I know this post might get some of you upset. Please feel free to respectfully disagree in the comments below. I love to hear what you are thinking.
Now, my thoughts on bullying. We use that word WAY too much! We have broadened the definition of the word so much so that it means nothing to people. Everyone is against it but no one wants or even knows how to punish for it. We aren’t sure anymore if we are even seeing bullying in action. So the first thing I want to do is give you MY definition of bullying.
BULLYING: The deliberate use of words or violence to control another person.
Please note that I have not included “any mean or hateful thing that a person might say or do to another person”. Kids say so many mean things to each other that is not necessarily bullying. Since we have broadened our definition, kids are getting in big trouble for say things like, “I don’t want to be your friend.” That is a teachable moment but in my opinion, not bullying.
We need to stop bullying. But I also think we need to stop confusing our children. They aren’t sure where the lines need to be drawn anymore. Let’s help them understand what a bully is. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach our kids to tell others that is isn’t nice to say those things or that hitting is mean. We should empower our kids with the ability to stand up when they see something mean happening. The thing is that bullying is serious. Someone is getting more than just their feelings hurt. They are afraid.
I tell my kids that fear is how you KNOW if it’s bullying. Is the “victim” afraid for their safety? Do they want to avoid a certain person or place? A true bully is deliberately causing fear for his/her victim.
A bully is not a child having a bad day on the playground. A bully is not a parent telling their child to clean his/her room or there will be no treat.
A bully is a person that dunks another person’s head in the toilet in front of others to cause fear and embarrassment. A bully is a person that knocks another person into the lockers at school or kicks their books across the hall everyday. A bully is the father that grabs his child by the arm, twists until it hurts and threats more pain if the child doesn’t do something. A bully is a person that beats up other people to instill fear in those people and others around them. A bully intends to embarrass and harm the other person.
If we all can agree on a definition of bullying, I believe we can truly begin to eradicate it from our schools, work places and lives.