Bullying

Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time I think, or so it seems.  I’m not sure why one person thinks they are better then another and have a right to judge and condem another.  We all make mistakes, and have looked and or felt stupid because we have.  If you are a human being walking around on the face of the earth, you have and or will mess up.  Differently, some big mess ups some smaller, some both at differing times in our lives.  There are varying theories about why people bully.  One is because it is a learned behavior. Another is because that is the only way they can gain attention from others, another is low self-esteem, another is because they can, no one stops them. I think all of that applies.  I know as a Behavior Specialist Consultant, I watched kids get bullied in school.  I was in school for a child who was often times being bullied because there behavior was different.  They were on the Autism Spectrum, too shy and quiet, came from a home where they were not being taught how to be, alcohol or drug addiction, their family was too poor and could not afford the latest fashion or were living out of a shelter and could not bathe daily often times coming to school in the same clothes and dirty because they had been outside playing the night before, no TV to watch, sometimes just because they were a certain nationality and the bully was taught to hate them.  I would sit in the classroom observing, trying to gather information for an (FBA) Functional Behavioral assessment and be looking at, at least 5 other children who needed the assessment more then the child I was observing.  I would wonder why the other children were not in services and would ask.  No one seemed to know.  As I observed, it was those children that were the bullies and no one corrected the situation.    When I was Clinical Supervisor/Program Manager a child came into services, recommended by a local school because he had leapt across a lunch table at a child and began to hit him in the face.  The school has a no violence policy so the child was not allowed in school until he was evaluated by the Doctor or a Psychologist.  A meeting took place to evaluate whether or not there was a justification for services because this child had never had a problem in school before this event.  .  The child was asked why he leapt accross the table and hit the other child in the face.  The child said because this kid had been bullyng him since kindergarden and he was tired of it, they were now in 5th grade.  I asked why he decided to handle it himself and not involve an adult.  His answer was because the teachers will not do anyting unless they see what happened, they won’t take sides.  I then asked why he hadn’t told his mother, he said he had and she had complained to the school, but nothing happened because the child who was bullying him was from an influential family and no one at the school wanted to anger them.  The child then volunteered that this child had been throwng food at him during lunch and a pea had hit him in the head and everyone laughed.  He had reached his tolerance level and decided to handle it himself.  The recommendation that was given to the school was for this child to have out patient services for the trauma he had experienced at the hand of the school and for the bully to receive in-home services so a therapist could work on the family dynamics that allow bullying to happen. The identified problem child went to out patient services for trauma therapy, the bullies parents refused to allow services in their home.   I understand not taking sides because you have not seen the event.  I also understand that kids will lie to save themselves and blame others for their own behavior.  But, if the same  children are involved in the same type of things for 6 years, you should have payed attention and done something to stop it long before the child handes it himself. You should be doing this after the second time the same 2 children have issues with each other.  Parents should be going to the police, Congressman, Senators or anyone that will listen with the documentation of what has been happening to your child.  Influential parents should not have more say then anyone else. We all pay taxes for our children to go to school and learn, not to be bullied by influental children.  Documenting things is critical, parents have to do it if they want to be heard.

I have 2 younger sisters  Both were bullied at differing times.  Back in the day you were allowed to stand up to bullies.  That entailed, often times threatening them with physical violence if they continued to do what they were doing.  Today that is called terroristic threats, so it is not recommended.  Today kids are limited with what they can do because even though schools have policies against bullying, they do not always inforced those policies and make scapegoats out of children, who are then placed in a position of defending themselves because the adults in their lives have failed them.  Children should not have to be afraid to go to school.  Sending them to school in a hostile environment does not help them to learn and often times makes them drop-outs, not want to go to school and get into trouble because they are not going, develop school anxiety, social anxiety and otherwise traumatized them.  There is a lot of home schooling because of that issue.  The argument for that is they are not getting socialized.  The rebuttal to that would be, that is not socialization, it is a war zone.

Telling people, documenting the situations and talking about it is a good way of handling the situation for your child.  The child having to handle it themselves is never a good idea.  If the school is not doing anything about it even though it has happened repeatedly go to the police and let them take the information you have gathered and handle it.  If that does not work go higher, to your Congressman or Senator, hire a lawyer. If you have to resort to those tactics to get someone to listen, pull your child out of school and home school them so they will not become a larger targets.   Do not allow children to handle it themselves because then you have criminal things happening, like guns going into schools and shooting those bullies that have been involved..   Or worse the child that has been bullied, commits suicide.  Growing up in a bullying environment teaches children that violence is the answer, that bullies win, that threatening verbally and physically is the way to be.  It has been done to them and no one has stopped it. They grow up thinking that they deserve it because no one has stood up for them. Kids do not think logically, that is up to the adults in their lives. The human brain does no fully develop until we are 25 years old.  If you have been traumatized it is later. Kids have a right to expect that they will be protected by the adults in their lives and when they are not, they have no choice but to handle it themselves.  That is never a good idea.  If you are the parents of a child who is being bullied, you have a right to expect that when you send your child off to school in the morning, they will not be harmed.  You have a right to complain if they are and you have a right to expect something will be done about it.  You are not paying taxes so your child can be in harm’s way on a daily basis.  They are supposed to be educated, not beat up verbally and physically.

If you are the parents of a bully, you are not doing them any favors by allowing them to not accept responsibility for their behavior.  Sociopath are raised not born.  They begin to believe that they are above any consequences for their behavior because no one has ever held them accountable for anything.  Children need the adults in their lives to set limits and boundaries for them.  They need to know where they end and others begin, what is tolerable and what is not.  They need to not be allowed to get away with things that are not allowable.  They need to take responsibility for what they do with consequences that are not over the top but match the situation, the offense committed.  They need to know that they are no better or worse they anyone else and will be responsible for what they do or don’t do,  like everyone else.  These video’s will help you relax and give away what you cannot control while you are making changes.  Link to the video’s   Enjoy!

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dtoomey2015

I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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