With bullying pervading the headlines, pop culture, and children’s lives, many parents are left wondering, Why has bullying become so prevalent today?
As someone who has spent a great deal of time thinking about, studying, and talking to others about bullying and how to fix it, I have come to the conclusion that it is because there is so much unrest amongst our children. There is so much pressure to belong. It's just so necessary for them to be a part of something, whether it is good or bad. If you don't belong, you are labeled a loser.
The losers of the world are the bullies of the world. Bullies are alone, and, in many cases, bullying is the only way for them to feel as though they belong. Through bullying, they acquire “friends” and “respect”. Unfortunately, because they are too young to know the difference between real friends and real respect and the kind that they are getting, they do not realize that the “respect” that they receive is actually fear, the laughs are a part of other kids trying to fit in, and their “friends” are often trying to prevent themselves from becoming the next victim.
Often, these bullies are actually bullying victims themselves at home, either by a parent or an older sibling. Hence, a bully is created. A bully wants to hurt someone as badly as he is hurting. When he chooses his victim, watch out—the game is on. For the bully, it is a game. They get gratification from hurting other people. The more miserable they make other people who they perceive as targets, the happier they are and the better that they feel. This is their way of having some type of control in their life. This is why the target of a bully is often someone who is seen as being weaker.
A bully is habitually cruel and very intimidating to his victim. It is very difficult for a child to deal with a bully—so often they feel isolated and embarrassed because they have no control over the bully, or, because, in their minds, the bully has confirmed their worst fears about themselves, whether it is a flaw that the bully picks on or the feeling that they are, in fact, the loser.
Many times the bullying does not end at school, it will follow the victim home in the form of cyberbullying through the Internet and social media sites. Many victims feel as though they are never safe from a bully—they can follow them wherever their devices go, which, these days, is everywhere.
Because of the embarrassment, they feel they cannot tell anyone, bottling up inside and withdrawing, instead of taking action to stop the bullying: telling someone, whether it is face-to-face or an anonymous outlet, like a bullying reporting form is the primary way to put a stop to the bullying. What’s worse is that most bullies continue bullying because they feel impervious, as though there is no one who will stop them and there is nothing that can be done about it.
Bullying victims must to talk to someone. The only way that the bullying is going to stop is by letting someone know that there is a problem, so that someone can help put a stop to the bullying. Make sure that your children know that you will always be there to listen without judgment and come up with creative ways to remind them of the anonymous resources at their disposal.
Jeff Bearden, known as “The Get Back on Your Feet Guy”, inspires today’s youth to get back on their feet, stand up to bullying, battle depression, and live lives free of alcohol and drugs through his motivational speaking. As a professional wrestler for over 25 years—working under the names “Giant Warrior” and “Tiger Steele”—Bearden entertained audiences all over the world, including audiences of over 75,000. Through his wrestling career, he had experiences both positive and negative that he brings to his speeches. The topics that Bearden speaks on are those that have personally affected him and people he knew from his life on the road, providing his audience with a judgment-free and relatable message. His message is as powerful as his seven-foot stature: no matter where you are in your life and no matter what cards life has dealt you, you can get back on your feet and thrive. Learn more on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.