their own creative means."  You don't need to be bullied, beaten, neglected, starved, made homeless, experience extreme trauma or loss, taunted, or abused in any multitude of ways in order to learn how to navigate the difficult parts of life.  Even the implication that these things are necessary to become functional, well-rounded adults should be met with extreme and emphatic objection.   

Yeah, I mostly agree. Talking about "creative means' implies that not only are the victims being victimized, but now they lack creativity for not finding a way out of of it. Sometimes there are no solutions or you aren't in the right frame of mind to think of them.  I do think you can go overboard in correcting bullying, and minor instances are just that, minor. I've been bullied and the vast majority of times it was minor and was quickly gotten over. Definitely ongoing things need intervention. I know from personal experience.

The one time I had something ongoing was over a period of about 7 months, maybe 8. Some guy was tapping me on the back and stuff repeatedly. It was pretty maddening on it's own, but the worst part about is it made feel like others were looking at me, which is the last thing I wanted at the time. I wasn't physically afraid, it was more mental damage. Either the teacher didn't notice, or they did notice and chose not to intervene. Hard to say as he was kind of old. 

There's a code silence in these things it seems, much like how people in poor neighborhoods won't report things to the police. I'm not quite sure where it comes from. Partly this is why I remained silent. It just felt wrong to report things, no matter how hard it was. Partly it's because I'm a very quiet person naturally. And partly it was a kinda frozen type thing, where I thought of reporting it many times, but never quite got around to acting, and eventually it ended by virtue of the school year ending. The person tried to bully me at other later times, but they could never really do anything that bothered me. It was by virtue of them having me at a very vulnerable position sitting directly in front that they were able to torment me. Also all the starting eyes of the other students partially paralyzed me.

At one point I stood up and almost attacked. I got ahold of myself though and managed not to. But this led to the behavior continuing and increasing. Incredibly the teacher didn't even notice this. (Or noticed and didn't act)

Only one student tried to intervene out of all of them and only once. This girl asked him to stop and was ignored.

Overall, after hearing about the experiences of others, I feel pretty lucky. I was the type of person that was likely to get picked on, but I avoided a lot it, partly by luck and partly by design of trying not to be noticed. I think the way schools resemble prisons contributes to bullying and it's partly luck if you manage to avoid it. Both luck of personal situations and the type of school you are at.

I for example heard from a guy who went to another school in the region that the seniors would force the younger students to push pennies on the ground with their noses and other stuff, or get a severe beating. I never ran into anything remotely like that, and it was mostly luck. The seniors at my high school were actually very nice to us. Most bullying came from in our own ranks.

 

Edited by Martell Spy

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4 hours ago, Daecon Dayne said:

Firstly, I don't know anything about you or your particular experience of having being bullied, so I couldn't possibly comment on what you could have done to quell the abuse you were subjected to. Besides that, I'm not inclined to tell other people how they should conduct themselves. I can honestly say, however, that I imagine it's horrible, and it leaves one with a feeling of powerlessness, frustration, and despair. The chances of any child 'deserving' it are infinitesimal. As I remarked above though, I believe honest and critical discussion is key - especially in the cases of psychological bullying. Whether this is a viable option for the majority of children, is another matter entirely; children are as wildly varied as any other group of people. 

Secondly, I wouldn't for a moment suggest that anybody on this board - or anybody who is or has been bullied - has a 'victim complex'. (Although some children I've known certainly have a proclivity for Munchausen-esque behaviours - but that's a different kettle of fish).There are fewer and less people who seek out bullying, and for the significant majority it's undeserved and unconscionable to any civilized adult. 

Expecting a child to know how to cope is ridiculous, yes, but providing an earful of advice, a handful of guidelines, and a few precautions against bullies and allowing a child to rely on this - that is absolutely inimical to their surpassing it.  

With respect to yourself being somewhat apathetic to those who had bullied you in the past, don't you ever have the urge to 'check-in' on them, talk to them, or simply garner some information about them now? I don't wish to pry, I'm just curious. 

Regarding the "solution" I posited earlier... I'll amend it slightly and say that - yes - this is certainly an easier position to adopt when one has the luxury of being an adult. The majority of children can't simply elect to be resilient and courageous. A tremendous number of adults can't, either. 

