Bully-Proofing Help

Needing Help

Recently we have all heard about stories where a young person, both male and female, have literally been bullied to death. Sadly, enough people do not have the wisdom and expertise to offer the Bully-proofing help that so many kids desperately need. Losing even one life to bullying has to be absolutely heartbreaking. 

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Finally, some answers.

Unfortunately, the bullying that I had to endure each and every day seemed like it would never stop. I endured serious bullying throughout my teen years and even in my early forties all the way up until my 60’s. Even though my doctor discovered I had  the Tourettes Trifecta, ( Tourettes Syndrome OCD & ADHD ) after I had turned 43, the bullying did not stop because I did not know how to put a stop to it.   

A Bully Magnet

The bullies seemed to hone in on me constantly. It made me feel like a target for anyone who wanted to make himself or even herself feel like a bigger person. As a 4th grader a female classmate beat me up because I refused to hit her back. She must have lived an awfully difficult life if she willingly picked a fight with a boy. She really needed some bully-proofing help.  

Some help at last.

At the time, I did not realize that I had the power within myself to put a stop to it. But my self-confidence was so poor that I did not follow it up with explosions of temper. If someone tried to tear me down verbally, I would just turn  around and walk away from them without even responding to their insults. 

Getting Easier

Not easy at first, it did get easier over time. I must have gotten my message across because most of them started leaving me alone. When someone just looks right through you, it normally sends a strong message. I would not respond to anything they said or did. I just kept reminding myself of the old saying, “You burn me once, shame on you. You burn me twice, shame on me.” 

I could have used some Bully-proofing help.

Some would get the message quicker than others and leave me alone. Eventually they all learned that I would NOT allow them to get under my skin. This method works in a face to face confrontation, but I see no reason why it won’t work over the internet too. As hard as it might be to do, you have to teach yourself to ignore any email or post that you see from someone who  tries to bully you or who has tried to bully you in the past. They cannot bully you if you don’t know what they say. In this day and age of social media, it is so much easier for anyone to be a bully. Cyberbulling can be almost as deadly as using a gun. You do not have to be some overgrown muscle-bound brute; you can be a 90 pound eighth grade girl who has taken it upon herself to ostracize the new girl in school. She may not even know her, but she willingly takes on the role of enforcer because she thinks it will make her more popular. 

Not a new idea.

Bullying is not a new idea in the animal world. But it seems like humans derive a perverse sense of enjoyment from it. Maybe I just don’t understand, but I fail to see the enjoyment in pushing someone to the point where they are ready and willing to take their own life just to make the pain stop. Unfortunately I understand this type of pain very well. Maybe that’s why it absolutely angers me to see a child bullying another child. 

Sharing the Blame

One last point. You parents who take this “Boys will be boys” attitude share just as much guilt in promoting this type of behavior as the children themselves. If you turn a blind eye to it or take the attitude that as long as it is not my child, then I cannot do anything about it. WRONG!!!!! You can do something about it. Just remember, the next child that gets bullied just might be your own. Like the old adage says, “There is always someone bigger and tougher just around the next corner.” Far too many so-called parents do not take an active role in their child’s upbringing. They just sit back and let the kids raise themselves.  

A Bully In Training

Last year I witnessed first hand a father teaching his son how to be a bully. I am sure that he did not intend to do this. But most of us have heard the old saying about, “The road to hell was paved with good intentions.” The family that I talk about in this article is in seriously needs some bully-proofing help. They need to understand what is and is not appropriate behavior from the adult. 

