On bullying strategies.

Because a lot of adults around me know I was a bullied kid, they sometimes seek my input on bullying strategies to help their kids. They ask me what works.

I hesitate to tell them the truth, here. I evade and give half-answers instead, worried that the truth will kill their desire to support their kid in a hard time and drive them to a “tough it out” mentality.

Because the truth is, I don’t know. I never found something that worked. Rather, it would be more accurate for me to say that the only thing that ever worked was graduating high school and immediately moving 800km away.

I can tell you what doesn’t work: What doesn’t work is ignoring. What doesn’t work is walking away when your walking away isn’t supported by the adults around you. What doesn’t work is toughing it out. What doesn’t work is having friends (particularly when your “friends” are the ones doing the bullying). What doesn’t work is trying to be less sensitive. What doesn’t work is fighting back (except in the rare occasions it’s one-on-one, and even then only if adults don’t find out and you cause enough damage to the other person that they become terrified of you. Not exactly a strategy I’d recommend). What doesn’t work is trying to fit in. What doesn’t work is ignoring the concept of “fitting in” to “be yourself”. What doesn’t work is avoiding people. What doesn’t work is skipping school. What doesn’t work is self-injury. What doesn’t work is drinking yourself numb and compensating in the morning with so much coffee you shake all morning (only did that once). What doesn’t work is skipping class to hide in the bathroom. What doesn’t work is telling a teacher when the teacher will punish you for tattling. What doesn’t work is telling your parents when your parents tell you to work harder at not being so damn weird. What doesn’t work is telling a teacher when the teacher is one of your bullies. What doesn’t work is telling your parents when they’ll make fun of you for being upset about someone bullying you. What doesn’t work is telling authority figures who will blame you for the fact that others are abusing you.

What doesn’t work is putting the onus on the bullied to not be bullied.

What works? Hell if I know.

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One thought on “On bullying strategies.

  1. […] realize that with all my focus on what not to do, what doesn’t work, how taking situations at face value isn’t necessarily a good idea because kids might not […]

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