I'll refine. As I replied to @Theda Baratheon, I think that children, like adults and people in general, differ dramatically in character. For the sake of this thread let's just oversimplify it into:

1. Bullies.

2. Bullied.

3. Immune. 

By 'immune' (a terrible choice of word, I know) I mean those children who, for any number of reasons, aren't tested by bullies and have no inclination to bully anybody else. It might be because they're good-looking, intelligent, kind, charismatic; it might be because they have a dozen older siblings, whatever. A lot of bullied children, and also bullies, don't tend to form significant relationships with these other kids who are removed, perhaps because they inhabit two utterly disparate social spheres - I have no idea. It's also true that, regrettably, a lot of children who reap the boons of an enjoyable school experience won't socialise with those whom they view as 'outliers', and can even fail to notice their fellow peers' plights altogether. This can last for years, and I'm sure it's hellish for young people to have to endure, but it's also a truth of our world. 

Tapping the same vein, with regard to your point about adult harassment and abuse being comparable to child/teen bullying, I'd have to disagree and say that there's a very worthwhile distinction to be made. Whilst you're absolutely right that, as adults, we can utilise various channels to end workplace misconduct (to use your example, which I *agree wholeheartedly is a reasonable system), I think your point about "why should you deal with it as a child/teen" shouldn't be mixed into the same cocktail as adult bullying. A child can't be expected to know how to cope with bullying as we might, but that's the crux of it: children need to learn to "write their own character", to coin a phrase. No amount of disciplinary action for bullies, or support for bullied children, is going to equip them with the yearning and means to enjoy other people and - most importantly - discover the type of person who they want to be. Adults have had that opportunity, or at the very least should know better. And that's not to say that adults are impervious to changing; plenty of bullies grow up to be ashamed of some of their childhood behaviours - because they figured it out later on.

Harking back to my original post, I can't dissuade myself from the belief that the most responsible thing to do is to allow children and teenagers to sift through the dirt and figure out how to navigate their own course as best they can - sure, they should always seek advice from others with superior experience - but the vital factor is that they experiment and solve things for themselves. If a child is oppressed, bullied, and tormented, and is also safeguarded by countless interventions, support frameworks, and general adult protection, then, most likely, a tradition of insecure and unhappy young people will emerge, again and again. Similarly, as I suggested above, it consistently seems to occur that the chastisement of a bully following a complaint or report is succeeded by the bullied child being punished further by the bully, perhaps more cruelly than before. The near-absolute absence of a child having to circumvent adversity and unhappiness through necessity and their own creative means is absurd to me. The majority of schools nowadays offer lacklustre remedies for bullying, opting instead to simply erect a barrier between the two children and hope that they both forget about the whole ordeal. It denies the development of some of the most meaningful relationships a person can hope to hold. 

Again, if I've come across as discourteous or tactless, that certainly hasn't been my intent. I'll be the first to admit that I don't exactly have a surfeit of firsthand experience in this beyond my observing, but I applaud those who share their own experiences in this matter. Cheers.

I have to say that it's really sounding a lot like you don't have any experience of being bullied yourself; you are "immune" to use you categories. I don't say this to exclude you from the conversation or disregard your opinion, but I think that lack of personal experience is just leaving you with a fatally flawed knowledge. Leaving the child to muddle through because they are "writing their own character" at the time is not really a good idea at all. Like Theda and Zoe, "writing my character" under the influence of bullying was a major contributing factor to a 10 year battle (on and off, but still ongoing) with anorexia and depression. That is something I really wish I could have avoided, and perhaps it could have been, if there was more intervention strategies to support bullied children. That the current strategies aren't always ideal does put mean children should just be left to deal with it. That actually sounds like a line from various shows where some conservative middle aged man from a private school refers to childhood bullying as "character building."

Let me leave off with this: if a child was being physically harmed at school, there would be much less controversy over intervention. I don't see why it should be any different for emotional abuse - at least physical wounds can be bandaged and heal in a reasonable time. The psychological damage though...that's long-term, possibly even for life. If it can be avoided, it should be.

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10 hours ago, Swordfish said:

Can't the same be said about the bullies?

I know a couple of the worst bullies from my childhood have turned out to be completely reasonable adults.

