Why Bullying Will Continue

image-300x300LONG-TIME BOXING COACH, CHUCK HORTON, HAS SEEN THE ILL-EFFECTS OF BULLYING FIRSTHAND. HE HAS BEEN WORKING FOR YEARS TO EMPOWER TROUBLED CHILDREN AND TEENS WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF BULLYING. HE COMBATS BULLYING BY TEACHING THE KIDS OF DULUTH THE ART OF BOXING. CHUCK BELIEVES THAT BOXING, WHICH HELPS IMPROVE CONFIDENCE AND INSTILL DISCIPLINE, CAN SERVE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO THE TOXIC EFFECTS OF BULLYING.  THIS IS THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF A 7-PART SERIES, AUTHORED BY ROXANNE WILMES, ABOUT THE PHENOMENON OF BULLYING, AND HOW IT NEGATIVELY EFFECTS BOTH ITS PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS. 

Bullies have been around as far back as history.  Schools and the government are busy patting themselves on the back for their anti-bullying programs.  Good luck.  The bullies are here to stay.

According to the website BullyingStatistics.Org, one of the factors that can lead to bullying is that children don’t know other ways in which they can deal with problems.  They have less-developed communication and coping skills, leaving them frustrated and often times in a situation of lashing out.  

Why don’t schools take steps to correct the problem at that point?  Because even though there are 3.2 million victims of bullying annually (NoBullying.Com), one in four teachers does not even see it.  Worse yet, of those who do see it, they will intervene only 4% of the time.  FOUR FLIPPING PERCENT.  

Our tax dollars at work.  Please, pat yourselves on the back again.

Frequently children do not report bullies because they’re afraid to worsen the situation.

Frequently children do not report bullies because they’re afraid to worsen the situation.

Frequently children do not report bullies because they’re afraid to worsen the situation.  Reporting at school is never really anonymous.  I know a high school girl who repeatedly had food thrown at her in the school cafeteria as she walked through.  The room was full of teachers and employees, where were they to help her?  Shortly after, the school held a big assembly to puff their chests on reducing the number of bullying incidents.  Her parents were so pissed they left town.

Was that an extreme solution?  Yes, and there were other factors in the move.  But the girl is now safe and happy, and that is what parents should want for their children.

Perhaps dwindling parental involvement is another reason why bullying will continue.  Many families are forced to be two-income households.  With so many unsupervised hours, what are kids learning?  A dreadful outcome is desensitization of children from TV, movies, online sources, video games, etc.  And the worst instance is the indifference towards suicide.  

Today more than ever young people see suicide as a solution, instead of a permanent answer to a short-term problem.  Online bullies have pushed people over the edge at alarming numbers, and there appears to be little help in sight.  The Jason Foundation estimates an average of 5,400 suicide attempts in the U.S. by students in grades 7-12 every day.  EVERY DAY.

Bullying has been around forever.  Most of us have either been bullied, been a bully, witnessed bullying, or experienced a combination of the above.  The term bullying has been beaten to death, pardon the pun.  To say that it is a new problem or that it has gotten dramatically worse is ill-defined.  We have no real data going back over past generations.  And frankly, many past generations would have seen it as a fact of life, a rite of passage of some sort.  

Possibly we’re just that soft nowadays; what happens when helicopter parents and trophies-for-showing-up are the norm.  By trying to eliminate all true competition in childhood, we’ve created a hyper-competitive lot of children.  That innate need for the pursuit of power has to come out somewhere.  Lord of the Flies, right?  

Parents need to be more involved.  Educators need to step in when it’s necessary, but ease-off the back-patting until it’s warranted.  Teach children what’s okay and help them find better ways to communicate their feelings and deal with frustrations.  And for Pete’s sake, every episode is not bullying.  Let’s keep some perspective and focus on how we as adults present ourselves to young people.  If we can’t eliminate the problem, perhaps we can at least reduce it.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes