“Kids are like that. Leave ’em alone.”
The damage they inflict can and does produce a lasting and lifelong impression.
When you were just a small child, did you ever get your butt kicked for just existing? For having a funny name, braces, a limp, or no noticeable differences at all? Just for laughing? For running from someone? Yeah, for asking the teacher to explain something again? I’m one of those who did. I hated school. Not because I was learning, but because I got bad grades due to not concentrating on the classwork because Robert Mormon, Mike Nix or Bill Crawford (to name just three) were looking over my shoulder and waiting in the hallway for me to get out of class so they could bully me. There was never anyone on my side. I was always alone. Parents always say, “Eh, kids are like that. Leave ’em alone. They’ll get over it.” That in itself condones the act. Many do not “get over it.” If I had, would I be posting this? No, I would not, and you wouldn’t be reading it.
I figure one of the reasons kids are that way may be because they are subjected to it at home. The parent NOT responding to bad situations on tv, yes, tv, leaves the child to figure, “No biggy. If dad doesn’t say anything, what the hell.” Even when the child thinks dad should respond. Yep, happens daily. “People are smart.” No, sorry, but no. People are not smart. Smart ended back in the ’50s. I know. I saw it happen. Maybe even before my sorry ass arrived, which I consider strongly. Man…..
I finished all of my school years/classes in the Northwest US. Two different towns/cities. Up in Washington. Back when bullying was a thing we all tolerated, while quietly, kids were fighting the urge to off themselves because complaining was a thing ‘weaklings’ did. Where does that thinking come from? I could drop an epithet, or an “F-Bomb” or two but will refrain. I don’t care much for cussing and see it as ‘slobbiness.’ Maybe had I not been so afraid of my classmates, I may have gotten that cancer cure together. If you want your children to make a change in the world, and who doesn’t want that, you have to start early. Not with institution, but with what may appeal to them.
Ever been afraid of spiders? Deep water? Heights? Clowns? You certainly have. Do you think those fears stopped you from doing things you would have done or wanted to do? Absolutely. Ever been afraid of being bullied? I know I avoided sports because of bullying, not because I didn’t like sports. I tried basketball once. Yep, bullied. Dropped that activity like a bad habit. Those guys are not only tough, but most of them just enjoy kicking others’ butts and sports gives them the camouflage they need. Where’s the fun in that?
Yes, I remember the very first time I was bullied. I was still living in my home town of Aberdeen, WA. I was outside playing in a side yard of a house my mother, two brothers and I were visiting in the south side of town off of West King or Scott or Marion St. I was about ten years old. There were some kids playing across the street on the south side of the street. Three of them came across the street to where I was. There was a tall boy, to me at least, and two shorter boys. I didn’t know them. I looked up right at the tall kid as he closed in and punched me square in the nose. No provocation at all. I was just playing. It hurt, I cried, I bled. I ran inside, told mom. We went back outside. No one around. I don’t know if she ever approached the house or inhabitants of the house, I pointed it out to her, where the boys came from. I rather doubt that she did. That was the start of many years of being bullied and pushed around. I had no idea that this was going to be a part of my life for this long. I am no longer bullied, haven’t been for a lot of years, but if it were easy to “get over,” you wouldn’t be reading this. Right?
Now, I’m not going to sit here and detail every single incident of my experience, but I will reveal where much of it came from and, finally, what I am doing about it, and probably post a few links to some resources for dealing with what lasts after the bullying is over with.
This was not easy. Some of my family members, well, actually one, saw that something was not right with me. She didn’t even live in my home, but when my parent’s marriage fell apart, she stepped in. I have spoken about Gammy in my other blog entries. She was a supreme, A-1, top shelf, always there for me champ. (You know, I hadn’t expected it but this is tough to write, not because I type at a snail’s pace, but digging this stuff up is very abrasive.)
