Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bullies Aren't Always Your Enemy.


Bullying doesn't always come in the form of teenage students making fun of you in the halls of your high school. It's a wide-spread pandemic breeding inside social networks. It used to be if you were being bullied, you at least got a reprieve while you were away from school. Not anymore. Technology has seen to that. Teens are so immersed into social networking that it has become the window that bullies climb through without hesitation. Teens build fake accounts on FB, Twitter, MySpace, or any number of other sites in order to ridicule or taunt a fellow student.
Now the teen can't get away from it at all and girl bullies use tactics that are far more emotionally damaging than two girls pulling hair after school. "Mean Girls" as they've become known in the lexicon of our time, love to send silent threats, where it's what they don't say that can push a teen over the edge causing her to do the unthinkable and end her life. Many don't get the suicide is the only release they know to end the daily suffering. It's sickening that people actually get enjoyment from tearing down another person. Reducing them to the point where they feel so worthless, they are given one of two choices...fight back or give up. 

While I was aware of bullying when I wrote, "Forever ME" I never realized how much I didn't know about it until I began to talk to teens who had faced it head on. Girls are 100% in agreement, that the way boys bully and girls are completely different. Boys it's almost always a physical threat, with girls...the attack is psychological.  The mean girls don't want to just make the teen they are after afraid, they want to demean her, and make her feel like her self worth is less than zero. To them the thought of her killing herself is viewed as a form of entertainment. And should this teen actual give up and commit suicide, these girls will enjoy a brief moment of victory and then as if it were a breeze on their shoulder...move on to the next victim. 

However the one place we don't expect bullies to stalk and taunt us is in our home. More often than not, parents can be worse than strangers, due in large to the fact there is no one there to stop them. They're your parents, you have to listen to them. But before we go further let me say, there's a huge difference to discipline a kid who is out of control and beating down a child simply because you're bigger than they are. Parental bullying often comes in the form of a step-parent. One who wishes you weren't part of the equation and if they have a bitterness towards the absent father or mother then usually the child is the target of their rage. And we wonder what has become of our world. Sibling bullying is another form of terror that often goes unnoticed. The teen who is being attacked often won't say anything because they know eventually they are going to be all alone with the bully and fear the worst. It brought me to the question; "Why don't teens tell someone when they are being attacked?"
1. Fear of reprisal.
2. Telling someone means they are weak and they don't want to be looked on as a snitch.
3. The parent/teacher or adult either thinks it's not serious or thinks they're just trying to get attention. 

What's worse is when an adult tries to put it on the teen to deal with it...with insane instructions like: Just ignore them... Stomp on their foot...(really? Stomp on their foot?) Just avoid them.
When the parent should march themselves to the school and demand to see the teacher and principal together. 

Telling is not as simple as it sounds though. Persecuted teens for some reason feel like it's their cross to bear and they should accept it. This is how guns get brought to school...out of fear, how kids snap and go on a rampage...

Kids get into fights, but the days of two teens getting into it after school to simply settle their differences is over. Teen fights have now become the new Pay-Per-View event, where everyone with a cell phone is there to record it so it can be played over and over again adding more psychological damage to the bullied teen.
We have to find a way to encourage our teens to TELL SOMEONE if they are getting bullied.
There's no shame in telling. I've said in recent interviews about my book "If someone is bullying you and you're scared... PLEASE TELL SOMEONE! If that person won't listen, TELL SOMEONE ELSE! IF no one in your life listens, TELL ME! I will listen!" And I mean that, because it will not go away on its own.

3 comments:

Jessica said...

very well written, thank you for this. I was bullied in 9th grade so this hits home for me & I worry about my children getting bullied everyday especially the closer they get to high school. I do my best to make them strong & love themselves but I know it doesn't take much for someone to be able to tear someone else down.

Author Thomas Amo said...

Thank you Jessica, I understand this one only too well myself, I suffered through bullying in middle school. I am thankful I had a strong mom in my life. She took action right away and moved me from the school. After that, thankfully, I never encountered that again.

As a mom I know you would be just as strong in your sons lives too, giving them the protection they deserve.
Thank you for your reply!
Cheers Thomas

Riza Ponciano said...

It's really insane how bullying can affect a person. These kids deserve better.

Very well-written. Thanks for raising awareness regarding this topic. :)