 

I dont know if  said anything about bullies being totally evil so??? Ive never been a bully so i cant talk from experience like i can with BEING bullied but i dont care about those people anymore and im sure lots of them are nice enough now and the ones that arent...well...not my problem anymore i guess

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To echo Dr. Pepper and others...I find the idea of leaving children to their own devices to figure things out as a form of 'character building' to be patently idiotic. I'm not calling anyone in this thread idiotic, not at ALL, but the idea is fundamentally flawed and comes from a genuine lack of understanding about bullying and bullies. 

I feel like I have to reiterate...any psychological damage inflicted on a child has REAL DANGER of shaping who they are and carrying on over to adulthood. We do NOT need to encourage generations to have poor/less than good mental health just in  totally misguided attempt to avoid 'mollycoddling' them. I don't believe in treating children like little fragile babies forever, they are human beings growing and developing  and evolving and as thus should be treated with some degree of care and protection. 

Life does suck at times, relationships fail, people lose their jobs, family members die etc...these things happen to everyone and through these experiences as adults we continue to shape who we are and deal with bad things, we  ENCOURAGE children to go through physical pain and psychological horror as some sort of ludicrous dress rehearsal for The Rest Of Life. 

Also to answer an above question; of course every now and again (especially  back in my home town after uni) i wonder if I will see anyone from school, what they look like now but for genuinely going out of my way to find information on them??? Nah thanks. Got better things to do than care about someone who was a dick when they were 14. 

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Let me add my voice to everybody saying that being bullied is not some form of "character building". It does not make you stronger - as seen from the stories shared here, it actually makes you "weaker" in some way (dealing with psychological problems etc.) - and does not learn you an important life lesson. My experience is fairly similar, although not as severe as some described: I was bullied on and off in primary school (up to 14 years of age), and it resulted "only" in a very low self-esteem and low sense of my own worth, and only in the last year or so, which is about 10 years later, I have started recognising that sometimes people are actually interested in getting to know me and be my friends and want to respect me and that they do not always see me as a shy little crybaby. I am still somewhat embarrassed when a certain topic that they bullied me about comes up and will hate the word they use to describe me for a lot longer probably.

So no, being bullied does not help you become a well-rounded character, who knows how to behave in tough situations and who has a sense of who they are and it does not give you self-confidence to deal with life. It diminishes your sense of self-worth, your confidence, leads to feelings of shame about yourself (your body, abilities, intelligence, how likeable and interesting you are), it can lead to people closing themselves off from communication, cause depression, bulimia, anorexia, self-harming behaviour, and with schoolchildren, it can impact school grades and lower their chances for a good education. I do not see how this is constructive for the building of character at all.

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I was fortunate to be pretty athletic and be in a lot of the "in groups" socially and never experienced any personal bullying in school. But I sure did occasionally witness it happening to other students and it disturbed me then and disturbs me now. Bullying is a terrible thing and from what i've ever gathered its a pattern often passed down. Parent was bullied, bullies own kids, kid goes to school and mimics what he has experienced at home and the pattern plays out.

The first line of responsibility lies in the family home, course some kids have woeful environments at home and then their problems are passed into the schools unfortunately. The teachers and school administrators have this hopeless task of tameing the wild child that hasnt had any proper discipline at home. Thats a thankless and difficult task for the teacher, but some effort is necessarry for two reasons-

1. The bully left unchecked keeps others from learning, it's probably necesarry to isolate them so they arent a disruption to the normal students.

2. Ignoring the bullying or treating it as "hands off" situation, is enormously problematic. A certain portion of those bullied seem to turn into the types that grab assault weapons and let loose on a movie theatre one day in the future.

 

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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12 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Yeah, I mostly agree. Talking about "creative means' implies that not only are the victims being victimized, but now they lack creativity for not finding a way out of of it. Sometimes there are no solutions or you aren't in the right frame of mind to think of them.  I do think you can go overboard in correcting bullying, and minor instances are just that, minor. I've been bullied and the vast majority of times it was minor and was quickly gotten over. Definitely ongoing things need intervention. I know from personal experience.

...

I think the way schools resemble prisons contributes to bullying and it's partly luck if you manage to avoid it. Both luck of personal situations and the type of school you are at.

