When will our society do something about bullying? It is spiraling out of control and tweens are losing their lives. I am one person, but I have a voice and I am willing to share it. We need to educate ourselves and others about bullying, it begins with “us” — who you might ask? Parents, caretakers, teachers, any advocate for a child…really. I can’t bear to read another headline about a death by bullying. At night, I find myself wondering how these families of the victim shape their lives after such an event, as death by bullying. It is happening all around us. Let’s ponder for a moment and read these questions to ourselves; What does bullying look like, is it only physical? Are there different types of bullying? Could it happen to my child or a child I love? Does bullying cause the victim long-term pain/suffering? Read on and let’s discover together. I do not have a full-proof, cut and dry, solution, but I know it begins with “us”. Climb with me.

Bullying and scapegoated. The two are similar — the latter is usually used to exile a person or group that is threatening the staus quo. Bullying and scapegoating happens more than we know. And probably more than we want to admit because it is personal.  Articles keep popping up everywhere of tweens and teens (especially girls) losing their lives over being bullied. When will this stop? What is the problem? It seems to be all about… projection.

“The technical name for this dumping process is projection, and it is the projection defense that is behind all bullying and scapegoating. With the projection defense, feelings of guilt, aggression, blame and suffering are transferred away from a person or group so as to fulfill an unconscious drive to resolve or avoid these bad feelings. This is done by the displacement of responsibility and blame to the other who serves as a target for blame both for the scapegoater and his/her supporters.” – Psychology Today

Sad, but true. Projection…the bully’s fears are projected on his/her victim. Yes, you read it right. The victim is blamed, thus the victim suffers. How difficult is it to prove social bullying? We all know that it is much easier to prove physical bullying — one might have a bruise, a broken bone, or scratch marks, etc. Physical bullying is serious. But what about social bullying? How does a child prove this? Better yet, how does a child talk about this and share with others without actual proof?

Social bullying includes spreading rumors about someone, intentionally leaving someone out, or embarrasing a person in public. How willl a child go about “taking care of business” in any of these situations? An assertive child/tween might try to handle a social bully, but let’s be honest…we are learning of the outcomes now in the news…death. The outcomes to social bullying are not positive and most certainly hold no encouragement with me; all the more reason that we must educate ourselves, one step at a time. We must uplift, encourage kindness, and most importantly intervene immediately when we see a situation occuring. (This situation can be a first occurence. Bullying does not “require” repetition, but more than not includes repeated occurences.

We should read articles to this young generation about what bullying looks, feels, and sounds like: yes, sound. Social bullying is prevalent, so it seems. In 2016, The National Bullying Prevention Center reported that more than 1 out of 5 students reported bullying. That is one of your fingers, every time you look at your hand  (Pretend that finger represents the child being bullied.) Too much. Is this preventable? Well, the National Bullying Prevention Center 2016 also reported that, “more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.”

Do we even know what this means? That data is astounding. It means, children are inherently good and we must keep steering them in a positive direction. It means children can turn this world around. They need continued support and encouragement by “us.” It does not mean we turn into helicopter “us” because we intervene. It means we care. It means we are knowledgeable. It means we are willing to make a difference. I would love to see that 57% increase to 100%… and I know that is far-reaching. But, I will never give up hope. Just a few of “us” can take responsibility to promote kindness and a no-bully policy “at home” and you better bet…it will make a difference. I love this pinterest quote, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”

Take the step. Climb the mountain with me. We can make a difference, one child at a time. Be a best friend, not a bully friend.

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