Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.


This conversation is closed.

Are grownup bullies teaching kids how to bully?

Media personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olberman make a living by catalyzing the ire of their audiences through their incendiary tactics.

Leaders themselves, from pastors to politicians to parents to Tea Partiers and Black Panthers square off against different others.

Sparks are a flying, to say least.

And new movies like "The Hunger Games" and "Bully" provide brutal images that imply youth brutality can be catalyzed by adult cultures where competitive vitriol prevails.

Meanwhile, in the real world, communities and schools struggle to manage the bully-culture that has lead to increasingly more mental health concerns, if not more suicides by ostracized kids.

So, folks.

Who's to blame for bullying: kids, adults, both?
Who should lead the demise of cross-country bullying?
And the $10K Q: How?

Bullying, it seems knows no bounds. Thus, I hope this conversation doesn't get too bogged down on specific groups who suffer from bullying, but more on the larger contagions that seem to infecting many different segments of society.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts --

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    Apr 2 2012: I believe that bullying is either a learned response or resulting from inner conflict that has no outlet.

    Neo-Nazi, white supremacists, militant warriors are all taught at an early age who their enemies are. Whether it is true or not makes no difference, the student believes in the teacher. Bullying is a survival skill. The bully is less likely to be bullied.

    I had a friend that was bullied in school. It was later found that the bully was being molested by a pedophile priest. His father was a prominent businessman and wanted his son to be special so he disciplined him harshly and forced him into being an altar boy so he would be above the others. The son didn't know how to tell his father the truth because he saw two outcomes; one - his father would beat him for telling a horrific lie (priests aren't like that) or two - his father would believe him, kill the priest and be in jail for murder. Unable to deal with either one, he took his anger out on others.

    There was a local bully approached by the town sheriff. The bully acted all tough until the sheriff asked him if he wanted a job. The sheriff explained to the boy that the town stocked the local pond for tourists but kids were fishing out of season and depleting the pond. He was given a badge and explained what needed to be done. He was rewarded for good behavior and explained his faults. The boy went on to become a state trooper.

    I went to a church social with three others to babysit kids who's parents went on a field trip. There was one boy all out of control. I wanted to give him a "what for" when the group leader decided to play a game. Realizing that this boy was hyper, he gave him the job of referee which would require considerable moving about. I was amazed how well this boy did the job. He simply needed something to direct his energy on and he was fine.

    I have learned from these cases not to judge others based on behavior, but to try to determine what might be the cause.
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    Apr 12 2012: I refuse to believe that any child is born "bad" or "evil". No two people will handle stress and pain in the exact same way. While teaching I have seen mothers proud of their daughters' "Queen Bee" status and defend cruel behavior as a normal part of adolescent behavior. This never failed to alarm me.

    I continually say to all: those of us over thirty no longer have the emotional point of reference to equate our experience in middle or high school with that of today's youth. The culture of 24/7 contact creates a level of potential embarrassment and harassment that I would have never experienced. Creating stress levels for youth far above what I would have known and been able to cope with. However today's kids see it all as perfectly normal and "it is what it is" kind of attitude. The adolescent brain is wired for emotional action and reaction leaving the use of logic as a second choice, so add to this a constant contact with parents (perhaps bullying parents) teachers, friends, random acquaintances, and it's a recipe for pain.

    The energy put into helping victims is vital, but there also needs to probably be ten times that energy put into working with and trying to understand the bullies as well. They are certainly victims of bullying somewhere in their life as well and have chosen to self-soothe in this way.They are hardened and find the topic of empathy pathetic and boring. They need help and protection from themselves and others, but their actions make it an "undesirable" task. And having worked with their parents who perpetuate the pride in their bully-child make it impossible to work with the parents. So, you are left with the child. The child. Who in all likelihood without intervention will grow to become the adult bully.

    These are children, both bullies and victims, that are living an emotional, technological experience that we adults did not. I propose that we ask them. Then listen to them without our "expert" point of view of "how to be a teen".
  • Apr 11 2012: What a great topic. Thank you for bringing this up. One thing I'd like to point out, is part of the problem lies in the very question Ms. Walstrom asks: "Who is to blame for bullying?" Finding out who is responsible doesn't get us anywhere. It feels good though doesn't it? The search for who did this? And then we get to punish them when we find out! We call it justice! But does it really solve our problem or take some of the pain away so we can put it on someone else for awhile? The relief never lasts though...and has yet to solve any of our kids' bullying problems or our leaders' bullying problems. Consider this...what if there was no one to blame? What if we didn't punish each other? What if we changed the way we fought even at the smallest, most intimate level, so that each fight created more closeness between people? I'm talking about fighting with your husband or wife... Fighting with your child, mother, and boss, fighting with the guy who cut you off in traffic, and fighting when you've had a bad day. What if we changed the way we fought each other as a nation so instead of blame and punishment, we had people suffering honestly and not trying to put it on anyone else. Can we fight to see each other clearer? I think this would influence our kids if they started seeing their parents, teachers, and classmates fighting to connect with each other, instead of fighting to destroy each other.
  • Apr 4 2012: It's human nature. More legislation will solve nothing. We need to start discussing and addressing human nature.

    It's easier than most of us think. Simply responding differently to the bully can be easy but frightening for the victim, but it can be done. As for the bully, sometimes they are trying to fit in themselves in some new way, but they are going about the wrong way to do it. People are turning to suicide because they do not see the answer. Everything sinks back below the surface when it's undiscussed.

    The basic premise of bullying is that those who are different somehow deserve to be ostracized and excluded. WRONG. Perhaps they naturally need to work harder to gain acceptance, but perhaps there is another part of ourselves we are refusing to accept in this modern hubristic day and age.
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    Apr 1 2012: Heather started a conversation in February on work place bullying, I have copied and pasted what I shared with her then, hope it helps you.

    According to psychologist Iñaki Piñuel, the victims (of mobbing/bullying) are usually good workers who awaken professional jealousy in others.

    “It is calculated that 1 out of every 5 suicides in Europe is related to this phenomenon,” states the report.

    What can be done? The magazine suggests: “Don’t keep it secret. Look for witnesses. Report the situation to company officials. Don’t blame yourself. In extreme cases, change departments [or] jobs.”

    Some victims of harassment are targeted by one person. But more often, the victim is subjected to the assault of an alliance of colleagues. Hence, the term “mobbing” is appropriate, since it implies that a group is putting an individual under pressure by deliberately annoying or attacking him.

    NOTE THIS>>>>>>

    Perhaps most astonishing is the fact that in many cases harassment occurs with the boss’s consent.
    In some European studies, the supervisor played an active role in about 50 percent of the cases, and quite often he or she proved to be the sole perpetrator. All of this turns the work experience into what the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung termed as “a long, trying war of nerves.”


    Conclusion: The employee has to be educated on how to avoid the mobbing.

    The article suggests: Harassment often begins with an unresolved conflict between workmates. Hence, without being a busybody in the affairs of others, give prompt attention to misunderstandings in which you are personally involved. Calm hurt feelings with tact and respect. Deal with your colleagues as individuals, not as a group. If someone appears to have something against you, try to sort out matters.

    All benefit by keeping the lines of communication open.

    How sad that adults act like children.....many of these adults have kids and teach them these same patterns of behavior.
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      Apr 1 2012: Mary,

      Most astonishing, as you note, is "many cases of workplace bullying occur with bosses consent."

      An interesting parallel to this related to the set up for my Q is Rush Limbaugh's "boss" Clear Channel Radio consents to his public bully rhetoric. By contrast, Keith Olbermann's boss, is if the chatter is to be believed, apparently less tolerant of his similar, but arguably "less" vitriolic rhetoric.

      As I say this I want to be very clear: it is dangerous, I realize, to make any judgment call on what intentionally offensive rhetoric crosses the line more egregiously than the next.

      My observation is consent by bosses and other leaders of influence can actually create a culture of coercion.

      Adults are no less vulnerable to fears of isolation and of being ostracized than children are. Add the potential of loss of job or, worse, vocation to the scenario and otherwise competent co-workers are less likely to engage alliances with the primary victim or victims of bullying.

      This effect came to mind to me today as I spoke with a female leader in the US. I asked her about her feelings about the latest "Rush-rage" incident in which Limbaugh quite graphically verbally assaulted a female college student who testified in behalf of coverage for contraceptives. His harassment persisted for three days straight in three-hour a day programs.

      The leader, a powerful woman, replied as many do: "Just don't listen to Rush." Which seems reasonable, until one realizes that other do listen to Rush.

      Including, of course, some bosses and leaders who mimic the social-isolation tactics he uses.

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        Apr 1 2012: In my situation, I first experienced the bullying behaviour as a bystander witnessing a new director bullying my line manager. It was only after speaking out about the situation that the bully turned her attention onto me. I'm not being a martyr - she would have got round to me sooner or later! She was picking us all off one-by-one. I expected to be protected once I reported the situation to Occupational Health and HR - but, I was treated as a problem and a trouble maker. After 3.5 years of being bullied and fighting my case I was paid off. I lost, not only my job, but also my career of over 15 years - which was devastating at the time. I'm still vulnerable to stress, but I enjoy my new quiet life - I'm time rich!

        My temperament is that of an introvert and this, I believe, saved me. If I was an extravert I would have suffered far more from the rejection and isolation I was subjected to. One of the interesting aspects of the bully's tactics was that she tried to hurt me as if I was her - as if she knew me better than I did. Of course she got me totally wrong - I'm a secure introvert - she was an insecure extravert. She used public ridicule to try to isolate me - and the less it bothered me the more confused, angry and deranged she became. She really didn't get it :-)

        Because of this experience, I view bullying as a form of unconscious, projected self-loathing. If you want to live dangerously simply mirror the same behaviour back to them. I did, on one occasion (not recommended) - out of intellectual interest - and she reverted into a furious but scared little kid. I also used to record events on a digital recorder taped to my arm so I could dissect her tactics and methods later at home once I felt safe and less shocked.

        Current brain research has shown that most of the brain in dedicated to unconscious activity. This is where the key to bullying is to be found. I'd like to hypnotically regress a bully to understand how it all began for them.
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          Apr 2 2012: Heather,

          I think introverts do have capacities for self-soothing that extraverts might not be as in touch with. That said, extraverts have capacities for seeking others support that introverts aren't as well practiced in.

          I think the best indicator a person will not be inclined to bully is if they can look in the mirror and say at once: I am capable of very good and capable of not-so-much. Like all humans I can both be hurt and hurt. Hard as it is to admit either and both.

          This higher self awareness coaxes the unconscious into view. And, hopefully, in keeping these two truths in equilibrium one learns a sense of confidence and self-mastery (as it sounds you have) and continual focus and intention to the effort of avoiding "bruising" others.

          Regards brain research, there is good evidence that continual stress has a compounding effect on the reactivity in the frontal cortex. The more one is engaged in or by tense situations, the more the brain is "trained" to react first and reflect later. Constant stress can overwhelm the brains "emotion regulatory" system.

          Culture, with its diverse and dynamic systemic interconnections, seems somewhat similar.

          Chronic social upheavals overwhelm community's regulatory systems -- including healthy homes, public safety and cultural organizations like schools and faith organizations which have various tools and hopefully relationally reflective lessons to offer.

          But, can't, for all their efforts solve or heal all problems, when more encompassing cultural affects catalyze diffuse and debilitating stress on a majority of it's individuals.

