What’s Up With All The Bullying-Are People Getting Meaner?

          A great deal of information has been in the news lately about bullying. In fact last week on the news they proclaimed a national anti-bullying day. So what is really going on, are kids getting meaner? Is this truly something new? Bullying has become the scourge of our society. A tragic testament to how cruel people can be. Where do they learn this behavior?

            I was a victim of bullying in school. Here are a few things that happened to me in those formative high school years. My tires were slashed on my car. I had glue put on my lock so I couldn’t open my locker. I was nearly pushed out a fourth floor window and my friend Wendy had to save me. A gang of girls harassed me and banged on my bathroom door every time I used the facilities. The minute I stepped on the school bus I was taunted and teased until I stopped riding and made my mother drive me to school.

            This went on for years, I asked to be transferred to another school but my father wouldn’t let me and said  I needed to learn to fight back and that it would build character. We went to the office and complained but nothing was really ever done about it. All of this was before the internet era which now compounds the harassment and brings bullying into your home where you should feel safe. What I finally realized about people who are bullies are,  if you push back they shrink and they are always more powerful in numbers but not so tough when they are alone. Just like the witch on the Wizard of Oz, if you pour a little proverbial water on them they start to melt. That was what I had to do to survive, stand up for myself and push back.

            Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t end when you leave school. I used that same technique in business when I was faced with a bully at work. I took a job in Miami and the CFO liked to flex his power by embarrassing you in a meeting and making late comers stand the entire time. By my second week, I was fed up, and decided to confront him. After our heated conversation he was fine, he actually was respectful and we got along fine.   

            Has Bullying just been in the news more or is it on the rise? It seems like technology has given bullies another platform to harass their victims? When I was in school Facebook did not exist. I was subjected to face to face harassment but now it seems to go even deeper. After they harass your at school, they post all sorts of lies about you on social media sites meant for socializing not bullying.

             I feel sorry for kids today. No one needs to be subjected to such cruelty. Teenagers have a whole different set of pressures today then they did in my day. I do think it resides with the parents and teaching your kids to be kind, tolerant and accepting of others while exhibiting those behaviors in your home. My mother always said “if you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all.” The funny thing is, the girl who harassed me all through high school now has her own kids. One of my friends is their teacher and said her kids are now bully’s too. Unfortunately, the cycle seems to repeat itself. Why can’t we all just get along?