Perspectives on Bullying: Part I: The Experience Factor
A few days ago I was talking to a real estate friend of mine.
I told her about this blog and for what purpose it was intended.
She asked me to write about bullying.
I know of few other topics which touch so many susceptible young people, often with devastating results.
Besides being an educator and fairly skilled observer, what do I know about bullying?
Until age 8 a few friends and I ran our neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.
We were welcome in and around most homes and bothered no one.
Life was wonderful until our family moved to Newfane, New York, a small rural New York farming community.
There I was to run into a group of older thugs who were bent upon making this “new kid’s” life miserable.
My response was to redefine myself by becoming more defensively aggressive.
I would respond in kind to any threat I received regardless of the numbers.
Also, I trained myself by joining the football and wrestling teams.
My intent was to maintain my relatively gentle outward appearance while showing these thugs, and any others who might follow, that beyond any doubt a debt would be paid if they attacked.
Since that time, after a few incidents, I experienced few problems.
There was an additional debt I had to pay for this self-toughening.
As a result, I had developed a duality in personal response mechanisms.
One side was a highly creative and gentle man who could also be a sometimes angry adult who found himself willing to face threats and help others but often being predisposed to displays of anger, good and bad in the same package.
This dichotomy has resulted in some awkward moments.
Although with maturity the anger flashes have mostly given way to understanding.
Maturity, education, and experience have overcome past experiences and helped in gaining an understanding of “bullying”.
I believe that, although it would be impossible to stop all bullying, both bullies and bullied can better understand it and face the issue with much less personal trauma.
If you are bullying, or being bullied, you are not alone.
Bullying has been going on throughout history, as long as children have scrapped in a school yard.
I believe that bullying is a pathological outgrowth of an incomplete negotiation learning process.
As children grow, they develop negotiation techniques by watching others, good parenting, and good education.
I am sorry to say that today good parenting and a solid education are difficult to find and are becoming more limited each day.
Many of a young person’s observations are typically of negative models.
In essence, we have not taught our “nice” kids adequate coping techniques nor our ”bullying” kids understanding and restraint.