 

I agree somewhat with the bolded, though it's more that I think the ways we now address things like bullying are simply inadequate.  I think a lot of policy tends to be reactive, and as such is often incredibly short-sighted.  I'm at the point where I hear something on the news that happened to a kid and I automatically cringe at what will be enacted in direct response to it.  Child gets killed in a bathroom fight, which is horrific and I feel for the parents, but I just know that there will be a hustle to do something so that there is the appearance of bathrooms being 'safer', but what it will really be is more prisonifying that school system, and probably others.  It will be a policy that makes people feel good, thinking they did something, but is really just an ineffective and short term solution.  

Gods, I could talk about my rage on this topic for hours, especially within the child welfare system.

10 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Let me leave off with this: if a child was being physically harmed at school, there would be much less controversy over intervention. I don't see why it should be any different for emotional abuse - at least physical wounds can be bandaged and heal in a reasonable time. The psychological damage though...that's long-term, possibly even for life. If it can be avoided, it should be.

Really good point.  Mental and emotional health/damage are so often overlooked or treated as inconsequential.  I feel like we're making good progress in the area, not fast progress, but at least good, as all the various mental health awareness campaigns are having greater impacts and I think we're seeing good ripple effects from it.  But it still stands that wounds that can be seen continue to be treated seriously and given more weight than those unseen wounds, which sucks.  

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Interesting thread. Especially for a prospective teacher like me. I am still not quite sure how I will be able to counter bullying when I will come across it (like always, it will highly depend on the situation and my relationship to the pupils I guess). I only know that I want to act against it wherever I go, because my own experiences are in fact part of the reason why I want to go back to school.

My own experience is interestingly rather similar to HelenaExMachina's. In my case the whole root of being bullied was my best friend from primary school days who for some reason from one day to the next decided that he needed to be a 'cold-blooded ghetto gangster' (which I found at first utterly ridiculous due to him having been a rather nerdy white kid with glasses) who wanted to boost his social status by bullying a lisping kid and others who were easy targets. My only fault was that I tried to reach out to him from what I thought was the moral high ground, trying to convince him that he didn't need to sink so low. Well, the result was that he likely perceived me as condescending and felt betrayed, so the friendship turned to blind hatred in no time and he made it his life-work to set the whole tiny village we lived in against me. At least until he got kicked out of school (for his terrible grades, not the bullying, mind you). And then seven years of constant emotional and physical assaults came to a screeching halt, with only the status as a social outsider remaining (of course only among those who knew me from school - the difference in behavior compared to my current peers is annoyingly obvious).

Due to my experiences I am especially critical of the schools I went to, since they were responsible for allowing things to escalate like they did. Since I saw how fast active hostilities stopped, I can quite confidently say that I could been saved at any point if this guy with the vendetta was just shot down (figuratively, of course). But mine and my mother's repeated attempts to get authorities to listen just worsened everything. The primary school was a playground for low-key-corruption. Parents could buy grades with favors and presents etc. and of course the parents of this guy and his followers were on great terms with the whole school staff, so they brushed everything off with 'it's just boys playing rough' even after I had to be brought to the doctor with a severe concussion after a dozen people had ganged up on me in the schoolyard. Middleschool wasn't better due to the school having a strict 'no bullying'-policy. Which means that the school administration prided itself in the 'fact' that there is no bullying in their school. And if they had intervened in my case, that would have meant to acknowledge that there is bullying and you can't have such a contradiction, can you? Of course with schools like these everything only worsened, because dragging attackers towards the authorities only showed them that I was the one looking stupid and they had to fear no repercussions whatsoever.

Well, now since I am going to work from within the system, I'll be alert for all the signs. Even though my greatest fear is to end up with a school administration which refuses to strike hard when it has to like the ones I went to. I am just so sick of fighting against the system, for once I just want to fight alongside it, taking pride in my school and my colleagues that they take the fate of their pupils seriously.

Edited by Toth

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12 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

Also to answer an above question; of course every now and again (especially  back in my home town after uni) i wonder if I will see anyone from school, what they look like now but for genuinely going out of my way to find information on them??? Nah thanks. Got better things to do than care about someone who was a dick when they were 14. 

