Bullying, Then and Now

There were a bunch of things that I found interesting pertaining to the bullying articles. Many of the things I was reading about made me think about what they were such a huge deal, and I think a large reason as to why that is, is because I grew up at such a small school.

For example, the PDF information on what parents should do to help bullying, or how they can tell if their child has been bullied really struck me. Shouldn’t parents be aware if their child is being bullied? How could they not tell? The bullet points that described how to tell if your child has been bullied really confused me as well. Many of the ‘suggestions’ were open-ended: trouble sleeping, no appetite, mood swings, no attention paid to schoolwork, to name a few. These could mean anything from ADHD to smelling bad. On the other hand, if your child is constantly missing money, or coming home beat up every day, that should give you a red flag that’s brighter than one for sleep deprivation.

On the other hand, I loved what the website on how to prevent bullying said, because it seemed so real. Bullying isn’t an epidemic, was quite possibly the best thing I’ve read. It’s not like bullying rates have increased or decreased in the past couple years, so why does it seem like it’s become more and more of an issue? To go with that, the website also addressed the fact that most bullies were also the victim at one point, and that the support they got (or lack of) was the sole reason as to why they became bullies.

One thing that I always heard when growing up was that I needed to “suck it up.” That, bullying was something that happened to everyone, and you just had to deal with it. You had to man up, fight back. And for the most part, it was successful to me. Now, was I a bully in school? Probably. I most definitely made fun of kids that I didn’t like, and I hate myself for it. Realistically, most bullying starts at home, with encouragement. Many children (boys, as every website will tell you) are told at home that they need to stand up for themselves, that they shouldn’t take anything from anyone. If someone says that your shoes are ugly, tell them their face is ugly. If my dad told me that when I was younger, of course I was going to do it. No boy wants to let his dad down.

We have, however, entered a new age of bullying which occurs online. Something our parents, and our parents’ parents never had to deal with before. Cyberbullying can attack children even after school, which is a bigger problem than dealing with it when it faces you. As the PDF explains, there are so many ways that kids can get attacked verbally that they feel cornered. One of their solutions is just to simply not respond. But how can you not respond? Children are no longer bullied in school, and there’s really no set solution to it.