I was bullied in Elementary School. It was fairly ugly in that I was called hideous names, teased mercilessly and singled out for reasons I still don't know. In second grade the classroom teacher exacerbated things by singling me out for her own brand of torture in front of the class on a near daily basis. I am fully aware that I was no help to my cause as a child. I cried, I acted up and out, I was angry and hateful because I believed I was disliked and unlikeable, ugly and essentially of no value. It didn't help that home life was not much different from school life. If anything, what was done to me in school was a reinforcement of the low opinion I already had of myself from home, so my inner turmoils ran very deep.
Being the parent of 4 kids, each of whom have been teased in varying degrees at one time or other, my radar is keen. Recently my 11 year old daughter E came home from school and told us that she was being called names at school. Not for the first time. It seems to have tapered off for now, but she was deeply hurt by it. 6 year old C came home last fall and several time told us that her classmates made fun of her "hairy legs" -- she wanted to know how old she had to be to shave! Why on earth this is something that a 1st grader has to worry about is beyond me!
I tell my kids all the time that they must try to remember their own feelings when they lash out at others. I like to think it makes a difference, that we each have learned from being hurt by others. Bullying does nothing but fail at giving the bully a sense of superiority and because the bully fails at this goal, they continue to bully in any attempt to attain some false glory. I have to wonder why this feeling of superiority is so important to so many, how it is that we as a society have not found a way to bring it under control and why it still runs so rampant with so much education.
Teach kindness, generosity and patience. Don't put up with bullying and definitely teach your kids what to do if it does happen. Be proactive! I cannot say if my friend SRT actually said these words or quoted them, but she posted them on FB today and they speak for themselves: