Bullies. They are a fact of life, no matter how much we all wish it wasn't so. As a parent of 4 kids, whose ages are very spread apart, I have had a long range of years to hone my radar for spotting them. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there seem to be an exponentially greater number of them now than when my older kids were younger. Unless my radar is just that much better.
We teach our children to respect the adults in their world, but even that has become difficult. How do you teach a child to respect parents of their peers, when a fair number of those parents are condoning their children's bullying behavior OR are endorsing it by allowing their children to associate with it?
Even worse? The teachers that downplay it, ignore it or are so conditioned to the behavior that they don't see it, until it is out of control. By this point the damage has been done, making it difficult -- even impossible to teach your children that their teachers can be trusted to do the right thing and protect them. Schools have a zero tolerance policies in place? I say BS. It is so ingrained into our culture, that they ignore much of it, which only serves to perpetuate the problem. Here again, how do you teach your kids to respect the very adults who so obviously have little respect for them?
Instead of the bully being made to understand their behavior is wrong, to apologize or learn how to STOP the behavior, their parents allow it to continue to happen. They are so uninterested in examining the bad behavior of their children, because they might have to examine their parenting or even themselves, that they actually perpetuate the problem by making the victims of their children further victimized by lying and/or spreading stories to other parents that turn the victim -- or even the victims parents -- into the problem. Parents of other children who, either believe it and don't discuss it with the parents of their children's friends or ignore it as not being their problem are just as bad. Hell, they happily allow their children to play with the bully, but eventually the bully will show their true colors and by then they have burned the bridge with the other victims and their families.
My kids are far from perfect and they can be pretty damned mean to each other, but they are called out on it when it happens within earshot of me. Unfortunately, at least one of my kids has built such a barricade around themselves, that it is damned near impenetrable and another is beginning to do the same. The end result of this is that the victim slowly becomes like the tormentor. Cracking that armor and getting them to let others in makes them vulnerable -- especially to bullies. It is a difficult and heartbreaking situation for a parent.