Picture credit: Mikdam @depositphotos.com
You want to know why?
Have you heard the following statements?
- don’t dress like that
- it’s not so bad
- don’t be so sensitive
Of course, not every conflict is bullying. Conflicts are part of life. But if conflicts arise regularly, if it mainly affects the same person or persons, if the victimization is obvious, perhaps through damage done to them, their clothing or belongings, or even in the way the victims speak, then it is time to become active. Sometimes it is enough to listen to the person, to take them seriously, to be there for them. Because when the “victim” is no longer alone, it is sometimes not so much a challenge. Be there, listen, stand by. Do something.
My experience with bullying
I have a little experience with bullying myself, but neither as a victim nor as a perpetrator. When I was in school, I was in the comfortable position of being one of the outsiders, but also being accepted by the rest of the class. The bullied students were somehow less bothered when I was there. Most of the time, mean or stupid things said to them got back an equally stupid response from me, but then there was peace. To this day, I have no idea exactly how that mechanism worked. I was rather shy and rarely said anything. Stupid or unfair names, however, got me worked up. My mouth was often faster than my brain and there it was, the stupid response. It wasn’t generally original or snappy, but it was enough so that nothing happened afterwards.
From what I know of bullying today, I know that a teacher should have been brought on board at that time. In fact, I learned afterwards that the adults had actually left it up to me because “it worked.” Humph. I didn’t think it was cool to be a child in a situation that adults assumed I would take care of. There were situations I didn’t want to be in the middle of. I found it then, and still find it unfair to shift this responsibility onto a child.
What can I do about bullying?
My request: listen if someone needs it, if someone asks. It’s not about how bad you feel a situation is. It’s about how the victim feels. You can’t know that, so listen to them.
If you learn someone is bullying children, keep the responsibility for dealing with it with the adults. In the case of older children or young adults being bullied, make sure you know who the bully is and who is the bullied before you intervene. You don’t want someone being bullied to feel like someone is coming to help the bullies.
Do you also have experience with being bubullying? Have you already done something about bullying? Feel free to write me in the comments or by e-mail.