Much is being said about bullying these days. Many people are actually taking their children out of their school in order to save their child from attacks from fellow students. Some families even move to a new town as a safeguard. As parents, we need to do whatever measures we can in order to save our child’s dignity, and in extreme cases, save her life.
As adults, we can experience bullying in our workplace or church. I believe that this is more widespread than we realize. Kids who learn to get ahead by being the bully tend to use the same tools for workplace advancement. Perhaps you know what I mean. Maybe you have been managed by an adult (not really grown up) bully.
But what happens when bullying happens inside our very home? I believe many people grow up with a bully for a sibling, or worse – for a parent.
I think a certain amount of teasing is healthy. It can help us laugh at ourselves. We can often benefit from not taking ourselves too seriously.
However, a distinction needs to be made between teasing and bullying. Excessive teasing can certainly become bullying, but I believe there is a way to tell the difference between the two.
Teasing can actually build up. Teasing works best with irony. Bullying preys on our weak spots. Bullies tear down in order to lift themselves up. A bully climbs a human pyramid with tree climbing spikes on his shoes.
For example, a teaser might point out the beauty in a person’s singing and jokingly admit that he has decided to swear off all singing from now on. “Since you have obviously taken all the available talent of singing, they have had to cancel the show America’s Got Talent. America no longer has anymore of it available.”
The bully would say something like, “Do you sing Solo? How about singing so low that I can’t hear you.”
A comment like that from a parent can put an immediate halt on something that brings total joy to a child, or anyone for that matter. And, believe me, it will never be forgotten. That is the one success of a bully – he is remembered. Often that is the bully’s driving force – not to be forgotten.
Life is not a battlefield. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. All is not fair in love. An easy way to look at this is to think back and remember “the golden rule.” Would you want someone hounding on your Achilles heel on a daily basis? Would you want that person to be your sister, or your dad, or your mom.
I know that we parents make enough crazy mistakes, why would we want to have one of them be this? Choosing the wrong multi-level marketing scheme to zap away all our time might be an honest mistake that we have to course correct. We can seek forgiveness and laugh at the closet full of shea butter. But tearing down our children can be something that leaves us with scarred children – and makes us lonely parents.
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