I admit, I can’t get bullying out of my head. I know, I’ve already written two posts about this subject, but it still gnaws at me. There’s plenty of bullying going around whether it be on the highway, standing on a long line, in the workplace, at school, etc. Even in simple conversations you can hear someone aggressively trying to convince the other party their way is the only way. All those examples and many more are unacceptable. I’m sure you can come up with a few examples of your own, and we all agree bullying is unacceptable.
I’m a grandmother of twin girls in third grade. I often pick them up from school and naturally they talk about their day and all the ins and outs of third grade. I have to admit, my heart goes out to them. Sometimes the stories are upbeat and about their besties, and other days it’s the opposite, upsetting friendship issues that can be complicated and involve hurt feelings (often in a very mean way). We’ve all experienced these kinds of issues over the years. Bullying by intimidation or bullying by causing jealousy amongst friends, leaves children, any age feeling hurt and feeling like an outsider.
As the mother of a child who had learning difficulties I am especially sensitive to the issue of bullying with regards to academics. When a student has difficulty in school, why is there still that “A” student that so easily throws out a comment like “You don’t have a brain,” or simply makes fun of the student who struggles in one way or another. When will these “A” students realize that kind of put down is a form of bullying? If these students are as bright as they think they are, why do they not realize that no one is entitled to bully.
When this happens to a child, and they receive advice like “ignore the bully” or “find an adult,” the damage has already been done. The moment the bully spurts out the very hurtful comment, it stays with them.
Having said all that, I do want to add a positive example whereby an adult and student step up and demonstrate commendable behavior. I think it’s very important to mention those children that stand by and witness the bullying. There are those that just stand by and there are those that step in and try to protect the victim or better yet, step in and denounce the bully. It’s not easy to step in but when a teacher gives you a thumbs up for your empathy to defend and your courage to denounce, doing the right thing is reinforced. Bullies, should be made accountable for their negative, hurtful behavior. Our besties, fellow classmates, teachers, parents, etc. should all take part in educating bullies so we can be rid of this epidemic.
So I ask you, will this bullying ever end? I’m guessing not in the near future. It will take serious new educational skills to teach our kids how to be more caring, understanding and sensitive to their fellow classmates. I believe this can be learned at home by family members who set an example of kindness and understanding. Teachers and counselors in school can also contribute to the subject of bullying in the classroom or during breaks. They must be aware of their students socially as well as academically in order to give a helping hand when bullying is in the forefront.
In many of the articles we are reading they often make a possible connection between bullying and the years of Covid-19. Could it be staying home on lockdown, working from home, schooling on zoom, isolating in so many situations with a mask on, may have augmented this bullying behavior? Just maybe, without intention children and adults alike felt entitled to behave as they pleased with no consideration of others.
Covid-19 definitely presented us all with major challenges and I’m thinking some of us may have transformed our frustration into bullying. Something to think about, and if true then something we need to change.