Break The Bully

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by rhubarbodendron, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    it's hard to argue about instances of verbal bullying in the abstract, but usually in cases where bullying has led to suicides, there's a lot more going on there, both in terms of the bullying behavior, or psychologically, with the victim. And to clarify: if a student is getting verbally abused by a classmate and a teacher is there, of course it's the teacher's responsibility to put a stop to it, or if it's happening somewhere else in the school.

    But I don't really see how someone can argue that verbally teasing/making fun of others is not a natural part of kids being kids. I was the victim of it, and I participated in it. I'm sure many here can say the same, as can most people from the beginnings of organized schooling. So if it's a common behavior that almost all kids do, then how is it anything other than kids being kids?

    I'd rather teach a kid to either not let it get to him/her, or to stand up for themselves rather than teach them that they should expect that their peers will always be nice to them. That's a pretty unrealistic and unhealthy expectation.

    (this does NOT apply if the child has a behavioral or learning disability obviously, since they likely won't have the skills to cope with the teasing or respond to it in an appropriate way.)
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    So if I child suffers years of being verbally bullied day in day out, that's just kids being kids?

    I think not, being verbally bullied should be treated in the same manner as physical bullying. With a zero tolerance approach.

    Bullies tend NEVER to be nice to their victim. And why should the victim learn not to let it get to them? They are after all the victim.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not blaming the victim here, I'm saying that bullying is a natural childhood behavior. Heck, it's a natural Human behavior, as it certainly doesn't end with school, just look into "workplace bullying." Social animals in the wild do it too. I'm not suggesting that it's GOOD just because it's a natural behavior, but I've seen a lot of stuff on bullying that argues that bullying is somehow not a normal part of kids interacting, when that's pretty clearly preposterous.

    And again, if bullying is occurring where a teacher can observe it, the teacher should put a stop to it. As for why a victim should learn not to let it get to them? I don't understand the question. Are you suggesting that when little Susie is told that she's fat and stupid that she SHOULD let it get to her?


    To me, it's just a matter of teaching kids to deal with the inevitable scenario of encountering kids who will be mean to them. Sure, hopefully they won't have to put up with verbal bullying, but that's not a realistic possibility without radically trying to control kids' behavior. When adults are away, kids will bully. That's just the way it is.
     
  4. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

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    instead of letting the victims get used to dealing with it, how about we punish the bullies til they learn not to do it? just because its natural doesnt mean its right. easier said than done i know.
     
  5. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    ^Exactly.

    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!
     
  6. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. Kestra

    Kestra Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't think there is any reason that you can't work on both sides of it. People who bully should be taught that that's wrong and has consequences. Victims of bullying should be provided with support and the tools to help cope with the bullying.

    Or on a broader level, everyone should be instructed about both sides of it. It's wrong, but if it happens, here are some things you can do or people that can support you.
     
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One of the most important psychological is to know that there are rules and that they WILL be enforced--and on the correct person, not the victim. Otherwise, all talk about fixing the problem is empty. Self-esteem is important, too, but if a lot of talk about how bullying is wrong isn't backed with action, the only message taken away will be that those in power (adults, bosses, etc.) are hypocrites whose words count for nothing.
     
  9. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly, Kes. Sounds like a good compromise. :) Unfortunately I don't think society will ever get rid of bullying.

    As for teasing, the way I see it, there are two types of teasing. There's the playful type that doesn't do any harm, but then there's the type with malicious intent. If a person gets enough of the second kind, and they feel they have enough, they will in fact feel bullied, especially if the one doing the teasing keeps pushing on, which would then cross the threshold into bullying. Sometimes this is due to the bully not knowing their limits, and they cross the line. I've delt with it before, where the one doing the teasing didn't understand why his teasing touched a nerve. My answer to that is that you never know what's going on inside a person's head or their history, and to tease like this with someone you don't know is often a risk. Unfortunately for them, they had crossed the threshold.
     
  10. Kestra

    Kestra Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I think that one of the things being put forth upthread was that there will always be malicious people out there and there won't always be an authority figure to handle it for you so you need to learn to deal with it. Because that's life. I understand where that point comes from but I also understand why that sounds harsh.

    Bullying certainly doesn't end with school, so yes, coping skills need to be learned. On the other hand, I don't expect kids or teenagers to have the same skills as adults in that area. You don't have the same self-confidence or reasoning skills so it doesn't make sense to say that's life, learn to deal with it. But I do agree that there won't always be someone to enforce a rule that will stop the bullying, so it's a good idea to learn a multitude of ways to deal with bullies, or mean people in general.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can sympathise with that - very much so. Have you had much luck 'reprogramming' those ineffective thinking patterns?
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    It's not easy to overcome those thinking patterns, sure you might be able to overcome them occasionally and it can be these moments which really help. If it turns out positively your esteem/confidence etc.. takes a massive boost, if however it turns out negatively in your mind it just reinforces your thinking making it even harder next time around.
     