By now a large percentage of us have heard that a child does not innately know how to bully another person. It is not a right of passage either. A child learns this behavior. It could be from mom, or dad, or sister, or brother, or aunt, or an uncle. But the child has seen this behavior somewhere.
Last year I pulled into a local Chevron gas station. As I stood there beside my truck letting the pump run, another car pulled into the stall next to me. At first nothing seemed unusual about the situation. So I turned back around with my back to the car. I heard the driver get out and walk around to the rear of the car to pump the gas. All of a sudden I heard him scream at the top of his lungs in a very menacing tone. “Get back in the car”. He was not merely talking loudly or even just shouting. He screamed so loud that people completely across the street heard him and turned to look.
Most people would not willingly confront this man. He was about 6’2’ and over two hundred pounds and seemed to have no hesitation in becoming violent. The tattoos up and down both arms just added to the image of a real bad-ass. But about the third time he screamed, “I said get back in the G. D. car” I realized who it was that he was screaming at. It appeared to be his son who could not have been more than about ten years old. The young boy had walked away from the car It looked like he was trying to get away from this man. When the man stopped pumping gas and started around the car toward the boy, the boy turned around and started back toward the car. As the man approached the boy he raised his right hand indicating that he was going to hit the boy. I do not know if he ever did because by this time they were on the other side of the car and out of my line of sight. What happened next shocked me even more. I clearly heard the boy say “F. U. rather loudly to the man. After he slammed the car door he walked back around to the rear of the car and finished pumping the gas then he got back into the car and left in one hell of a hurry. Dysfunctional clearly defines this family. I was so surprised that I failed to get the license plate number on the car so I could turn it into the Plano Police Dept. The incident left me completely speechless for just long enough for the car to get out of sight. This incident made me realize just how much this family needs some bully-proofing help.
I can only imagine the abuse that the boy and his mother probably have to endure at home behind closed doors. But even worse is what that young boy is learning about how to deal with people who disagree with him or do not do what he tells them to do. That is downright frightening. Particularly when he gets older and physically larger. It reminds me of the video posted on Facebook a couple of days ago of the mother of the 14 year old girl in Florida who has been arrested for bullying another twelve year old girl who eventually committed suicide last year. In case you have not seen it yet, the mother of the 14 year old female bully was video taped while beating, punching, kicking and cussing at a nine year old boy. Like the sheriff said, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” I couldn’t agree more. That little boy that I saw is headed in exactly the same direction. People, if you see something like this, please do not just ignore it. Take some kind of action like calling the police. Trying to personally get involved could be very dangerous. But, please do not just ignore it.

Why do Children Bully?

A number of reasons may lead a child to become a bully. A child will sometimes turn to bullying in an attempt to gain the attention that he/she does not get at home. The lack of attention could be from drug abuse or violence or even divorce.

Even Older siblings

If they have an older brother or sister it might be because they feel insecure. This could be a way for them to feel powerful. They might be looking for a way for them to feel like they have some control over their own lives.

An adult or a coach or a teacher or even a parent might be the perpetrator.

My father particularly showed violence towards me when he would drink which happened almost every day. Sometimes he would have rage attacks which can be a characteristic of Tourettes. About 20% of people with Tourettes syndrome suffer from them. We realized that he had Tourettes after my own diagnosis with it.

A Learned Behavior

Bullying is a learned behavior, It’s not just “Boys being Boys.” It can lead to an extremely destructive behavior to the child being bullied as well as to the bully themselves. The bully learned the behavior by watching someone close to him. They might have even learned it from an older child that they admire.

Pick his own friends

True, you would not want your child to admire this type of child. But here you teach them to pick their own friends. Letting a friend pick you just asks for trouble. A true friend will not act like a bully to your child or anyone else. Bullies can have a multitude of reasons for why they pick on other students. They may perceive someone to be as gay or lesbian. Very rarely did a day go by that someone did not make fun of me because of my tics. They may just see the person as weak physically. The bully might have just been born more aggressive than most other kids. When a child does not have a proclivity for sports and they attend a school with a high tradition for sports excellence, they might get picked on for being a nerd. I found out much later in life that bullies targeted me because they perceived me as different. Being born with Tourrettes made me really standout.

Prison Time

According to a recently concluded study. More than 20% of kids who experienced bullying while under the age of 18 were more likely to end up in prison. These are people in serious need of some bully-proofing help.

Even more reasons

A social bully will bully because of a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem and tries to manipulate others any way he can. Hyperactive bullies do not know how to socialize and act appropriately. They will sometimes become physical to gain compliance. Detached bullies methodically plan their attack. In fact they can be considered quite likable by everyone except the person they bullied. Bullies can sometimes be very intelligent.