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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stop dogging me around: Combating bullying.

   By Briana Booker

 We have all been in a situation where we were bullied, acted as a bully or had to stand up and walk away from a situation to not be predator or prey. It is everyone's right to not be bullied, harassed, abused or assaulted. And when someone makes you feel inferior, shamed, guilty and scared...that right is taken away from you. Everyone deserves to feel welcomed, appreciated and a sense of belonging- in real life and on the Internet.

Recently on our  Fromgirltogirl Facebook home page (add us) ,we sparked a discussion on how to tackle the issue of bullying in person and online( the Internet). It has been under discussion by the U.S Department of Education in reforming the education system.

Sherryn Daniel, blogger of , had  a wonderful recommendation on tackling the issue of bullying! Daniel believes the following would be a great tactic to combat bullying:

"A great tactic to combat bullying is to call them out for their actions, if there is a group present. And, every time the bully reacts the person getting bullied says politely, " Well, X, I don't understand why you have to call me this or do this me."... It puts all eyes on the bully and makes him/ her feel self-conscience. This is a great tactic against female bullies, since most females get paranoid about fitting in well with other women.I'm glad the U.S Dept. of Education is putting effort towards preventing bullying. I feel that the long-term affects of childhood bullying can ruin a child's life and bleed into their adulthood too. "

We strongly agree with Daniel's strategy! In addition  to this strategy, we think some self-love and peace courses need to be taught in  the education system throughout the years of social development. Just because  a person is different than one's self does not mean the person deserves to be mistreated. In fact, it takes more effort to be rude and selfish than it takes to be kind and respectful.

The next time you desire to be rude or hurtful to someone, take a step back and ask yourself why do you get a thrill from being cruel. If you are the one being bullied, ask yourself why do you accept being controlled by a bully. Have some courage to be the best you, you can be. You have the law on your side if someone physically tries to harm you. And you have something greater than the law on your side, you have the ability to transform your adversary into a friend by being confident in yourself and loving yourself.

Once, the summer before I became a high school freshman, I was a camp counselor. One of my campers was a trouble maker who bullied just about every child at the camp. One day he really misbehaved, so I took away all his recess sessions for a week. As a consequence for his actions, he had to spend all his recesses with me. 

I am not really into punishment, so I told him since he wanted to be the boss around camp he should teach the lectures. I learned, he was in the third grade and did not know how to read at all.  I realized it was one of the reasons he chose to misbehave in class rather than try to do school work. I decided it was my job to teach him how to read.

Long story short, as his ability to learn how to read throughout summer improved...his behavior improved. He stopped being  a bully.  I have no idea where he is today,but I will always remember him. I remember him for overcoming his struggle to become literate more than remembering him for being a bully. Everyone has a challenge and story behind it. We all have the choice and ability to overcome our challenges.

I recall throughout my own childhood being bullied and told to practice being a bully by my peers. Neither role is a great role to play. For example, growing up i had quite a few girls bully me about my body to the point I started becoming insecure about myself. I would intentionally wear really baggy clothes just so I would not be targeted. And I got to the point I craved attention and acceptance from people I knew mistreated me. Illogical. I have learned that making bullies accountable for their actions does help. But what helps most is being okay in my own skin and confident.As I have grown older, I have learned to not worry as much about external approvals. I approve of myself and believe in myself. Believing in myself and being loving to myself has made a wonderful and positive impact on my life. And it has enabled me to be loving to those around me- which is something bullies lack-the ability to love and be loved. Bullies prevent themselves from being loving and being loved by being infatuated with controlling and abusing others. It is a cry for help when your insecurities start to inflict you and those around you with pain.

Just because someone has done wrong upon you does not make it right for you to do wrong upon another, especially someone who has never harmed you. Think about it.

And if you see someone being bullied, do not be a bystander- power comes in groups,speak up and get people near by to tell the bully what they are doing is not kind and demeans his or her own character, not the person being bullied.

Do you have suggestions on how to tackle the issue of bullying in person and online(the Internet)? Share your thoughts!

 "Any anti-bullying advice or scheme or initiative which fails to mention accountability for bullies or for the responsible adults who are failing in their duty of care is likely to meet with at best limited success." -Tim Field, Author of Bullycide: Death at Playtime


Below are some good reads on how to combat bullying:

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