Rabbi Michael Lerner wrote in his book, From the Ashes, “When People have learned to desanctify (not respect, lacks compassion) each other, to treat each other as means to their our own ends, to not feel the pain of those who are suffering, we end up creating a world in which these terrible acts of violence become more common…
Bullying is about contempt. As Webster’s dictionary defines it…contempt is the act of despising someone or something, holding disdain for someone, the embodiment of a total lack of respect for others and a willful (not the act of a child stretching their wings) disobedience of authority, whether at home, school, or towards others in charge, i.e. scout leader, coach. In other words, bullies look down on others because they feel superior and believe their targets are worthless, inferior individuals.
Children aren’t born with violent genes. More like sponges, their actions and belief systems are learned elsewhere. Listed below are some indicators that a child may be a bully taken from The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander, by Barbara Coloroso, that might help parents and teachers identify a certain child may have bullying tendencies and start intervention efforts to head off behavior that may lead to bullying in later years.
- An imbalance of power and a child takes advantage of it,
- Premeditated intent to harm where similar to the above photo, they know the targets schedule or route home,
- Threatens further aggressions if a target doesn’t do what the bully wants,
- Regularly instills terror in the target,
- An attitude of entitlement to control,
- The need to dominate and abuse someone else,
- An intolerance toward differences in individuals that should be cherished and accepted, and,
- That he/she can exclude anyone not deemed worthy of respect or care.
Most bullying occurs between 4th and 10th grade and then most children grow out of it. However, there are some that never grow out of the bullying scenario and continues to practice it in the home and take it to the workplace, therefore perpetuating the cycle. A really great interactive website to help a child, whether you think he/she is the bully, the target or hopefully just a bystander is Stop Bullying Now developed by the Health Resources and Service Administration, US Department of Health and Human Resources, at http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids. Just like adults, many children do not know what to do when they encounter a bullying event. With knowledge and practice our children can help themselves and help the target without harm to anyone. There are many anti-bullying resources online to help a child through a very painful and depressing period of their childhood. Please take the time to search on the terms ‘anti-bully or bullying’ and check some credible websites out if you are concerned for your child.