At one point my uncle challenged me. I was all of 14 years old and he decided that he wanted to make me tough so I would stand up to the perps. He actually said to me, “Feel froggy, jump!” A real shining star Chuck was. We called him “Tinker.” I haven’t an idea why that name, but till that day, he meant the world to me. From that day forward, he never was the uncle I saw him as before. I didn’t even go to his funeral, which doesn’t credit me with anything, but he wasn’t the man I thought he was. The older I became and the more I relived that day, the smaller and more insignificant Tinker became. Think about what you say to your children, nieces and nephews. Be a responsible adult. Don’t make them feel the way I felt then and do today. Don’t bully them.
I’ve come to a point where I am ready to just hate my father and never speak with him again. That is not good. I don’t want that in my life, nor do I want him to be in that place. I want him to be in my warehouse in the “coolest things ever in my life” bin. Right on top, but it gets harder to reserve that spot every day.
Do you want to pass away while those who once looked up to you detest you silently? No, you don’t.
When I was attending Lincoln High School in Seattle in my senior year during the 1971-1972 season, I lived with my father and his family, my two step-sisters, one step-brother and step-mother. We lived in the Magnolia district. Affluent neighborhood, well manicured. He wasn’t rich, nor was my step-mother, but they had somehow “walked into money.” My father had somehow attracted Trish who had been the wife of one of his business friends, Digby Brookins. Yep, that was his name. I don’t believe that I had ever met him, but I know that as a child, my father had taken us to his house when it was in Aberdeen, WA., while we lived in Aberdeen, to visit while my father was still married to my mother. (I haven’t a clue how I remember this stuff or even collate it, but somehow I do.) So, I do remember something about him before my father took his wife.
Anyway, back in Seattle, while going to school and rocking Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad, I was finishing school and living with “dad.” He has always been an abrasive type of guy as far back as I can remember. He left when I was around eight years old. Always felt like he was bullet-proof. He’d say things without regard to who was listening or who even cared. I experienced a bit of this directly while in school. Let me elaborate.
Now, I really was a typical teenaged kid, and probably a bit more so because I had just moved to the big city. Bright lights, fast cars, etc. I liked rock and roll, “girls,” cussing, all the dumb stuff kids feel is important. My father was, and is, 21 years older than I, so when I was 18 and new to Seattle, he was 39, well in December of that year, 1971, he would be. I arrived around the middle of 1971. I didn’t last till Christmas of 1972. Being that my father was now nearly 40 years old, his distaste for teenagers was growing stronger daily. Carrie Jo was around 14, Mike was around 16, Ginny was at least 17, and I was 18 in January of 1972. A house full of teens. This was not good for my father. On top of all of this, he had this great Kenwood stereo in the house and Black Sabbath sounded great on it. So, the stage is set for disaster.
I was being inspired by the drummers I was listening to on these “kiddy” records and tunes, my father was hating it, my step siblings were ambivalent and my step mother knew that teens are like that. She was pretty cool with it. The point here is that with all of this going on, he had new material with which to launch his plan of berating me. I can’t say that he really had a ‘plan,’ but he NEVER fought the urge.
One time I asked him if he could pick up a stereo headset for me so I could listen to music without bothering anyone else. “Hell yeah, I’d be glad to.” He did. It was actually a cheap piece of crap. The audio was really poor, but at the time it didn’t matter much to me because I just wanted to afford him less to whine about. The craftsmanship was bad as well. So, as I listened to “The Wizard,” “NIB,” “Got This Thing On The Move,” and rocked out, he would make faces, rude gestures, and generally be shitty about me listening to music. I eventually gave it up and just played records when no one was home. Eventually I figured out ways of staying away from home as much as possible. I had a buddy in school who had a pool table in his living room and cool parents. I used to hang out with him, Lee, a lot. Many sleep overs, even had a bed in a spare room that was available. Woodland Park Zoo just across the street. I ended up spending a lot of time at Lee’s or with him and all of our school buddies. He even married a girl I dated once. They have kids and are still happy.
Now, here’s the bully factor. He never addressed me as a boy, which, even at 18, I was, as far as actions and emotions go, but as a ‘rug rat’ and was never discreet with the term.
