Apr 9, 2010

Are You A Bully?

Are you quarrelsome?

Do you feel the need to badger or intimidate weaker, smaller people?

Are you overbearing?

Overbearing means you are domineering, or rudely arrogant,(thought I would help you out with the definition just in case you were not sure if you are overbearing or not:)

I loved that those "dictionary writing" people used the word rudely in front of arrogant in describing someone who is overbearing I had no idea that there were different kinds of arrogance. Hmmm, can you can be politely arrogant? Wait, I am getting off track.....

So are you any of those things I just listed? You are? Uh oh...did you know that you fit the definition of a bully? Don't worry I still love you because I am pretty sure that if you are a bully and you know it you are going to change that very quickly because really who discovers they are a bully and wants to stay that way? :)

Bullying has been happening since the beginning of time. It almost seems like it is a normal part of life, right? Were you bullied? Did you bully? There was a odd girl in one of my elementary school classes when I was a kid and we all teased her because she picked her eyelashes and ate them. I feel so sad every time I think about poor Janice and how we all chased her around the playground making her squeal. Not a proud moment for me.

I know when you think of bullying you probably simply think of someone beating someone up. But I actually learned today that giving someone the silent treatment, spreading gossip, criticizing someones clothes, and refusing to socialize with someone, are all forms of bullying just in case you thought bullying was just physical.

If you ever happen to be inside a bullies head you would see that they are insecure and they are bullying to make themselves feel better. But that information does not make you feel any better when they have hurt you. Bullies come in every shape and size. Some are popular some are not. Some are rich some are not. Adults can even bully. The adults who do bully are authoritarian, they have a strong need to control or dominate. I know some of these kinds of adults. They have hurt me deeply in their need to deal with their envy and resentment.

I have lots of questions about bullies today because this morning I had to bring Natalie to school late. She has been very sick so I let her sleep in a little today. She did not want to go to school but this is my 7th child and I know all about the, "not wanting to go to school" thing so I, "matter of factly" got her ready and drove her up to the school. It was probably only a coincidence but Natalie's teacher came out of her classroom right when we came around the corner and she headed straight for me. She sent Natalie into the classroom to put her stuff away. She then said to me, "I had a feeling this was going to happen." I was a little confused, what was going to happen? She then told me that, "Natalie had had a bad day yesterday" at school. I still felt like I was missing something. She then used the word bully to describe to me what is causing Natalie to have bad days. All of a sudden, oh so much, became clear to me, all the little pieces from the weeks before....drat... I started crying. Yes, there in the elementary school hallway. I confess I made the teacher cry too. I fear I may have made teachers cry when I was a kid but this was the first time as a grown up that I had made a teacher cry :) I wish I could get the guy repairing my car to cry with me too :)

As I left the school my mind was swimming. How can I help Natalie? I wanted to know why people bully. Is there a right thing and a wrong thing for a parent to say to someone that has been bullied and is in first grade? I would guess that all the other Baird children have been bullied at some point in their public school careers but strangely I do not remember any particular instances? Maybe the Baird kids were the bullies? I do not ever remember being bullied as a kid. I remember being teased about being short. I remember someone thinking changing my last name from Ord to orca was funny. But that was about it.

I did learn in my reading today that bullies eat those of us who are insecure and can't stand up for ourselves for lunch, whoever they can find that lets them have power. Bullies adore power....it makes them feel so great about themselves.

So I am off to read some more about bullies and then figure out what my plan will be to help my Natalie deal with this. Never a dull moment :)


Pam Mueller said...

Oh poor little thing! Thank goodness she has a teacher that is aware of things.
I hate bullies, I work for one! I have to stand up to him to make him back down.

C Tam said...

I was just reading a disturbing article on bullies, spurred by that recent South Hadley girl's bully-driven suicide. Interesting it happened so near where you live. I hope the schools start implementing some type of early warning system to notify parents, because that is sad Natalie has had bad days for weeks without the teacher telling you...? The research indicates that the longer bullying continues for a specific child victim, the harder it is for that child to break out of the "rejected" label. How long is "too long?" From what I've read, if I remember correctly after about two years with a bullying peer group, if teaching social navigation/defense skills hasn't worked then it is wise to relocate the child. Sometimes even when you teach the child the appropriate response to the bully, the pattern is too deeply ingrained and anything your child does begins to be seen in a rejected lens. Sort of like how the cool girl in school could pull off wearing pink jeans, but if the bullied child did the exact same act, the other kids would ridicule the jeans.

I'm sure your reading will give more helpful hints for the here & now. I'd be interested to hear what you find, since I'm sure my kids will come up against this type of nightmare themselves someday...Really, Natalie could not have found herself a better mom to help with her situation. Best wishes to you on your crusade against evil!

Rebecca said...

Poor Natalie! Poor you! It is difficult to deal with these issues. I keep thinking it would be nice to raise children during the millenium when they "grow up without sin". Let me know if you come up with a great solution. I agree with C Tam - you are the perfect mom to handle a tough situation.