I keep close eye out for articles on bullying. In amongst all of the articles about school bullying, I see numerous articles about workplace bullying. When I see bullying at all levels it makes me want to ask, “Where does this cycle end?” When do we reach a point when adopt an attitude of general human decency and respect?
I do not believe bullies are vicious and mean from birth. For some reason, they have learned how to be a bully. A parent or caregiver never really tells them when they do something that is inappropriate. Because they have not heard differently, they continue to use that behavior. Children honestly don’t know what is and is not appropriate. If a child makes a mistake and says something that is not appropriate or mean, it is a mistake and can be corrected. We also need to bear in mind that a child who acts in an aggressive way and bullies doesn’t necessarily have bad parents. However, this is an opportunity that parents need to seize! It is the perfect time to intervene and teach a child an appropriate response to whatever situation has gone awry. When not corrected, a child has no idea what they are doing is wrong and will likely continue to repeat the behavior.
How do we stop the cycle? I believe parents bear the yoke of responsibility to see the cycle broken. Our children must be our priority. If we are unsuccessful in reaching them, we need to make sure to seek help. Once again, it is not a reflection on the parent. If the family has done what they can and can’t seem to reach the child, get them to a professional who can give you advice and then follow that advice.
I think the first step to helping our bullying epidemic get better is to admit that all children make mistakes. Making a mistake doesn’t make them bad children any more than it makes a parent a bad parent. What is neglectful, is to not take control and correct the child. To not correct is the start of a very slippery slope that could affect a child for his or her entire life.