Bullying / Parenting

I Don’t Want To Live In A World Where My Bullied Child Is Seen As Weak.

Jay’s alarm clock just rang… Awoken by the song “hit me baby one more time”, he could only think of the day to come, and the emotional beatings he would get hen entering his school. Jay gets in the shower, then barely is able to finish his piece of toast. He gets to the bus stop, and sees the bus coming around the corner. “Here we go,” he says to himself.

Close Up of a Boy with Attitude

Walking into the school bus feels like walking on stage. Everyone is staring. “Hey, fatty” is the first comment thrown at him. Everyone laughs. And Jay sulks into his seat, hoping that for once, he could just disappear.

Jay gets to school. On his way out of the bus, the guy that called him fatty trips him and everyone starts laughing and pointing. Jay would love to be able to fight back. But he stands alone against a crowd of thirty people. He has no voice. No one is there to defend him. He grabs his books off of the ground and walks off.

Sitting in class later that day, whenever the teacher turns around, he gets hit by paper balls. The teacher sees nothing and goes about her business. One paper ball, two… five paper balls… “STOP IT” Jay screams. The teacher starts scolding him for interrupting class. Jay tries to protest, but the teacher sends him to the principal.

During lunch, Jay has nowhere to sit. He used to have a group of friends, but when he started getting bullied, his friends dropped him because they were so afraid of getting bullied themselves. Everyone is looking at him, but no one invites him to sit down. To avoid continuing to receive insults, and to avoid having his lunch stolen from him, there’s only one place Jay can eat his lunch in peace before heading to the library for some quiet time: the toilet stall.

At the end of the day, after incessant jabs and name-calling and tripping in the hallways, Jay gets home and turns on his computer. Blip the computer rings, he’s received a Facebook message with a link. He clicks on a link, and there’s his face, Photoshopped on the body of a pig rolling around in mud. And the pig has a Facebook page with Jay’s name on it, filled with activities, wall posts, check-ins… And this version of Jay has 200 friends. 200 people in his school have seen this page, and have written mean comment after mean comment. Jay used to feel safe at home. He used to feel like he could forget all of the comments once he closed the door to his room. Not anymore. Now, these kids are everywhere.

You might think that Jay is weak. That Jay can’t defend himself. Perhaps you didn’t know that Jay loves Judo class, is an awesome swimmer, but also loves science. Do you think Jay is weak because he’s not defending himself?

When you’re being bullied at school and on the Internet, you feel alone. It’s 200 against 1 and no one will come to your rescue. How do you fight back, with your fists or your words, when you know that things will only get worst? How can you tell teacher or your parents about it when you know that once the adults turn their backs, you only pay for it even more?

Jay is you. He is me, and he is every kid you might know. It’s not only the “short, geeky kids” that get bullied. As adults, we think we’re so much stronger than Jay and that we could handle it. But this bullying is enough to make anyone crack only after a just week of it. Imagine going through 5 years of this. Then have someone tell you that you should “suck it up” or “grow some balls”.

I’m starting a series on bullying. In this series, I’ll give solutions that both parents and children can use in order to fight the bullying while continuing to stay safe. If you have questions or situations you might need help with, feel free to write in.

Let’s start a discussion where we stop seeing bullying as kid’s stuff, harmless and unavoidable. This needs to stop.

Photo: iStockPhoto

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5 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Live In A World Where My Bullied Child Is Seen As Weak.

  1. My main issue with this story is that it embraces the failure of standing up for oneself simply because of the odds being not in the favor of the kid.

    “It’s too hard, why even try” would basically sum up that kid’s mentality.

    That’s a defeatist mentality. Taking for granted that your efforts will fail is a sad way to go through life.

    Like it or not, you live in a world where a weak kid may be bullied. It’s not the bullying that makes the kid weak, it’s the weakness inherent to it that may cause it to get bullied.

    • Like my sister said, standing up for yourself with your fists is not the only way to stand up for yourself. As a counsellor, I would probably get sued if I suggested that a kid use his or her fists in the first place. In the second place, helping the kid to fighto off their bullies is about finding what they are good at, what their strengths are, and how they can use these to stand up to the bullies.

      I’ll repeat it again. People don’t get bullied because they are weak. They get bullied 1-because the bully and the bullied are in a conflict and the bully doesn’t know or want to use other ways of resolving it 2- the bully is insecure and feels the need to push other people down in order to bring him or herself up. It rarely has to do with the personality or strength of character of the child, it has to do with opportunity and how the child might react.

      Being shy is not a character flaw. It is a way of being and has nothing to do with feeling insecure. A lot of shy kids get bullied because, in their “slow-to-warm” state, they have a difficult time finding out what to respond quickly enough. With time, it is the bullying that decreases their self-esteem, a self-esteem that is often highly reliant on the perspective of others at that age.

      Bullies target people who don’t have very many friends. It is not because they are targeting the ones with low self-esteem. It is the fact that these kids are less likely to defend themselves, because when you are alone, you are afraid of being completely isolated and feel like you can’t stand up for yourself. It is the bullying that leads these children to believe what is being said about them.

      Byron, I really encourage you to put on some new glasses and see bullying in a different light. Perhaps, since you’ve never experience bullying, you have a difficult time grasping the concept, and make your conclusions based on second and third-hand observation. I hope that, by explaining the actual, scientifically backed up dynamics, you now see that this really has absolutely nothing to do with strength or weakness of character, and that not fighting does not mean that you are not defending yourself.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think we need to differentiate the different ways of “standing up for oneself”. It doesn’t have to be with fists. I’ve known kids who shot down their would-be bullies thanks to their quick tongues or humour. Others through their sporting talents or artistic talents. Once they showed their, for lack of a better word, “greatness”, kids backed off.

    That was my personal experience also. When I tried fighting back, it just escalated. I clearly was a twirp who shook like a leaf when it came to throwing a punch, and the kids picked up on that and pushed harder. But the day I sang in a school talent show was the last day I was bullied.

    So this story doesn’t embrace failure. It’s setting up the series on how to look at who your child’s and strengthen their confidence in the areas that matter to them. If it so happens that their talent is their physical strength, then maybe a shove back or a fight is what they need to do. But there are more than just fighters in the world.

  3. Pingback: Bullying in the Bathroom | The Velvet Closet of a Lesbian

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