Will Not Talking End the Bullying? Maybe We Should Start With The Adults

Bullying is a much-discussed issue right now because it’s an important one. We all have been bullied or have bullied. As adults, we are now in a position where we can do something to prevent children from going through what we went through. A school has taken the harsh stance of not allowing students to talk between classes because that’s when they noticed the bullying happening most. (Sorry, I can’t find a link to any stories about this…so it just might be an urban legend!)

Is not allowing students to talk the best way to deal with bullying?

On the forum where this information was posted, some commented that if it’s what finally ends the bullying, then it’s the solution. Some said that even if one child misses being bullied at that moment then it’s effective.

This is a way to deal with the children and their input into the bullying situation. But when are we going to make the adults responsible for their part in it? After spending time in the elementary school with my son and as a substitute teacher, I’ve seen what happens.

I never witnessed outright bullying by a teacher. What I did see was the attitude of some adults that could suggest that some bullying was warranted. Yes, teachers are allowed to not like all children. What they shouldn’t be allowed to do is demonstrate that dislike. While subbing one day, I actually heard a teacher call out–over the heads of children returning from recess–that she couldn’t stand a particular child. She identified him by his full name!

Had that child been bullied in front of her, would she have done her absolute best to ensure that the bullying stopped? Or would her attitude send the unspoken message that it might just be alright in this case.

I’ve read plenty of articles on bullying to know that no one is even comfortable enough to define exactly what bullying is. Physical violence? Bad. Commenting on physical appearance? Fine if the person deserves it by being fat or different.

Honestly, I don’t know what the line is between bullying and teasing. Is teasing a part of growing up? Is teasing a precursor to flirting? Is it considered bullying when it actually bothers the person it’s aimed at? That is awfully subjective.

We could teach our children compassion from birth. That would mean parents couldn’t gossip, comment, complain, or feel superior to any other person to properly model this behavior. Have you stood outside a school for any length of time? If you have, you realize that there’s even a pecking order among the parents. Divorced moms over there. Dads of popular kids over here.

What about the parents idling in their vehicles under the very signs that proclaim “No Parking! Anytime!” Those who refuse to move their vehicles when asked or threatened, and who sometimes respond with obscenities are demonstrating their own brand of bullying.

Also, don’t think that all women have evolved beyond middle school, because there are some of us still firmly entrenched in the “let’s all be mad at X at the same time to drive her crazy” mentality.

As a parent, every time you comment about another person’s appearance, behavior, social status, etc. you are making an impression. Remember, your kids will do what you do…not what you tell them to do. Every time you think you’ve got special rights that others don’t have–like obeying traffic laws, school drop-off rules, etc.–you’ve just taught your children that they are above those things also. Except their rude behavior comes out as snarky comments between classes, rudeness in the lunch line, and not sharing the swings at recess.

It seems to simplistic, really. If we, the adults, could act like the compassionate beings we say we want the world to be filled with, we would teach our kids a valuable lesson.

Maybe keeping students silent between classes can help. I just hope that there is also silence in the parking lot and teacher’s lounge, because little ears hear everything and little eyes see everything.

2 thoughts on “Will Not Talking End the Bullying? Maybe We Should Start With The Adults

  1. I think teasing is what happens within your own family, among siblings. Anything that happens outside of the house is bullying. It has to stop. And yes, it starts with the parents. I’m not saying that you can never gossip or discuss other people in front of your children, but when it comes to commenting on someone’s height, weight, job, attire… it’s just plain wrong. I tell my kids every day (yes, every day) that some comment they make could hurt someone’s feelings. I want them to know that it might be okay to talk to me about it, but they should never bring it up to the person or their friends. Feelings get hurt and yes, kids need to learn how to toughen up… but they shouldn’t ever have to live through this at school, a place they are supposed to be safe in.

  2. You nailed it. With so much talk about bullying in our schools, people focus on the kids, when adults can be just as much to blame for this behavior. I wholeheartedly agree that women can be huge bullies to each other. And their daughters are watching, mimicking and sometimes even encouraged to exhibit this same behavior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *