Archive | November 2016

Being Kind is More Beneficial Than Being a Bully

I believe that the reason bullying is so prevalent today is because people (children, teens AND adults) are under the misguided rationale that bullying is cool and shows confidence and power. It is still widely believed that “bullies rule”, “bullies are glamorous, popular, liked by everyone, get all the girls/boys, etcetera, etcetera. And yes, bullies do seem to have somewhat of a cult-like following.

However, what if I told that these beliefs are false? What if I told you that bullies are less successful at life than their victims or the bystanders who watch the torment. What if I told you that half of all bullies end up being arrested and/or serving time in jail by the time they reach the age of 25?

Being a bully doesn’t look so cool now, does it?

You see? Here’s the thing. Bullies are called bullies for a reason- they thrive on the intense fear of others. Bullies don’t have true friends, what they have are followers…groupies, who admire them. However, these “groupies” are only hanging with the bully because they don’t feel adequate themselves and are looking for someone to give them validation. Also, they are afraid of angering the bully!

The reality is that followers and others around the bully only pretend to like him/her because they fear becoming a victim themselves if the truth ever comes out about how they really feel. They don’t freely choose the bully as their friend. Followers feign friendship and alliance out of fear.

Wouldn’t you rather a person become your friend because they truly like you and actually WANT a friendship with you and not because they feel compelled to do so in order to feel safe? I know I would!

I would want a friendship that is out of free choice, not one that is forced. Because anytime you have to force someone to do anything, it is never genuine but FAKE! Real, tried and true friendship with another person is always…ALWAYS a choice on both sides! Real, authentic people have friends.

Bullies only have followers…wannabes…minions…drones…TOOLS!

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A Positive Message to My Fellow Anti-Bullying/Peer Abuse Advocates

My fellow advocates, like you, I too have noticed that the progress of the anti-bullying movement is slow. I hear other advocates ask such questions as, “When are people going to wake up and realize that bullying is a REAL issue?”, “When are people going to begin caring about this epidemic, which seems to be poisoning today’s learning environment’s for children?” or “When are school officials going to start taking care of these bullied children, who are hurting?”

I know how you all feel because I, myself have asked the same questions.

Yes. Progress is slow. Yes. Most people, especially school officials, could care less. However, I want you all to know that, although slow, progress is being made and the movement is growing. I can see that it’s growing. Gradually, more and more people are opening their eyes and realizing that bullying is an issue that needs to be dealt with and simply cannot be ignored.  Therefore, we are making headway. But understand that change won’t happen overnight.

No cause fought for in the history of this country was ever well received by the majority in it’s infancy. It will take time, persistence, hard work and determination. Remember that the same went for “The Women’s Suffrage Movement” during the late 19th century, “The Civil Rights Movement” during the 1960’s and other causes through the years. It took several years for these causes to build momentum and eventually bring about positive change, but it eventually came to fruition. The Anti-Bullying Movement will be no different.

Though it may look hopeless at times, to get to the top of the mountain, we will have to walk through several valleys first. But be assured that if we all work together and persist, even in the face of adversity and ignorance, we will see change. I am certain of it.

There will come a time when the proper laws will finally be passed and children of all ages, races, creeds, orientations, beliefs, religions and backgrounds will be able to learn in a safe and secure environment…free to be and express themselves without fear of ridicule or physical harm.

Until then, we must never get discouraged but continue to fight for safety and justice for bullied children and teens. If we continue on with faith and hard work, change will happen. I guarantee it. It has to because we won’t give up until it does!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, everyone! And enjoy your four-day weekend!

This entry was posted on November 22, 2016. 1 Comment

“But You’re My Mom/Dad! You’re Supposed to Love Me!”

You’re at the dinner table eating with your child. Lately, you’ve noticed that your son or daughter, who used to be happy, carefree and bubbly, has been going through some changes. Your once happy-go-lucky child is now withdrawn, sad and sullen. You ask questions only to be stonewalled in the beginning. Finally, your son/daughter confides in you. He/she is being bullied at school and feels worthless and stupid.

You sit down beside your child, place a loving arm around their shoulders and tell them that you love them and that they are awesome no matter what others at school may tell them. You explain that they have value and are worthy of being loved. You even point out their best qualities to them, only to find that your loving words provide little, if any consolation or assurance.

