Post # 1
So with all the recent talk about bullying going in, I have been reminded about something that happened in in elementary school when I was about 8, that has bothered me ever since. A little girl in one of my classes was bullied throughout the school year. She was fat and poor and I guess that was why she was picked on. And although I never did any of the bullying myself, I also never stepped in to stand up for her nor did any of the other kids. Over the years, particularly as my own daughter has reached that age, I have wondered what happened to that little girl. I was never the victim of bullying myself, and as far as I can tell, there were only a couple of kids who actually did the bullying, but there were many more of us who were too shy or scared to step up and call someone out about it. Now that I have grown into a much more vocal and confident adult, I am pretty appalled at my 8 year old self. I guess I was just wondering what role people view themselves as being in. And perhaps, if a large majority of the bullying problem could be solved by getting those “bystander kids” to act when they see someone being targeted. Thoughts?
Post # 3
Both me and my brother were bullied quite a lot in school. For me, I just grew particularly thick skin and am now able to let things roll off my back without issue. My brother was pushed into servere depression and actually had to be hospitalized at one point (he’s MUCH better now, thankfully).
I think kids don’t step in because they do not want to become the targets of the bullies themselves. They fear the actions being re-directed on to them. And honestly, at that age, I can’t blame them for that.
Post # 4
I was bullied quite extensively in jr high and high school… to the point that I became deeply depressed my sophomore year (spent 5mths in bed) and actually quit school my junior year. It was almost unreal, how bad it was.
Even though I had a couple of friends that didn’t actually do the bullying or start the rumors, etc… they never stopped what the others did while sitting at the lunch table and really to me they were worse than those that were actually doing the bullying.
I’ve never been one to stand by and let someone be hurt intentionally, or humiliated by another without saying something.
I really wish more people would step in and show the poor kids/people being bullied that SOMEONE DOES CARE… it really does speak volumes!
Post # 5
You’re certainly not alone. A girl I went to school with was obese and did not have a lot of friends. She invited probably 50 of us to her Bar Mitzvah, including a lot of the “popular” girls. I was never mean to her, but we weren’t exactly friends. I remember my mom telling me how sad it was that she felt the need to invite people who weren’t really good friend to her Bar Mitzvah, and that I should consider it a compliment and try to be friends with her. I was nice to her in front of certain people, but around the “cool girls”, I would just ignore her – which at the time, I justfied because it was better than being mean to her like other girls were. The truth is, it was because I didn’t want to end up being the victim of those girls too. They were NASTY and I was scared of them.
The good news is that thanks to facebook, I’ve caught up with her and talked to her about this stuff. She recently had a gastric bypass and is looking and feeling great. Unfortunately, we can’t change the behaviors of anyone but ourselves and our own children – so while we do need to be mindful of not being bystanders, we also need to keep reminding our kids that it really does get better.
Post # 6
mandypop I actually have tried to look up that girl on facebook, but she has a very common name and there are about a bazillion people who have her same name. I thought maybe I would apologize… you know… like 25 years later.
Post # 7
i grew up with a sister who is mentally challanged and she (as well as me, my brothers and sisters) caught a lot of shit for it – it hurt me personally so i always stepped in when it came to her but as far as other peoples bullying, i never took part but i cant say i stepped in either at least i cant think of a time when i did. shame on me. my children will learn to treat other people with respect – those kids who bully usually have troubles at home – just because someone might be different doesnt mean that they should be made fun of – something all parents should teach their children.
Post # 8
@eeniebeans: If you could find her I SO would… I actually got a fb message about a year ago from one of the main girls that bullied me… just about 10 years since it all happened… and I can say that it really blew me away.
I had long since forgiven her, but to see that she was effected by her actions too and took the time to apologize was really nice.
Post # 9
I was typically friends with the people that were being bullied. I was too shy to actively stop it (and really, what are you supposed to do unless you’re the cool kid who can step in?), but I was a support system and I did what I could. I did alert a few teachers, I guess, to things that were going on, but nothing super dramatic. There wasn’t a ton of it in my school, though, it happened infrequently.
Post # 10
I did not bully but I did sit back and do nothing to stop it. There were always one or two people (girls) usually who were picked on. I was pretty quiet and shy anyway. But I’m sure I thought, “Better them than me”. Kind of selfish but in a way, very Darwinian.
This was of course before the “internets”-I can’t even imagine being bullied in this day and age. At least you used to be able to escape it at home but I think it’s way worse for kids now. I think I would rather someone just kick the crap out of me than torment me online. It’s just so horrible, the psychological damage.
