Why is bullying so prevalent now? I believe that it is because our children are on uneven ground when it comes to their own feelings of worth. When kids are pampered and their egos are inflated they tend to feel that they are hollow and their self-worth is low if not non-existent. Sometimes these kids feel that their behavior is above the rules or authority. Other kids feel so little esteem that they are easily manipulated and bullied. In any case it’s these kids who question their own value that are in question.
How do we change this? First we need to be straight with kids. We need to make them responsible for their action or in-action and we need to guide them into making decisions rather than telling them what to do and never letting them develop the ability to think and process on their own. We need to instill in children the idea that it is never Ok to treat someone else poorly, or treat them in a way that we ourselves would not want to be treated or deserve to be treated.
I dated a girl a long time ago who was abused by her previous boyfriend. When we talked about it she would say things about how she was not always so nice either, and somehow she felt that, at times, she probably deserved it. “Sometimes people who are bullied believe that they deserve it,” says Dr. Sue Limber, PhD, MLS, professor of psychology and associate director of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University “Nobody deserves to be bullied, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that it stops.” This acceptance is the same frame of thought that an abused person in a relationship might have, like the woman I mentioned above. But love and friendship shouldn’t hurt. If it does, speak up. Be strong, no one deserves to be treated badly or bullied. Be strong enough to do something: call in an adult, report to your parents, call the police if the threat is physical. Know that there are many people out there who will help and last, and most importantly, remember; bullies act out of insecurity and weakness. There is no need to ever play on their field or lower yourself to their standards. Be strong, Be confident, and Be safe.