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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  2483 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Panic Over Bullies -
    Childhood and adolescence in America have never been less brutal. Even as the country's overprotective parents whip themselves up into a moral panic about kid-on-kid cruelty, the numbers don't point to any explosion of abuse.

Ah numbers, they always seem to get in the way of a good story. I truly feel bad for kids who get relentlessly bullied. But the whole bullying wave that's swept the US and Canada in the last few years might be the quintessential First World Problem. Extreme cases of bullying should be dealt with, but in more moderate cases, kids need to learn to deal with problems alone sometimes. If you have a dickhead for a boss when you're older, your parents can't do much about it, so I think learning to deal with conflict (unreasonable jerks, especially) is probably a good skill to develop at a young age.

But, to all the old bullies out there, its never too late to apologize.

d_e_solomon  ·  2481 days ago  ·  link  ·  
After reading the comments at the WSJ, I remember why I subscribe to the Financial Times instead. Anyhoo, I had to give this one some thought.

I don't see bullying as a good or character building thing. There have been multiple studies done that demonstrate worse outcomes for kids that are bullied versus those that are not.

To me, the solution has to be holistic. Parents need to empower their kids to push back on bullies. Schools need to create an environment that reinforces that bullying isn't cool. Principals and teachers need to be prepared to discipline bullies when the issue is getting out of control. Kids need to learn empathy and that actions have consequences. Schools need to be held accountable to prevent systemic abuse. I don't think any of these items are particularly controversial.

That doesn't mean that children can't learn problem solving or conflict resolution - not every situation requires a teacher to get involved. There is a dividing line between isolated incident, personality conflict, and systemic abuse. The school's response needs to be proportionate to the intensity.

One of things to remember about being a kid in school versus an adult is that a kid has little choice on whether to go to school (or even what school to go to). If my boss is a dickwad, I can tell him to f himself and change jobs. If he assaults me, I can punch back or sue him. If he harasses me, then he gets to have a fun talk with HR. Most adults aren't in a situation where they will suffer eight straight years of abuse without recourse.

My coworker R's son was being bullied several years back. R's son was noticeably depressed and down over being bullied. R handled the situation well - he got his son a bit of therapy, enrolled him in karate classes, and discussed the issue with the school. R's son confronted the bully eventually, words were had, bully lost face, and that was that.

I would agree that the prevalence of bullying hasn't significantly increased from the good old 1960s, but I don't see that as a reason to not do anything. We don't have to tolerate the way things always were. Progress is possible.

3rnest  ·  2463 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Its easy to forget that parents are former children. Parents themselves may not have the coping mechanisms to "deal with" bullies. Parents need as much help dealing with this as their kids. How do we provide support to the parents of children that are being bullied?
b_b  ·  2481 days ago  ·  link  ·  
You make some good points. I wasn't trying to be brazen or a Social Darwinian, I was just trying to highlight that part of growing up is dealing with conflict, and it seems to me (as a non-parent) that kids are often times too protected and insulated form any kind of strife. But I certainly agree that if a kid is being picked on repeatedly and harshly, it should be dealt with by the appropriate authorities. I just don't know where the line is.