  14. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing worthwhile is easy. :) I believe that education grows out of the right guidance and persistent effort.

    It's the 'figuring out how to do it' that's got me stumped at the moment.
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Well, that's an ongoing process. My mind latches onto patterns very easily, so training it away from these automatic responses is quite a struggle. Still, I'm making progress, especially since I was introduced to cognitive behavioural therapy. And I'm hoping that I can wean my mind off of the negative automatic thoughts and onto more helpful ones by making use of that same tendency to fall into patterns. One thing I've tried is visualizng the negative thoughts as physical structures, and when they spring up and assault my mind I "dissolve" them with a wave of positive thoughts. Sort of like aggressive swarming nanites that are also smileys. ;) It mght sound odd, but it often works, especially if you treat it as a humerous game.

    It's worth noting, I suppose, that I'm only 22. Other members of the board have already suggested that I've made quite a breakthrough by challenging my negative thinking patterns so early, but I wouldn't expect to have fully succeeded after such a short time. I imagine patience plays into it too - don't be put off if at first any improvement seems to be slower than you'd like. :)
     
  16. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well you have got a decent head start - I didn't start asking questions until well into my 20s.

    That sounds like a logical approach. Part of the problem is that the mind switches into autopilot when it's presented with a 'threatening' situation. I find that sometimes just being aware of what it's doing, is enough to bring me back to conscious control.

    Knowing what the correct response is - what I'm replacing the defensive behaviour with - that's the tricky part. If you don't mind my asking, what is the correct response? Say I've just had a crack at you for watching star trek and being a nerd. What do you do?

    Or am I completely misreading this in that the appropriate response emerges from a positive mind without conscious interference?
     
  17. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    That's a tricky one, because it's somewhere in between. The automatic thought (and so the feelings and even the physiological responses that it provokes) will shoot through me, and in a sense I have to challenge it without latching onto it. I have to just "let it go", while making sure to note it and remind myself of its invalidity - maybe then substitute a more useful or positive thought. If it won't go of its own accord and looks too powerful to just leave alone, I can attack it and break it down, though still taking care not to latch onto it and give it attention, because that will just strengthen it. The balance is a tough one - I can't let the thoughts go unchallenged, but at the same time the overall goal is to minimize the thoughts' overall disruptive effect, so making too big a deal of them would be counterproductive. After all, if I'm constantly tense and "ready" for them as though at any moment I might need to jump into a fight for my thoughts, then my mind will be just as unsteady as if I weren't challenging my thinking at all. :)

    I'm sorry if I'm not being much help here! I find that conscious interference is very useful (even necessary), but at the same time I can't let myself be too conscious of my own conscious intervention, if that makes sense? I have to be careful, because I have a tendency to over-analyse and monitor my own thinking, and that can lead to me feeling trapped by my own self-awareness, my own mind closing in around me. I don't want to become too aware of my own mind's workings because otherwise they become an additional source of stress. It's like Russian Dolls; layers of awareness responding to the negative thoughts and feelings provoked by each prior round of awareness regarding my own misery. I often feel like I need to throw my mind off the trail, dart around here, distract myself there, churn it up a bit to avoid latching onto awareness of myself and trapping myself in a vice.

    If that made any sense at all, let me know. :lol: The overall, goal, of course, is to become comfortable in your own mind, so you can just sit back and be when your mind's tired and throw yourself into anything interesting when it's engaged.
     
  18. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Commodore Commodore

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    That's very familiar. I used to get beaten heavily by my parents and from earliest childhood on learned that you can't defend yourself against violence (like a bullying victim becomes convinced that he/she has no defense against bullies). After almost 50 years I still have difficulties when someone shots at me or attacks me. Funnily enough, I am a pretty good fighter when it comes to defending others. The Janitor got attacked by a couple of drunks last Tuesday and I rushed down to help him. To my own surprise I was absolutely calm, cool and collected, able to think logically (and to overwhelm the attackers and keep them pinned down till the police came) and not a bit afraid at all.
    The next step will be to try and do the same when I get attacked. I am thinking of asking a few colleagues to do some training with me during lunch break the next weeks.

    oops, sorry, that was a bit long and off-topic. My point is: permanent violence - physical or verbal - creates a kind of conditioning and the first and most important step is to recognize it as such. Then you can work on gradually overcoming it. It takes some time but it is manageable.

    (edit: in case you wondered how the story ends: I talked the matter out with my parents for almost a decade. It took that long because they weren't ready/mature yet to talk about their own problems. Now we're at rather good tearms. My dad even said he admires how I always manage to solve my probs alone. LOL a classical case of "practize makes perfect" - I never dared to ask him for help when I was younger. Now we're rather good buddies, though :) )
     
  20. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Absolutely, Kes. Like you said, we all have to learn to deal with it. That was mainly an example of how sometimes those doing the bullying and teasing don't understand the effect they have on those victims. And how the line between teasing and bullying can often be blurred. Personally I'd never tease anyone like that as I know the effect it's had on me.
     

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