Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kids Who Are Bullied

At Tambuli Media, Dr. Mark Wiley writes about "the cycles of what happens to create a bully, of what happens to make one susceptible to being bullied, and how these interactions lead to substance abuse and suicide later in life, are related to how children are treated and treat others, and how parents raise their children."

An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

Bullying is dirty and inexcusable. The cycles of what happens to create a bully, of what happens to make one susceptible to being bullied, and how these interactions lead to substance abuse and suicide later in life, are related to how children are treated and treat others, and how parents raise their children. There’s just no excuse for the bully phenomenon in a humane world.

When kids complain of feeling ill, skip school, express fears about things that may otherwise seem benign, we need to ask questions.

I was bullied in elementary school and I was beaten up a few times.

Thankfully, my mother enrolled me in martial arts classes, which turned the tides and also led to my interests in Asian healing systems and spiritual traditions. By middle school I could defend myself a bit, but more importantly I had developed confidence, which allowed me to be more secure about myself and not care about what bullies would say to me. It made me less of a victim. By high school I had turned all the bullies into either friends of mine (and thus helped change their behaviors), or I stood my ground enough that they left eventually me alone.

But everyone isn’t that fortunate. The harm that bullying does can carry on into adulthood. That’s why it’s an issue for all of us.

The reason I decided to write about bullying today is because of several videos that were shared with me online featuring kids being bullied. Some found the bully roughing up the kid. Others found the so-called victim stand his ground and fight back. Other times it was imposing peer pressure, wherein the group mentality was the bully. A kid may not win every fight, or win every argument, but they can keep their self-esteem intact by standing up for him and others.
I felt disturbed by these videos. I had my own ideas about why kids bully others, and why some kids are more likely to be victims of bullies. But I wanted to get more information so I visited and learned more about the phenomenon, from which the next sections are pulled.

Kids Who Are Bullied

Kids who are bullied are at risk for experiencing depression, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These emotional changes become the new normal for kids, and tend to stick with them into adulthood.

Bullied kids also experience decreases in their academic achievement and school participation. Not only that, they tend to skip school, pretend sick, and even drop out of high school. The scariest part is that, according to the site, “a very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.”

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids doing the bullying are at risk for substance abuse in adolescence and adulthood. Then tend to violent behavior, getting into fights and engaging in vandalism. Early sexual activity, dropping out of school, and spousal abuse and criminal convictions as adults are not uncommon among those who bully.

This is all very upsetting, so with this information I called my old friend Coach Kevin Kearns for some feedback and advice.


Danel Fisher said...

Unfortunately, the Link to the full article goes to 'page not found'.

I'm quite interested in the creation of bullies and susceptibility to bullying. (I have never been part of either group and am curious what is different about me).

Could you share an updated link?

Rick Matz said...

ms_lili said...

Similar to a lot of social ills, the idea here is how bullying targets can remedy their situation. Similar to victims of domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse, and human trafficking, let me flip the script for a moment. Why is it the victims' further burden to stop it, get over it, etc? Why don't the social controls already in existence take these situations more seriously? How is it that bullies can pervasively work their mayhem on the hapless, the sensitive, and the just-because-I-can? Why isn't a child abuser thrown into prison and welded into the cell, while untold cells remain filled with drug offenders and the child rapists walk free after a few years? Why isn't a batterer legally sanctioned and *forced* to do cognitive restructuring until they see what premeditated and malicious harm they do to their victims? Why aren't human traffickers imprisoned and fined every penny they have extracted from the souls of their victims? Until our society starts taking these things *seriously*, there will be no dent in the problems. The real question to ask is why don't social control mechanisms take them seriously.

Rick Matz said...

In an ideal world, all of that would happen, but the world is imperfect. At the end of the day, you have to be responsible for your own self defense in whatever form that takes; because you can't count on someone else or some institution to bail you out.

ms_lili said...

Humans are social creatures and they gather into social units. We as humans create the world we want to live in. What if the Queen Bee told the drones to lay their own eggs? Yes, learn how to protect yourself, but you sure don't blame the victim who hasn't learned yet because that's just the way things are.

ms_lili said...

As to an "institution to bail you out", that "institution" is the judicial branch of our government. If the judicial branch isn't there to serve us, the people, what is it there for?