Bullying: Modern Solutions to an Ancient Problem
There is no cure for bullying; there are only treatments. This article will not deliver the three easy steps to eliminate bullying from your life, and your child’s life. That kind of magical thinking does not take seriously the harsh reality that at one point, bullying was an evolutionary advantage. It is a vestigial but inexorable part of the human psyche. And at the end of the day, there will always be bullies.
Like the cowards they are, bullies will always prey on the people deemed most vulnerable to attack. In teaching your child how to deal with bullying, you will be shoring up those same lessons for yourself, as bullying knows no age, culture, or social status boundaries. Bullies are equal opportunity destroyers. Consider these tools as being part of a first line of defense:
Bullies destroy lives without regard to age, culture, or social status. It is notable how much victimization takes on the familiar characteristics of psychological trauma, even down to the five stages of grief. When we are victimized, we go through the following phases:
With victimization, acceptance isn’t an option. We actually have to do something about it. Unfortunately, some who cannot figure out what to do about it never make it past depression, opting for suicide.
This is true even among children. According to recent bullying and suicide statistics, 10-14-year-old girls are most at risk. If you think this can’t happen to your child, you are not taking the problem seriously enough. Bullying is not just one of those problems that all kids have to learn to navigate. It is a health crisis. And like it or not, your child is at risk.
When you discover that your child is being bullied, counseling is one of the options available to you as a parent. As much as you want to, there is little you can do to stop the bullying. But you can help protect the emotional state of your child. There are a few things you can do to be even more proactive:
A counselor can help sort out the difference between a teen going through typical maturation issues, and serious emotional and behavioral issues that might require clinical solution. Some of that acting out might be a result of bullying.
The problem is that kids and parents don’t always recognize when bullying is taking place. It almost always seems benign at first. There is some unnecessary roughhousing, taunting, and being targeted as the butt of jokes. It is easy when this happens on the playground. But not so easy to recognize it when it happens online.
It is such a big problem, the US government has stepped in to stop cyberbullying. Before you can stop it, you have to recognize it. Cyberbullying behavior involves mean texts and emails, spreading lies and rumors online, posting embarrassing pictures and videos, and creating fake profiles with the intent to victimize another person.
Passed off as pranks, these actions have real consequences. When threats of violence, explicit photographs, and hate speech are involved, it is a crime. And the police can be called in for help.
Getting into healthcare administration is one way to be directly involved with treating victims of bullying. Being the kind of supervisor that recognizes it in the workplace is another. That is because bullying is not just for kids. It is a common workplace issue.
If both bully and victim share a common faith system, it might be useful to try a faith-based approach to the problem of bullying. Religious faith does not eradicate the negative human traits from your psyche. Nor does it isolate you from victimization. But it might provide a common frame of reference that allows redress for these issues.
Whether we are talking about a big kid steeling a smaller kid’s lunch or character assassination online, bullying is an ancient and societal problem. Modern solutions are less about technology and more about human connection, proactive parenting, workplace regulation, and law enforcement. Because bullying is not just an annoyance. It is a matter of life and death. Choose life. Get involved.
Becky Wilcox is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about beauty, fashion, technology and more. She writes for Life with Lisa as well as several other blogs and websites. Check back soon for more from Becky.