Post # 11
I was bullied for my weight, but I never told my family because I was embarassed. I did have “friends”, but I don’t remember a time where any of them stuck up for me. I remember walking home from the bus stop once and a girl followed me, making fun of my clothes and saying horrible things to me.
However, there were kids in school who had it WAY worse than me. And I dont ever remember sticking up for them either 🙁
I think the popularity of the internet has made bullying far worse than it was when I was a kid though. Some of the stories that are coming out lately just blow my mind. So sad 🙁
Post # 12
I was bullied a lot in grade school and middle school. I was over weight, wore braces, was a nerdy egg head, and much poorer than many of my classmates. Any one of these items made me a target. I was very lucky that I had a wonderful girl friend who would stick up for me from time to time although she herself was a target too. I think we knew as long as we had each other we were fine, and she was a great friend to me. There is a show now called “The Middle” and I can really relate to the daughter on that show. I think I was a fatter version of that girl. LOL. Yeah, I can sort of see why people picked on me.
I was incredibly lucky, when I went to high school, that I decided to go to a different school, outside of the suburb district I grew up in. I went to an inner city school that was a little more progressive in many ways. It attracted a lot of non-conformist kids and in that environment I thrived. A fresh start, with open minded kids made all the difference. I am not saying the bullying completely stopped, because I think no matter where you go, there are always going to be those people who can only make themselves feel good by denigrating others, but it was tolerable, plus my friends outnumbered my enemies so it was bearable.
I like that the world is really beginning to address bullying in schools. I like to think that some kids are being spared what I went through.
Post # 13
I stepped in and stopped it. We had a kid in our class in fifth grade who was a little slower to learn things than everyone else. He was on reading level 48, I was on reading level 92. (Whatever that meant, he was really far behind is all I knew.)
There was a group of four snobby girls who would bully everyone and no one said anything. They were like four little bully girl stereotypes. One was a bigger girl, pretty homely, who always threatened to beat people up. One was blond and pretty and snotty. One was dishwater blond, an obvious sidekick, and had no spine without the other thugs around. The last girl was just tagging along so she wouldn’t get bullied.
I was new, and bullying was non-existent at my old school. Especially for things you couldn’t help like looks or intelligence. I saw that group making fun of this kid, calling him stupid, and throwing his glasses on the ground. I walked over there, grabbed his glasses off the ground, shouted “What is WRONG with you?!” then grabbed his hand and pushed them out of the way to go play on the swingset. I had to sit with those girls in the classroom, and it pretty much made the rest of that year SUCK for me, but they never picked on him again.
I saw that kid later, he was entering my college as a freshman my junior year. I smiled because I know that those girls who were so mean to him never made it to college. Irony.
In my experience standing up to bullies didn’t make me a hero or popular. It made me a social pariah because it drew all that bully attention away from the weak kids onto me. Not a big deal in fifth grade, but the older I got the worse that was. In middle school some girl I didn’t even know tried to beat me up for the mean kids who were too scared to try. LOL. Well, she tried. By high school I had grown particularly vitriolic in my speech and didn’t have to worry about anyone saying anything to my face or trying to beat me up. I never did tolerate bullying, but it didn’t win many friends, it just forced me to grow a thick skin.
I’m not really sure what to teach my daughter about that now. The right thing to do is say something, the easy thing to do is pretend it isn’t happening and walk away. Maybe the middle ground is people standing up for themselves so others don’t have to.
Post # 14
I was bullied but bullied a couple people a couple times. Though I wasnt very good at it. I stopped being mean, because I know what it feels like to be bullied. And no, I didnt get tough skin from the bullying. Im still as soft now as I was then.
Post # 15
I was always somewhere in between, but never a bully. When people tried to start up with me I’d sort of brush them off like “I don’t have time for this nonsense” and this worked for some reason. You just sort of have to let the bitchy girls know you’re not impressed with their tactics. I had friends in the popular crowd and the nerd crowd, the artsy crowd. I probably talked behind someone’s back at times, but to say bullied? No way.
I was bullied more in middle school and would think “Don’t these people realize being popular when you’re 13 means absolutely nothing in the overall spectrum of life?”
Post # 16
I have a similar experience to the OP. There was a boy in elementary school that I remember was picked on so viciously and I never did anything to stop it. He was very very different, and at this point I am confident in saying most likely had a mental condition that we weren’t aware of at such a young age. I remember taking part in the bullying and not until recently has it really filled me with guilt.
I found his sister on facebook and asked her about her brother only to find out that he had died. She said that she was estranged from him and wasn’t sure how, but it made me feel that much worse.
I really wish I had behaved differently. It honestly eats me up inside still!