The things that he said to me in relation to my music, my hair styles, clothes, etc., were very denigrating. Again, if these did not mean anything, I wouldn’t be sitting here now writing about it. Me remembering these incidents today still gives me a bad taste. I had anticipated that when I moved from small town Aberdeen to Seattle I would get to become friends with my father. No sir-ee. From the very first moment, it was a downhill slide. Yeah, he took us all out on his cool cab-over boat, and……let me think……hmmm……I don’t remember much else that he did with us all. Oh yeah, because he never did, but his comments and insults sure stuck. I’m 59 years old and still remember them. “Kids are like that. Leave ’em alone.” Yeah, sure. So are adults. Yes, so are adults. Who do you think children pick up the bully attitude from? Adults and other children, so that would be from humans if you haven’t figured it out. “Bully” doesn’t mean ‘child.’ It means ‘bully.’
Be careful with what you say to your children. They will remember. They will act on it. If anything that remotely resembles bullying occurs in your home, it’s bullying and is occurring in your home and you are allowing it.
I don’t really have much more to say at this point, but as I usually do, I’ll be editing this entry now and again, and will certainly add more resources.
Please read the citations below and visit the sites for more info. If your child is being bullied and you think your child is just weak, you are bullying by not acting. If you are complacent to a victim of bullying, you are a bully.
“Make A Sound For A Voice Unheard.”
Text included below.
Facts and Statistics
The numbers continue to rise every month…
– It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
– American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
– 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
– 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
– 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
– 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
– 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
– 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
– Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
– 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
– Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
– Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
– 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
– 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
– 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
– 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
– According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
– Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.
Types Of Bullying
Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior:
• Physical – hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack. Damage to or taking someone else’s belongings may also constitute as physical bullying.
• Verbal – name calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks
• Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending abusive mail, and email and text messages (cyber bullying).
• Cyber Bullying – any type of bullying that is carried out by electronic medium. There are 7 types including:
1. Text message bullying
2. Picture/video clip bullying via mobile phone cameras
3. Phone call bullying via mobile phones
4. E-mail bullying
5. Chat-room bullying
6. Bullying through instant messaging (IM)
7. Bullying via websites
Bully Related Suicide
Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. And in most cases, the young people die from hanging. (AAS)
A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)
Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are “creeping up.” (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl’s age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)
• Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl’s age. (“Constantly Bullied, He Ends His Life at Age 11,” by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)
• Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
• In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)
Bullying and Homosexuality
In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network — GLSEN)
Research indicates that LGB youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)
In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. (“From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America” — GLSEN and Harris Interactive)
According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students…
• Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
• Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed
• About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.
• Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school
• Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response
“Be Bully Free”
-Text Included Below-
Bullying Fact Sheet
Did you know?
- Over fifty percent (50%) of the adult population has reportedly experienced some form of violence at work, at home and in the community. Up to thirty-five percent (35%) of chronic adolescent bullies spend time in prison as adults. Childhood bullies, who are not motivated to change through training programs and intervention, most often become adult bullies.
- Eighty percent (80%) of adolescents reported bullying incidences during their school years.
- Ninety percent (90%) of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
- Fifteen percent (15%) of students bully regularly and up to thirty percent (30%) are victims of bullies.
- Up to 7 percent (7%) of 8th graders stay home at least once a month because of bullies.
- Bullying is learned behavior that is taught and/or experienced at home or at school.
- Most bullying is verbal.
- Bullying peaks in the middle school years.
- Both boys and girls bully — with female bullying taking indirect, manipulative forms.
- Bullying can have devastating long-term effects on its victims.
- Teachers and parents have reported that role-playing from the perspective of both victims and bullies is highly successful in helping children understand the causes and effects of bullying behavior.
- Bullying is anything that hurts someone, belittles them or makes them feel bad. Some types of bullying are:
Physical (punching, pushing)
Relational (leaving someone out of a game or group on purpose)
Extortion (stealing someone’s money or toys)
Cyber bullying (using computers, the Internet, mobile phones, etc. to bully others)
Don’t condone this behavior in any form at anytime. How ever you say it or define it, it is bullying and is damaging and seriously destructive.
Peace to all,