NOT EVERYTHING IS BULLYING
Given my past, what became my future and now a big part of my career, I am often asked my advice on dealing with bullies or violent people.
Bullying is unacceptable at any level, be it playground spats or workplace violence, it is simply unacceptable. However, not everything physical Is somebody else’s fault, far from it and a degree of self responsibility is needed.
Sometime ago I was asked by a friend to speak to a mum whose daughter had been ‘bullied and attacked’ and of course the whole thing was filmed.
I agreed to help and give advice so the film was forwarded to me. This is what I saw;
Two girls on a bus, equally as vocal, equally as aggressive and both being cheered on by their respective friends. The argument seem to come to an end when one girl reached her stop and disengaged from the bus, but continued to shout back at the other party. The other party escalated it even further by jumping off the bus to confront her ‘nemesis’ and of course things got physical with both girls going at it.
The first girl to exit the bus got the better of the episode with the second girl crying off and I have to say, the first girl let it be.
And so I offer my honest opinion to an understandably upset mum.
“Your daughter wasn’t bullied, she had a fight that she willingly participated in but came off second best.”
I braced myself for what came next as it always does when people don’t agree with my opinion (hey, they are entitled to, right?).
“Oh you are the guy who wrote the book about bullying and now you are standing up for the bully, oh you are a hypocrite, oh you are a bully yourself, blah, blah, blah. I won’t be bringing her to your class.”
To which I replied, “What makes you think I would accept her into my class?”
Now here lies the problem. I suffered bullying relentlessly as a kid and many violent situation as a young man, hence my years seeking to become combat proficient. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have never instigated a situation that wasn’t justified.
And so I know bullying and I know mutual combat and if we or our children engage in the latter but come worse off then a lesson is learnt.
Too many snowflake parents producing too many snowflake children who never put a foot wrong.
I’ll up the stakes. I study/read and absorb a lot of information about the dreadful gang culture that some kids seem to think trendy now (usually the ones not involved, but the ones chatting to their friends about it and seeing the violent delights from the comfort of a screen).
More often that not when a gang members is arrested, hurt or sadly killed, a parent will usually offer the well worn prose; “He just fell in with the wrong crowd. It wasn’t his fault.” It wasn’t his fault.
Gang violence is aborhent, a dreadful dance but what if the injured party was actually the ‘wrong crowd.’
When are parents going to say, “Look, my kid did wrong. My kid was a willing participant, my kid engaged’?
If they can believe this then maybe they can do something about it far before it reaches this stage. Maybe they can draw from their own experiences with bullies, violent people, violent situations etc and sit their kids down and say “these are your consequences,” (and God forbid any of them but the last one by far let Him forbid);
A beating in a fight, leading to injury.
A victory in a fight leading to injuring someone.
A fight leading to arrest.
A violent encounter leading to jail.
A violent encounter leading to death.
This tough love must surely be a better answer than seeing our child lose a fight, flip it into bullying (displacing blame, responsibility, consequence) and seeking out help from professional, but then compounding your child’s misery by shifting that blame to said professional who “hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about,” (trust me, I do).
Not everything is bullying, not everything is somebody else’s fault, not everything makes your child a victim.
Time to step up mum and dad.