Your teen or tween looks at you as if you do not know what you’re talking about and says, “You only love me because you’re my mom/dad.” or “I’m your kid. You’re supposed to love me.”

This is exactly what young victims often think and say when well-meaning parents or grandparents begin attempting to convince them that they are, in fact, good people.

All too often, the parent is the last to know when their child is being bullied and by the time the parent or legal guardian does find out, the harassment has gone on for so long that the child’s self-esteem has already worn thin. This is why parents should never stop reminding their children/teenagers of their worth.

If your child is a victim of bullies at school, keep showing them love and affection. Never stop praising them because they need it now more than ever! Although children, especially teenagers may respond rather coldly and it may not look as if the loving words and gestures are having any effect right away. Your child does hear you and it just might be the only thing which keeps him/her from trying to harm themselves.

Know that for a few years, between the ages of about 10 to 18, life is about having friends, looking cool and being held in high regard by peers. Popularity is highly valued by those in this age group. Also, remember that bullying is a form of brainwashing. Bullies repetitiously remind victims that they are worthless and sadly, after enough time has gone by, the victim comes to believe it themselves.

Parents should be just as repetitious, if not more than the bullies when countering the messages that bullies bombard their children and teenagers with. It may take time before the child begins to see their own goodness but rest assured that eventually, the positive words and actions toward the child will pay off and he/she will finally begin to realize that they really are awesome people. Therefore, the words of bullies will no longer be so devastating and chances are that the bullied victim will regain confidence. Better yet, they just might cease to be a victim because of that regained confidence!

Have a wonderful weekend.

This entry was posted on November 19, 2016. 3 Comments

Being the Object of Peer Abusers/Bullies is Akin to Being Under a Microscope.

When a person is a target of bullies, everyone- and I mean EVERYONE is watching them. Classmates (bullies and bystanders) and sometimes, even teachers and staff constantly have that person under surveillance and it isn’t because they are watching out for them. No. They are all waiting for the victim to screw up.

Why? Here are the answers:

  1. Bullies are very skilled and convincing liars. Also, they are full of deceptive charm, all designed to impress bystanders and authority. This wins the bullies lots of influence. Over time, influential bullies have spread numerous rumors and lies about the target to others and people have a tendency to believe the worst, especially those in small towns and communities. As a result, the victim, who has done absolutely nothing wrong, is labeled “trouble”. In most cases, the rumors have circulated for so long that the target’s already undeserved negative reputation has become iron clad. Others actually want the lies to be true and refuse to believe otherwise, even if there is glaring evidence to the contrary. Once the victim’s reputation is iron clad, it’s almost impossible to change it. This is why people who are selected to be victims usually stay victims until they are finally able to escape the environment through transfer to another school or home school.
  2. People do not question the lies because they do not want to anger the bullies. Also, to question a rumor would mean having to dig for the truth and no one wants to put in that kind of effort.
  3. Bullies constantly stalk their victim online and offline. They search for information about the target, finding their physical address, phone number, email and social media profiles all for the purpose of inflicting future harassment. They may dig for information about the victim’s family, romantic partner (if they have one), friends and associates so that they can wreak havoc on his/her relationships later. Moreover, they may try to find out places the target may frequent (clubs, parks, where they go on the weekend, etc.) so they can accidently (on purpose) run into him/her and create opportunities for further harassment, or worse…commit a physical assault.

It is nothing less than petrifying, even paralyzing when it seems that everyone is clocking your every move because you don’t know what they will do next. I have been there and let me tell you! It was downright creepy!

If you are a victim of bullying, I understand how frustrating and heartbreaking this can be. I know all too well the intense fear of being hurt and this fear can be paralyzing! I also know how it feels to be falsely labeled. Know that you aren’t alone and that there are millions of others who suffer the same fate. You aren’t the first and sadly, you won’t be the last. You can overcome your bullies and you can move on to better things! I did! And I did not just survive, I triumphed and you can too! Don’t give up! You’re worth fighting for!

 

Reasons Why Teachers and School Officials Often Ignore a Bullied Student’s Cries for Help

All too often, schools ignore reports of bullying, leaving the victim with no one to turn to for help. When I was in school and a victim of vicious harassment, my reports went unheard by the staff at school and I felt helpless…I felt like a sitting duck!

