Pacifying the Bully Endangers the Bullied

I lament the current societal panic attack on the rise of youth suicides due to bullying — not because of the suicide, but because they think solving the problem is getting rid of the bully.

What, getting rid of childhood bullies suddenly makes it a safer world until our children die from Medicare Rationing in 2056?

Our world is full of dangers. And even though today is safer than its ever been, dangers are not always calculable by who does or does not own a firearm. There are bullies at work, at recreation, at home, in college … people who use their overbearing personalities to achieve personal or selfish goals exist everywhere.

While we’d like to weed them out, sometimes the nice kids in school become total assholes later on. They go from geek to god and parade it. Or people get chips on their shoulders. Or life just turns sour.

In any event, life is full of people who are bullies and bullied, and since these conditions are entirely subjective, if you remove today’s bullies, the next level down will begin to seem to be the worst of them. And eventually what today might seem the nicest of people will be the least politically correct and most in need of “correcting.”

But that’s not the real danger. The real danger is that we’re teaching our children that it is more noble to be a victim than to grow strong enough to meet your threat and end it.

Imagine the United States was able to end bullying. No longer did kids pick on each other and we all lived happy, communicable lives. Suddenly another country that doesn’t gives a rat’s ass about our politically correct sensibility comes over and lays us out because we’re too damn nice and afraid of conflict.

We’re pacifying our children. We teach them that to run from conflict is how you deal with it. Let someone bigger and stronger come and rescue you, but if we’re all humans, who are you expecting them to become if you only teach them how to get someone else to solve their problem?

While you might want to take threats out of the lives of your children, consider the better task of teaching your child to deal with the problem instead of running from it. Bullies, for however much we “outlaw” them, aren’t going anywhere. They exist everywhere, at every workplace, in every culture, and in every family. We’re trying to outlaw the reality of human conflict because we want to blame conflict for weakness. Weakness IS the issue, not the abuse of strength. Stop victimizing your children and start teaching them how not to internalize a bully’s remarks. Teach them how to make better retorts, how to grow stronger and hit back. How to defend others. How to BE the defender of the weak and meet strength for strength.

But oh wait! Conflict is wrong! At least many would like you to think so. In addition, many parents would point out that: “Kids in my day didn’t have access to Facebook and Myspace to make fun of me! It’s so much harder for our kids nowadays!”

And? Are you kidding me? So you think you can save them from modernity? These kids will be living with Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media for the rest of their lives! The LAST thing you should ever imagine accomplishing is softening the transition. This is this generation’s reality — bullying from anywhere on the globe, at any time, about anything. Burying our children’s heads in the sand, or our own, does not only disservice our children, but our entire culture!

It’s time to begin sitting down with your child and stop coddling their tears and start building their defenses. Get made fun of in person? Online? Teach them how to deal with criticism. How to deflect it. How to build a snappy comeback to diffuse their words. Do they get picked on? Beat up? Send them to learn judo, krav maga or combat hapkido.

Stop protecting your beloved baby offspring and start raising future adults! Chuck freakin’ Norris! Make your spawn smart, quick, clever and teach them not to put up with shit, in this space or in cyberspace! Stop justifying the pacification of your children and start building men! Women! Real people who put an end to trouble in their own lives and offer those same lessons to those around them.

Or one day you’re going to wake up in a dust bowl, with no hills, trees or pillars, because they all, at one point or another, offered a threat to you, and instead of learning to tunnel the hills, climb the trees, or scale the mountains, you demanded they all came down to your level so you felt safer without actually having to grow or develop. And that is unacceptable. This world doesn’t care out. It doesn’t love you, nor will it love or coddle your children. Stop expecting the world to change so you can feel safer. Start growing stronger so the world thinks you’re a threat and thinks twice about taking advantage of you!