Gul Re'jal wrote:
Those who call little Susie names should be taught that they shouldn't do that.
Besides, sonak, I'm not sure you're aware that bullying can be really tormenting. I don't think we're talking here about occasional calling names. We're talking here about regular, every day or nearly every day, verbal abuse that can last for years. If you think that's not a problem or that it's "natural" then I don't have any questions.
And if it the way it is, it's about time something should be done with it!
Well as I wrote, it's hard to look at it in the abstract. Of course daily verbal abuse can be traumatic. And again, "natural" doesn't mean I'm defending it, just pointing out that it will happen. I'm not sure that those who bully do so because they haven't been taught that they shouldn't do that.
Children, especially adolescents, are very interested in showing off for peers, hiding their insecurities, or just displaying social dominance. I don't think they're under the illusion that when they're verbally harassing the student that's not fitting in, that they're not doing something wrong. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't think that mean behavior is always the result of ignorance.
As for the way the victim responds to it, my approach isn't an either/or. As I've written, if it's near a teacher, bullying should be stopped. But, and I think this is important, victims of bullying should also be given the psychological tools to deal with it while maintaining self-esteem. You can't just say "well, we should put a stop to bullying, and we will, that's that." You can't monitor or control all social interactions where kids are on their own nor should you want to. You have to include strategies that aren't just "have an adult put a stop to it." Teaching kids not to let it get to them is one part of that.
Yes but we can choose not to engage in a type behaviour, and overide our natural instict if you want to put it that way. As you say we tend to be taught what is right and wrong, and bullying is wrong.
And yes you can say we should put a stop to bullying and we will. Many times victims of bullying suffer in silence, and if they do work up the courage to report in the past they were ignored.
As for teaching victims not letting it get to them, it's not quite as easy as that.
Well, one positive step about bullying is that there's a lot more awareness of it and activism against it than there has been before. And when I write "not let it get to them" it's just shorthand for an obviously more involved series of psychological steps. Obviously, we DO eventually learn to cope with things like insults or verbal harassment or we'd be incapable of dealing with society, so it's obviously a learned skill.
I guess we'll just disagree on the likelihood of ending bullying. Unless you're willing to try to monitor or control behavior to an unhealthy extent, then there will be children and teenagers, who when adults aren't around, will bully those around them for the same reasons why a lot of people do things that aren't necessarily nice. I've had experiences at school where right after a teacher or counselor deliberately took time to talk about bullying during a class period, I witnessed kids bullying other kids.
Taking it seriously and punishing those who are bullying is important, but you can't "educate" kids out of acting like kids.