Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Bully and the Bullied: No One Wins

There has been much interest in bullying over the past few years. There are programs and tips and school programs to address this issue. We tend to focus largely on kids and how bullying impacts them, and rightly so. But we need to also realize kids who are bullies generally grow up to be bullies too. If you think about it, I am sure everyone can remember a bully they had to deal with in an adult setting. Maybe it could have been a boss or supervisor. Perhaps a co-worker or customer.
 The traits of an adult bully are similar to those of a child bully. The exhibit aggression and intimidation in their interactions with others and promote negative  behaviors. They fail to communicate well with those they bully and criticize them. They discount the work others do and  belittle the work done. They may spread untruths and have an attitude of knowing it all and are prone to verbal attacks  against others. They tend to derail any attempts to create a healthy  work or community environment. You can see the similarity between the adult and child bully. Consequently, the bullied adult will have many of the same issues as the bullied child; they may have stress related symptoms like fatigue, sleeplessness, physical aches and pains, and may have frequent absences from work. The avoidance of work is similar to the avoidance of school for kids. They may also be moody, apathetic, irritable and anxious.  The bully and the bullied will often display the same set of symptoms: fatigue, anxiety, physical illness, frustration and anger.
If we are to address bullying at the school level , we must also realize there are bullies and bullied who are the teachers, counselors and administrators in our school systems. All bullies need to be identified and  be offered assistance to overcome this. Some bullies don't know they are  "bullying" as they have been very successful  in business and other areas by using these tactics. Awareness is always the first step to identify how deep a problem runs. There are numerous websites that provide  additional information and resources for  bullying prevention. The best and most comprehensive is It addresses both sides of bullying and is categorized by age of the  respondant from children to adults.  As with all things, if we are to provide our children a  better learning environment, we must start with ourselves. We need to be sure our own houses are in order before we begin to attempt to address an issue. It is time to stand up for  those that have been bullied and provide both the bully and the bullied an avenue to change their pattern for the better.     

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