As I was sorting through my daily Google Alerts, I found this article amongst the bunch. As a rule of thumb, I try and write about bullying and abuse by peers that occurs in the United States. However, this article which came from India really jumped out at me. If the title alone is not discouraging, the article itself is chop full of reasons to defend this problem we face. How can bullying be a good thing?
I understand the fact that children need to learn that life is hard and not always nice. That’s true; this is a dog eat dog society and people will throw one another under the bus to get what they want. It can be a vicious cycle. I think its important to teach children to stand up for themselves and take an assertive approach to the world. Also, its important to learn good leadership and healthy social skills so they can learn to get along with others and be productive. Conflict resolution is vital in the world today. Children do need to grow up learning these things.
One the flip side, when is abuse good? Abuse is not healthy folks. Constantly verbally, physically and sexually attacking others is not healthy. Since when is it good to beat someone down and break them to a point where some never recover a good thing? I guess this means someone developing depression, PTSD and social anxiety is a good thing too? This stuff happening daily in schools and the workplace is a good thing?
It’s a matter of limits folks! Knowing when it’s a matter of standing up for oneself and others and when it goes into abuse is vital in this. Children can learn healthy behaviors and grow up to be productive without this nonsense occurring. The bottom line is that people need to understand when and where to draw the line. Its pretty simple once you think about it. Teasing, joking around and such is just that; teasing and joking around. Friends do this and all in fun. However, it becomes an issue of peer abuse when the person says “Stop! Its not funny” or other things indicating that the situation is not but hurtful. “No means NO and stop means STOP.” When someone indicates they are bothered by the behavior then its time to stop! You can tell when someone is being hurt or affected as its not that hard. Really, it’s a matter of teaching this to children. Once they learn this, as adults, they will have this understanding can set these limits for their own children.
Limits and knowing them are everything in this. Bullies have no sense of boundaries and while they are young, its important to catch this and teach them this. Otherwise, they grow up believing rules do not apply to them and they have carte blanche to do as they please. Rules and laws exist for a reason. People just have to learn them and understand them. Its not different with the problem of bullying. In my opinion, this is healthy for everyone.
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California.