 


I met a guy who was one of my bullies a few years ago when he came to fix my neighbour's boiler while I was babysitting. Our conversation was awkward as fuck,

I'm one of the luckier ones, my bullying was never as intense or pre-meditated as a lot of people. It was still horrible, but there was never one (or a few) people singling me out, more a broad enjoyment of causing me to lose my infamously short temper - but at the same time (1) that very temper - which unlike other people, who'd just freak out very broadly and be more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else, would often result in me punching the nearest target in the face and (2) no one person did it constantly (well, one, but he was such a dickbag that not even the other real dickbags would get on board with him, so he never got anything going), and I got on well enough with most of them the rest of the time, weirdly, so it's not as if I had no friends, even at the hardest times. It did leave me socially nervous for a long time, still going on in some senses, so I'm not saying I got off free, but I am aware it could have been much worse. This was, as I mentioned above, in large part as a result of a head of year who was really, really good at defusing the situation.

Our whole year-group's social scene was fucking weird, come to think of it. A lot of the things that normally get singled out - being smart and a nerd, being bad at sports- didn't get used as ammunition at all and in fact were more a mark of respect (my reading speed got so well-known at one stage that when new teachers gave us worksheets and then gave me funny looks when I finished them that I didn't actually have to explain - the class would pipe up with 'he's really finished miss'. 'well read it again'. 'he has miss'. People would time me reading pages of the Silmarillion, ffs.

The only subject that would be regarded as 'outsidery' that actually got picked up on was having no TV at home, for some reason.



Anyway, I'm with all the people passionately decrying the notion that kids should be left to sort it out between themselves. Fuck that shit. It's 'character strengthening' - ie horrible- enough when you have  good help. And anyway teaching kids that what adults do is bear everything by themselves with no help is a terrible lesson, that's not how being a grown-up works* so why should it be how we make kids work? 

*Well, it can be, but generally only if the person has, for example, learned some bad lessons from childhood. It shouldn't be.

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Luckily I had a good group of friends in school most of which im still super best friends with. I think I was just really ugly and a bit weird in school and people latched onto that. I was also very athletic and one of my year groups best runners which was SHIT because I was in the top P.E group with all the bullies who would constantly make fun of the way I looked until a group sport needed a good runner an all of a sudden it was hey be in my team! No! Be in MY team. 

As or tempers...I have an extremely long one and have only lost m temper less than a handful of times in my whole life but when I lose it I lose it....I remember one time people kept throwing basketballs t my head and after a while I completely snapped and went total apeshit and screamed out more profanities than a 11 year old should ever rightly know and the whole playground went silent....not that it did me much good tbh didn't deter anyone in later years from having a go...

Mine could have been worse and i dont want to feel sorry for myself too much but all I know is that as a child I was SUPER hyper and happy and creative and imaginative and as a teenager I was a self loathing cripplingly socially frightened wreck....

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22 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Let me add my voice to everybody saying that being bullied is not some form of "character building". It does not make you stronger - as seen from the stories shared here, it actually makes you "weaker" in some way (dealing with psychological problems etc.) - and does not learn you an important life lesson. My experience is fairly similar, although not as severe as some described: I was bullied on and off in primary school (up to 14 years of age), and it resulted "only" in a very low self-esteem and low sense of my own worth, and only in the last year or so, which is about 10 years later, I have started recognising that sometimes people are actually interested in getting to know me and be my friends and want to respect me and that they do not always see me as a shy little crybaby. I am still somewhat embarrassed when a certain topic that they bullied me about comes up and will hate the word they use to describe me for a lot longer probably.

Bullied from the ages of 5-ish through about 16-ish; and a few more before I realised it had stopped. As with most, the mental damage is far worse, and longer lasting than the physical (though for me it was descent into self-loathing, rather than self-harm, active or side-effect). Suicidal thoughts were pretty much a constant through childhood, with several attempts when basically too young to succeed.

Into adulthood it took until my early-20s to actually address the issues, taking 2 years out of Uni, and losing my fiancee to actually come to terms with myself, who had done what, and why etc etc.

I'm 40 now, and in a good place in my life; the last time I caught myself being triggered by issues I'd been bullied over was Wednesday morning.

Sticks and stones may break my bones; but words can scar for ever.

Edited by Which Tyler

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All goes to prove how ludicrous the character building sentiment is...just very misguided and coming from a place bereft of any genuine insight or understanding about this subject..

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20 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

 And anyway teaching kids that what adults do is bear everything by themselves with no help is a terrible lesson, that's not how being a grown-up works* so why should it be how we make kids work? 
 

This comment came to mind today when I saw a spelling bee thing going around.  Several news agencies described the 'comfort couch' spelling bee contestants can utilize to when they've lost or need to get through some tears or the adrenaline drop or whatever other reason they might need to take a break.  One twitter user responded mocking and shaming the idea that anyone could be upset after a loss and kids just need to toughen up, fuck comfort.  The internet is laughing that he spelled a word wrong, but the irony is that this dude went on to his own form of 'comfort couch' by deleting the offending tweet and then deleting his account.

Certainly some adults bear heavy burdens on their own and some might subscribe to the adult version of 'playing it out in the dirt'.  Generally, though, it's not like that.  We tend to seek aid for problems.  We might find doctors or therapists, family or friends, various types of community, or perhaps an internet book forum all for guidance, support, comfort and more. We have all sorts of 'comfort couches' to lean on throughout our adult life.  We also constantly seek solutions to correct and/or stop the behaviors of aggressors.  Depending on the context, that could be anything from addressing it with a reprimand or ejection from a group or via the criminal justice system or shamed off twitter.  When we find ourselves in the position of aggressor, if we're inclined, we might utilize any number of self-help/improvement methods to become better humans.

So yeah, when you think about how adult life really works, as Theda points out, it proves how fucking ludicrous the 'character building, play it out in the dirt' sentiment really is.  We expect kids to somehow be better than adults at dealing with the hard parts of life despite knowing that it can be life limiting rather than character building. 

Edited by Dr. Pepper

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On 5/22/2016 at 10:49 AM, Vastet said:

a'hem

"I was agreeing with you before, but ...what? Do girls bully differently?"

No. The way adults react to it is different. If a boy bullies a girl, almost every adult goes after the boy and supports the girl.
If a girl bullies a boy, almost every adult laughs at the boy and supports the girl.

That's because most people are stupid, unevolved neanderthals.  I'm not trying to be funny, it's a fact, IMO.  I certainly wouldn't do this.

On 5/26/2016 at 3:22 AM, Theda Baratheon said:

I dont know if  said anything about bullies being totally evil so??? Ive never been a bully so i cant talk from experience like i can with BEING bullied but i dont care about those people anymore and im sure lots of them are nice enough now and the ones that arent...well...not my problem anymore i guess

I was one of those kids who learned early on that being the loudest, most confident, most in-your-face personality kept bullies away very well. I wasn't bullied, I used my ability to intimidate to stick up for my geeky friends and to bully the bullies :P  I wish I could go back to being a fly on the wall and watch what I remember actually happening and see if my interpretation was correct.  It really may not have been, and I know I regret to this day intimidating one or two boys (no really, it was only one or two, I SPECIFICALLY remember them, both boys, one when I was about 9 years old and one in the 7th grade) because I wanted them to stop bothering me... and I feel like I wasn't considerate enough at the time.  I hate that I wasn't able to be nicer to those two kids. I was just annoyed at the time and I didn't do anything too horrible, I just know now that I was in no way prey back then and could have been nicer.

Nowdays I find I'm going to have to hold myself back from going full-out mother bear on anyone who messes with my kids. All I can do is be there for them, but advice on dealing with bullies as a girl is different than for a boy, I assume.  Not quite sure what to tell them.  What worked for me won't necessarily work for them.

Both my younger boys are now going to a charter school where bullying will get you suspended, so we don't have to worry about this type of thing much anymore.  It's nice, especially since my youngest is on the spectrum and I worry may become more of a target as he gets older and his social differences become more obvious.  But then, maybe not.  

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I think that such problem can't be ignored by parents, even in that cases when bullying isn't dangerous for the kid's physical health. I remember my own experience, yeah, my classmated didn't kick me or smth similiar to it but I had a strong emotional trauma after that :( I didn't know how to communicate with other people and I had that strong thought that I'm nothing... It was very hard for me to overcome all that experience and even now when I'm in fact an adult person I still don't like to be in the work/studying communities -_- They always remind me of school and the bad atmosphere there.
The only thing which was good for me in that case - changing my school into the better ones. I think it's the best solution of this problem.

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