I am overwhelmed right now with thoughts on bullying. I devoured our latest book club book, called "Please Stop Laughing at Me" in two days. Then I watched a documentary on Netflix called "Bully." So many of the following thoughts deserve entries all on their own, but I'm afraid if I wait until time to address each one properly I'll be so far removed from these initial impressions I won't do them justice.
First of all, I do not believe that pulling a child from a bullying situation is "running away" or "letting the bully win." It is not preparing them for the real world. It is leaving them in a dangerous situation. They are children. There are adults who cannot handle that kind of abuse so why should we expect our children to live with it day in and day out? You can bet that I would yank my children in a heartbeat from any situation (bus, school, church, etc) in which they were being mercilessly bullied. Some might argue that we need to stand up as an example and show others we are not afraid, but the tiger-mother in me would say "not on my child's life."
Second, the bullying culture among pre-teens and teens is not representative of real life. As adults, we know that we can remove ourselves from an unhealthy situation. We are not told we must spend our days in a place where people are abusive. I surround myself with friends with whom I have healthy relationships.
Third, while bullying is much less prevalent in adulthood, it is not entirely absent. I have been witness over the last year to an adult abusive situation that turned into group bullying, and it has taken me reading this book and watching this documentary to realize that I am playing a part in this horrible tragedy in my role as bystander. I have been trying to "stay neutral" because I did not want to play the part of judge. I have extended love, help and friendship, but I have realized that is not enough. I must stand up and speak out, as an adult who has loving support around me, and stop this terrible behaviour perpetuated by other adults. The saddest part in the situation I find myself in is that there are children and teens also involved, and they are being shown this bullying behaviour. I hope they have not learned to model it, yet. I am re-reading Barbara Coloroso's book "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander" to help give me a clear voice with which to speak. I want to approach the situation with a calm manner, and stand up for the victimized without judging the perpetrators and without coming across as "holier than thou." I do not feel hate or anger toward those who are bullying; surprisingly I feel an outpouring of love and hope that their behaviour can be amended.
Because, in the end, I can't imagine anyone can have peace in their heart and a happy outlook if they are part of a situation involving bullying. I have found, through the years, that any contact with negative emotions and situations permeates your life. In order to find peace and joy we must live peaceably with each other.