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Julie Clark



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Get tough with bullies, or the problem will get worse

by Julie P. Clark

In my research on RA and other forms of bullying, I read that the bullies should not be blamed. And I've read that children should not be made to feel bad about their misbehavior. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be around anyone, child or adult, who feels good about his/her bad behavior. Remember when our parents and grandparents used the word "shame," or "I'm ashamed of you?" A little shame may be what is needed these days.

Do those who say that children should not be made to feel bad about their behavior really believe that? What is a sociopath? One who doesn't feel bad about his/her misbehavior! He/she feels no shame, remorse, or empathy! Is that how we want to raise our kids?

We need to get in touch with their humanity, we need them to feel bad about it when they have hurt someone. As long as they feel okay about it, why should they stop? They probably won't.

What can help a person to realize that they are hurting someone? By educating them what RA is, what a bully is. A bully is an abuser. Holding them accountable for their behavior. Many states now have anti-bullying laws, check to see where your state stands in that matter. Force the school to comply with the laws/policies that they have. Pursue legal action if possible...sometimes that is all the bullies and their parents will listen to. Your child is worth fighting for.

Schools should have stiff consequences for the bullies. Staying after school is no big deal to many kids. Consequences have to be tough to show that you mean business and that you will not put up with it, that bullies are not welcome in your school.

The bully should apologize verbally and in writing to the victim. Bystanders should report when they see bullying/RA. They should not get in trouble for "tattling" when they see someone being hurt. Too often, teachers tell children to "stop tattling!" when they are trying to tell what is happening to someone.

As long as bullies are allowed to bully by not having tough consequences, not being held accountable, there will be bullies in schools. If the victims leave, who is left? The bullies. It isn't fair to the victim that she has to leave school. It isn't fair that the victim's family has to lose time from work, find another school or homeschool their child, to have doctor, psychologist and legal fees because of the actions of others. The bullies and their families are not inconvenienced. They don't have the doctor and psychologist and legal fees to pay.

We need to wake up and realize that the problem of RA and bullying in general is getting worse. Gone are the days of requiring good manners...waiting your turn to speak, waiting patiently in line, not gosipping about others, not lying about others, including everyone. We need to go back to requiring manners. Holding children accountable for their bad behavior.

As long as we tip toe around the problem, it will get worse. As long as the adults make excuses for not acting, it will get much worse. What does it take for school personnel to act? Why does it take so long? Why do the parents have to fight so hard to get help for their bullied child?

Why are the parents bullied for wanting help for their child? Why are they told to jump through hoops, and the hoops are never enough? Why are they told that they are whiners and complainers for wanting the bullying to stop?

Why doesn't the bully have to jump through hoops, and the parents of bullies? Why aren't they the ones being put through the wringer?

Copyright © 2007 Julie P. Clark

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Relational Aggression can be life threatening!