This series of posts explores the roots and provides recommended responses to childhood bullying. Here’s the introduction to the series:
Dealing with Bullies and Bullying: Introduction
Can bullying be a life lesson?
We do not live in a utopian society. Look anywhere and you will inevitably see some sort of conflict. Between humans. Between any species of animal. In fact, if we take a look all the way back into prehistory, we would inevitably see big dinosaurs picking on little ones—it’s sheer animal nature.
Helping a child who is being bullied
When helping a child who is being bullied, the child should be encouraged to express how the bullying makes them feel and what they think they should do to resolve the issue. The responsible adult should listen carefully and earnestly to what’s being said. It is vital that the child feel like they are being heard and acknowledged. Oftentimes, we give kids too little credit. They’re surprisingly perceptive and can easily see through inauthentic concern or false pretenses.
When to seek professional help with bullies
If a bullying victim is having thoughts of hurting the bully or hurting themselves, a professional counselor or therapist should be consulted. A qualified counseling professional can be recommended by school professionals or found online. At the same time, a responsible adult should privately approach the bully and explain clearly what their actions are doing to their victim(s). While it can often seem like a losing battle, try to get them to empathize with the person who was on the receiving end of their harassment.
Life lessons for the bullying victim
The life lesson for the bullying victim is one of working through problems and difficulties with reasoning and compassion—without resorting to violence to stop violence. Help the bullying victim understand the root or source of the issue. If you have a building that keeps catching fire, do you keep sending the fire department to put it out day after day or do you try to determine the cause?