The Bullied Become Bullies

I believe the main reason bullying has become such a problem is our continued mistreatment of children.  We are bullies to them.  We are sarcastic and cynical and disrespectful.  We lord our power over them.  We hit them.  We say everything we want, however we want, as loud as we want, and tell them they cannot respond similarly.  We tell them how they feel and how they should feel.  We tell them what their intentions are.  We don't ask them or help them think through these complicated issues.  We don't practice patience.  We publicly shame them.  We don't trust them or have faith in their abilities.  We tell them what they can wear and say and when they can eat, sleep, even go to the bathroom.  It's insane.  We say "you can be anything", but our actions are fear-filled and insecure and opposite our words.  We give them no autonomy or control over their own lives.

This is especially true during middle school years, when kids are earnestly trying to become individuals.  What's our narrative?  Teenagers are awful liars and mouthy and stupid.  Don't let them date or even THINK about dating.  We're so mean to them.  No wonder they don't talk to us.  They take out their frustrations in unhealthy ways against others, their own age, they feel they can control.  Or they get into drugs and other self-destructive behaviors because we've created an environment where they will seek out a way to feel completely "out of control"... finally free.

The best way to teach is by example.  We are also bullies to one another.  If you look at our politicians, newscasters, TV shows, memes... our example is cynicism, sarcasm, hyperbole, harsh judgments, and division.  Think about what you say and what you do with your kids.  You might be creating a bully.  They emulate your actions.  Ever notice how everyone complains about terrible drivers?  Someone HAS to be responsible, guys... and yet, everyone is out there complaining about everyone else.  Are you the shitty driver?  Think before you act.
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