Bullies never seem to go away, they just look different when they get older. Not just for kids, we’ve met them at work, at our kids soccer or hockey practices and for some – family holidays as relatives or in-laws.
School seems hard enough with the awkwardness of growing up discovering who we are and what we’re meant to do, in combination of pressure to do well, competition, popularity and “just saying no” to things that are not good for us or will distract us – without the feeling of being terrified to go to school because of incessant wretched demeaning ridicule and constant fear or reality of being pummeled. This is a reality for many students and not just for higher grades but elementary schools too.
Not limited to school hours, for many it lurks once the bell rings – between the time ones released for the day and the time they get home. A bully is a single person, a gang is bullies in a herd. Some of the victims join the nemesis gang solely for protection and for what the think that the onslaught will end, only to find out it’s now a lifelong commitment.
Bullying by a family member whether it be an adult or sibling(s) is also a great factor, as it’s hard to escape, evade or avoid family like one could at school, or at least attempt to. The movie touted by Oprah called Precious is a poignant reminder of what number of youth (more than we think) deal with in their daily lives.
At work happens not just between management and employee, but also between colleagues and even customers! Believe it or not companies (typically larger ones) have created policies around dealing with a bullying customer and what the protocol is. UK government website has a page directly devoted to bullying at work.
Oddly enough, many people aren’t actually are aware they’re being bullied, until they read the signs.
“Violence in any form is a tragic expression of our unmet needs.” says Marshall B. Rosenberg, PHD. He’s the guy they call in to help stop wars between nations, tribes, workplace, schools, families – the concepts work for all levels of human communication – called Non Violent Communication. It’s also excellent for sorting out one’s own feelings and needs as well. Thus not only focused on the act of “communication” between others itself, but also oneself http://www.cnvc.org/about-us. Quite remarkable.
Another fabulous resource called Light Up Your World started its journey in Scarborough, ON schools to not only help eliminate bullying, but the perpetrators often turned into the best protectors as wild as that sounds. Subsequently it has exploded and is being used all over the world, literally, by a humble little lady from Oshawa by the name of Lisa Sanchez http://www.lightupyourworld.org.
Statistically, we know that school bullies commonly have trouble at home (often a bully in their family, abuse or a broken home). Later in life this type of bullying may show up as a over-dominant personality. Taught prejudices (often from family or friend influences) are also a contributing factor. Whichever the case if we remember this and are able to put ourselves in the bullies shoes, we can understand the pressures in their lives that have led them to that place, and have compassion on the bully.
Therefore, there are things and techniques that can be used, to help make the world a more peaceful place, one conversation at a time. Courtesy, dignity and respect are fabulous traits to be practiced at every opportunity.