Being a kid has always been tough – Junior to High school, these years can be very tough on some kids as they skirt the perilous roads on the journey of self-discovery. As we’re all no doubt aware, a lot of kids take their own lives due to depression, self-hate and other mental afflictions that are caused by the broad term known as BULLYING. The world can be a perilous place and with the advent of social media, mass communication and the perpetuity demanded by the internet – young minds are very vulnerable to the effects. Stimuli are very influential with regard to human behavior (Latane, Nida: 1985). Hence when inundated with a flurry, young people react certain ways due to the fact that their brains are still developing well into their teens as such reactions are predicated on emotions (Frontline, 1985).
Parents have a great responsibility when it comes to bullying. They are the main purveyors of culture for their kids – most of the learning that conditions children for the world, happens within the home. Parent should instil certain rules and limits within their children as they grow because its been proven that parents can help shape the centers of the brain that deal with empathy and concern via conditioning, wherein they reinforce the positives of being a kind and generous person (Frontline, 1985). The problem is that most parents underestimate the extent of bullying in this our contemporary world. They think it’s over blown and that kids are being nancies, that ribbing is a part of the school culture. These ideas have further been reinforced by the prevalence and popularity of teen movies that promote the jock-nerd stereotype. Bullies by proxy feel they need to dominate to get power. These influences can be very dangerous when a parent is absent – the child then learns from television what right and wrong and is susceptible to the ideas espoused and because they’re still developing – they won’t rationalize and differentiate between right and wrong.
Children need support, now more than ever in this changing world. I remember being in Middle School and facing some semblance of racism termed as a joke at the private school I went to in Germany. People would say things and the parents would assume it was innocuous because it was simply a joke and kids being kids and they would grow out of it. And I remember wondering if there was something wrong with me, if being what I was, was a problem. Luckily my parents realized that I was the only student of color in my class of 140 students later and I changed schools. But I believe a boys will be boys mentality pervaded the school and bullying was acceptable. Teachers would hear things and laugh. This is another problem, because just like Parents are leaders in the home, Teachers are parents in the school. To stop bullying, they need to recognize that it’s a problem, and more importantly, they need to act on the problem. Simply being cognizant is not irrelevant – it doesn’t suggest action and inherently change. This means creating groups wherein bullies and victims interact, make bullies understand how victims feel. I believe the blue/brown eyed experiment would be a boon as it would allow the bullies to see how their victims feel (Limber, 2004).
Therefore it becomes apparent that both sets of parents are integral to stopping bullying – those at home should foster ideals of compassion, tolerance and kindness while those at school should monitor and condition the children too. Teachers should reward kindness and punish bullying; doing this can go a long way toward corralling bullying. Because even if it’s banned at school, once the children are off school grounds, they have no oversight and authority – changing how the children think as opposed to simply conditioning them should be paramount.
Latane, Bibb and Steve Nida (1981). Ten Years of Research on Group Size and Helping. Psychological Bulletin. 89(2). Mar. 1981. pp. 308-324
Limber, Susan P. (2004). Implementation of the Olweus bullying intervention program in American schools: Lessons learned from the field.
Frontline: 1985. A Class Divided
Frontline: 1985 The Teenage Brain