From my own experience, I can tell you several reasons why schools ignore cases of bullying:

  1. They’re lazy. Conducting an investigation into a case of bullying is extra work. Most school officials do not want to make any extra effort in resolving a case of bullying. Often, they take the easy way out by either denying that there’s a problem, or blaming the victim. And when parents of victims get involved, the school staff may often label the parents as “the crazy mom/dad”, which is only a cop out.
  2. They’re afraid that the school’s reputation may be tarnished. Schools often hide cases of bullying to save face. They know good and well when a child is bullied, however, they may consider that child a threat and in worse cases, ostracize the poor victim and tell him/her to “keep your mouth shut”, in order to cover their own behinds.
  3. They either don’t like or may even hate the bullied victim. Believe me. I was hated by a lot of my teachers and other school staff and they were supposed to be adults, who were supposed to protect me. The thing is that when a person is bullied for a long period of time, so many rumors and lies have been spread about the victim that their once good name has been destroyed and yes! Teachers hear and believe the rumors too! They even join in on negative gossip about the victim. Understand that although, in reality, the victim may be one of the sweetest, most awesome people you may ever meet, the rumors and lies supersede the truth and keep the victim locked in a prison of scrutiny and suspicion. Because of this, the victim is unable to be their true, awesome self because of the stress of being marginalized. In the minds of those at school and the victim is “trouble”. Also, because of having been bullied for so long, the victim may react out of not only self-defense, but exhaustion as well. This poor, tired target has been harassed for so long that he really cannot help but to react and the bullies slyly use the reaction as further proof that the victim is either trouble or crazy. It is because of this that teachers and staff may think the worst of the poor, innocent student. They may also think that just because everyone seems to hate the target, there must be a reason that justifies it. In their minds, the target deserves what is happening to them. And when a teacher does not like a student, they may either refuse to help them or may secretly take pleasure in seeing the poor kid suffer. Teachers and school staff are just as capable as the classroom bullies of hating and hurting a student they deem undesirable.

This is why parents must stay proactive in protecting and advocating for their child even when it seems that the school isn’t listening. So go ahead and bug the crap out of them. Let them know that you will not go away until the bullying is resolved properly and go over their heads if possible.

Also, parents must assure their child that his/her reputation does not equal character, that the bullies are the people who have the issues and that there will come a time when he/she will escape their bullies and have true friends who love them for them. Constantly tell them that they are worthy of having friends and being loved. You might just keep your child’s self-esteem from completely tanking and even save his/her life!

 

Have a wonderful Friday evening!

This entry was posted on November 12, 2016. 2 Comments

When Bullying is Referred to as “Darwinism”, “Natural Selection” or “Survival of the Fittest”

Anytime I hear people refer to bullying as either of the three mentioned in the title of this article, I find it cringe-worthy at best! And the words that immediately flash through my mind is “cop out”, “trivialization” and “excuses”.

To call bullying one of these three things is to say that:

  1. Bullying is completely normal and natural.
  2. Victims of bullying are weak and/or undesirable and must be eliminated from the human race.
  3. Bullying is required for survival of the human race.

Allow me to rebut these three (conscious or unconscious) beliefs:

  1. Bullying is anything but normal or natural. It is brutal, malicious, hurtful and cowardly.
  2. Victims of bullying are NOT weak, nor are they undesirable. They may only think differently than most. Victims are often exceptional people with brilliant minds. Many celebrities, CEO’s, inventors, writers, scientists, doctors and professors were bullied as children and teens. If these people had not survived bullying, the world may never have seen may awesome inventions and breakthroughs, such as the electric light bulb, telephone, or the first organ transplant. Where would we be without these people?
  3. Bullying is NOT required for survival of the human race but can actually destroy it. An example of this would be the Nazi’s bullying of Jews during World War II and slaughtering of six million during the holocaust. Now. Do you still think that bullying is necessary for survival of our species?

Bullying is NEVER okay and if you are a victim, I want to assure you that it does not mean that you are defective in any way. It only means that you are an individual, who is brave enough to think outside the box and that you refuse to be a follower. Those are characteristics that you should be proud of because you have a chance to go far and change society.

Don’t give up! Give yourself a chance! You never know, in the future, YOU may be the person who brings positive change to the world and your bullies will more than likely end up living less than desirable lives. Suicide is not the answer. Don’t you want to live long enough to see your own potential? I want you to.

Have a wonderful day!