I can’t stand listening to adults talk about children and bullying. They continually tell kids what they can do if they see bullying, how to handle a bully, who they should tell if they are being bullied. Never is there any discussion of “What can I do to make sure my child isn’t bullying others?” The thing that I don’t understand about bullying in schools is not that children are dicks to each other, it is that people are raising kids who do not understand why bullying is wrong.
I don’t care if you think it is the ‘nature’ of human beings to exclude, taunt, chide, and be cruel to each other (even though I think arguing about the ‘nature’ of people in general is sort of, intellectually, a failure). The fact is that grown adults let their children go to school everyday thinking it is okay to be an asshole. I am bullied by other adults pretty much all the time (although not through variety beatings, name calling, or public embarrassment, but through them trying to force me to bend to their will) so I can see why this happens. I think the main problem is that parents are not teaching their children what is probably the single most important lesson of life: that other people have feelings.
Children who have serious neglect and abuse in their early years of life have extreme difficulty grasping this concept, and often leash out and hurt animals, other children, their family members, etc to try and reconcile their own pain. Adults like to pretend that every child who bullies others is obviously from a terrible abusive family, which is absolutely ridiculous. There are just as many (if not more) affluent and middle class bullies. Just because someone isn’t poor and put literally the bare minimum of care into raising a child to not be psychologically disturbed, that hardly means their child is incapable of maliciousness. They’re still going to be influenced by shitty things. What do people think facebook is teaching their kids? School never ends once you have an online community where you can say anything you want without face to face consequences. If someone has failed to cultivate a sense of empathy, they are going to act accordingly.
The oversimplification that people seem to make of almost everything these days is so absurd. “Why do kids bully?” “THEY JUST DO. THAT IS WHAT THEY DO WHEN THEY GET TOGETHER.” No, actually, no one just ‘does’ anything, and it is beyond disturbing that no one actually thinks about reasons why something might be a certain way. Kind of like how, in light of the Olympics, I have heard people say “No one wants to watch women’s sports, that is why they are not popular.” No, the reason they are not popular is because people have been culturally predisposed to think that women are not capable of being good or interesting athletes. Unless it is beach volleyball, because bitches be wearing bikinis. Athletics don’t reward women for being beautiful, they reward them for skill- which is at total odds with a culture that rewards women for being beautiful and much less for skill. Less conventionally attractive women are allowed to be star athletes, but men haven’t been conditioned to actually care about women’s talents, they’ve been conditioned to care about how satisfying watching the women is for them. But anyway.
Kids are going to bully because we live in a culture full of fucking narcissists who fail to teach them that they have the power to cause other people pain, and that other people’s feelings are just as important as theirs. It bothers me that people think bullying isn’t THEIR problem. It IS your problem if you’re not explicitly making it known to your child that their actions affect other people.