Will There Always Be Bullies?

Will there always be BULLIES?

Here are a couple of thoughts:

a) It can be assumed from historical evidence that it is the nature of human beings that some behave in a way that bullies others. It appears that there have been bullies since biblical times, and they have made the news throughout history. It is probable that those past generations’ only bullies were not just the documented and famous ones, but that there were bullying incidents throughout day-to-day human interactions, as well. In other words, it is unlikely that every bully that existed became documented and notorious. There had to be non-famous, common everyday bullies as well.

b) Since bullying is in the “eye of the beholder” even if a ‘bully’ isn’t actively trying to be one… it doesn’t matter! As long as someone feels bullied… they ARE! Therefore, even if we eliminated all intentional bullying behavior, the possibility still exists that someone will be a ‘victim’ of bullying. (The glamorization of victim-hood is a whole other subject that contributes to my argument for why bullying is not going away)

Anti-bullying efforts to date seem to focus on a) above. There is agreement that there have always been bullies, but THIS generation will practice zero tolerance! We will educate about the harm caused, the self-esteem issues, etc. The consequences for bullying will be severe, there will be better teamwork training, and focus on safe-environments for learning, etc. All this energy is centered around stopping a bully from becoming a bully, and having victims speak up.

Has it worked?

Everyone can answer that question for themselves. For me, I can just tell you that bullying was going on and severely punished when I was in grade school. But for my kids, it has only escalated in severity and the tools at the disposal of the bullies to perpetrate their deeds. Learn more about some of our personal experience with the new age of bullying here.

After my family’s experience with such severe bullying and the school’s inability/inaction to keep my kid safe, I really spent many many sleepless nights analyzing the bullying epidemic. How could it be worse for my children than it was for me when there has been so much focus for decades on stopping this problem?

The Anti-Bullying Epiphany

The answer hit me like a ton of bricks and was literally taught to me by my youngest son. Listen to the story here, if you have not read about it after hitting the “here” link in paragraph above (or both). Turns out is was the coming together of b) above and watching my little guy wear a coat of ‘bully-teflon’

My youngest son just never bought into the role of victim. He always viewed the bully-er as the one with the problem, and just decided for that reason not to become a bully-ee. It takes two to complete a bullying transaction and he was not into it. If the bully was actually looking for a payoff for his meanness, he must have moved on. If no target is available to display bullied behavior, there is no feedback and therefore a true bully would proceed to an easier mark. If no bullying was ever intended, 2 people just move on with their lives and no harm done.

I wanted so badly to give a healthy dose of “what is that guy’s problem?” to my other son. For him, it was late because he was already labeled and targeted, but we still worked on it (and do to this day).

My goal became to pass this epiphany on to others in a way that can really stop some incidences of bullying. I came up with a practical tool that can be taught, and used by kids to keep from becoming a victim in the first place. I put this tool in a book I call 1, 2, 3… Happy! because it allows anyone who uses it to change their focus to something they enjoy and not give energy to the fact that someone is trying to pull them into a “bullying transaction”. Adults can use this tool too, but I wrote it as a children’s story focused around going to school. So many instances of unkindness and bullying occur in elementary school that that seemed the hotbed of activity to address first.

The lucky side-effect?

Empowered children, pursuing their passions and taking control of their thoughts and behaviors. Doesn’t that create self-esteem the organic way? So much better than handing out participation trophies!!

I give away a free copy of my book to anyone who promises that it will be read to/by at least 20 children. If you would like a copy, or would like to discuss with me The Anti-Bullying Campaign please email me at Joy@JoyGibbons.com

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