Today’s post is inspired by a comment made on my previous post when I talked about bullying as portrayed on television. David Prosser, I hope he doesn’t mind me naming him here, pointed out that parents teach their children how not to be victims of bullying but not how not to be bullies. David’s words of wisdom were spot on! Plus, it gave me food for thought about parents and bullying.
Absolutely true that parents teach their children not to be victims but not how not to be bullies. However, from my experiences, some of which I highlight in my book, “He Was Weird,” parents seem to like the fact that their children are bullies. They seem to wear this fact as some sort of sick badge of honour. Some even go as far to think that their offspring being bullies is a good reflection of their parenting skills. Their justification is that they have taught their children how to stand up for themselves, wrong!
There is a major difference in standing up for oneself and being a bully. The two certainly don’t go hand in hand. Some of the best people I know who know how to handle themselves can do so without being a bully and more importantly, using their words instead of their fists. This is what parents should be teaching their children, not teaching or encouraging them to be bullies.
I have seen many instances when the parents of bullying victims have tried to address a bullying issue with the parents of the bully and the bully’s parents either dismissive or even patronizing over it. One famous response a bully’s parents has used is “You should teach your child how to fist fight.” So does mean if the victim, next time they’re bullied, picks up a baseball bat or even a gun and seriously harms or kills their bully, the bully’s parents will think that’s all right? I don’t think so. What needs to happen is for the bully’s parents to take a stand in encouraging their child in not being a bully. Linking it to that “Criminal Minds” episode, I believe that those murdered parents and the murdered teen would still be alive if the parents had taken a pro-active stance in teaching their child it is wrong to be a bully.
I have experienced this. In one of my worst instances of being bullied, my mother had the parents of both tormentors into school. One of the parents was reasonable about it but the other, a successful lawyer, was very dismissive about the entire affair. As far as he was concerned, his son could do no wrong and I was to blame for what happened to me. Yep, that bully’s parents also used the age old tactic of blaming the victim. What is needed here is more education, both to adults and children. It needs to be drummed home that all bullying is wrong and it’s not a status symbol if your child is a bully.