          Why, in my view, I have the distinct sense that culture is likely a petri-dish for bullying. And, conversely that engaged, intentionally self-reflective cultures can achieve meaningful "cures" for bullying.

          Given this and your experiment of dissecting video tape of your boss, it would seem consciousness raising as you do with Red Balloon, is, indeed very valuable.

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        Apr 1 2012: "Adults are no less vulnerable to fears of isolation and of being ostracized than children are. Add the potential of loss of job or, worse, vocation to the scenario and otherwise competent co-workers are less likely to engage alliances with the primary victim or victims of bullying."

        This issue of the bystander's fear preventing his support for the victim is a critical problem and the focus of the school anti-bullying programs in which I have participated. The version with which I am most familiar is bystanders who are quite willing to offer the victim support privately but are unwilling to expose themselves. This the bully never gets the message, interpreting the silence of obvious bystanders as consent and support.

        I don't think children necessarily see this dynamic in adults, only because it typically happens in work and some community settings in which children are not engaged. I don't know how many children are aware of Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olberman.

        I do know that children who are bullied are frequently those who bully in return.
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          Apr 2 2012: Fritzie --

          This concept of "private support" v "public support" for bully victims is very interesting. I've witnessed it, too.

          Heather's experience no doubt is exactly why. While many might have empathy, few, like Heather have the courage to publicly declare it and defend the victim.

          While children may not be aware of Limbaugh or Olberman, my experience of children is they see and hear far more than they let on. And, if adults they come in contact somehow transmit the same sort of vitriol, I suspect the children internalize it at some levels.

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          Apr 2 2012: "I don't think children necessarily see this dynamic in adults, only because it typically happens in work and some community settings in which children are not engaged."

          Fritzie, you know, I've seen lots of parents act like bullies in public places with their children along, I've seen them in traffice showing road rage, and also at banks, supermarkets, and yes, even at their kid's school.

          I have also seen bullying coming from alot of girls whose parents...especially the mom is passive aggressive. Girls are relentless bullies....they go about it a whole different way than boys.

          Sadly, victims of bullying some time pick it up themselves as a self-defense mechanism, or even to try it out on some other defenseless individual......tsk tsk tsk....the whole thing makes me spit.

          It is so easy to communicate.....
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          Apr 2 2012: Mary,

          "Odd Girl Out" by Rachel Simmons shines a microscopic lens on the very complicated social systems and behaviors, including elusive but near epidemics of passive aggressiveness, in some girls social circles.

          There does seem to be significant increases and earlier signs of this, in girls as young as early to mid-grade school.

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        Apr 4 2012: Interesting that you pound on Rush Limbaugh but not liberals and not the President who is trying to bully the Supreme Court.
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          Apr 4 2012: James,

          Can you explain how, as you say, the President is trying to bully the Supreme Court?

          And, regards "pounding on Limbaugh," not clear how this dialogue "pounds on him." And, please note, nearly every time Limbaugh is mentioned, so is liberal Keith Olbermann. Though, arguably Limbaugh is the most prominent "voice" of rage-rhetoric in media these days.

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        Apr 8 2012: Andrea the powerfull nations bullyng others countries too. The name change but the agressive behavior is live. In old times bulling was named "war" named "terrorism" or " countercuture" or attacs "to preserve the homeland security" (whatever that means)...our common north frontierline is a battlefield with the most wide range bullyng samples against our the history, Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, among other places was in Mexico but today with the diplomacy democracy security bullyng are in the US...remember Joel R.Poinsset your first ambassador in our country?....well he was the first to use diplomatic bullyng..remember Albert Pike...well that evilman was one to practice bullyng with the KKK't see the bullyng just between kids in our all the world the US governement has practice the official bullyng politics.... Japan, China, Middle East, Filipinas, Cuba, Panama, Germany, pracically all the world....

        Its a nice and wellcome this conversation and I see like the first "mea culpa" from the honest north americans...
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    Apr 13 2012: I think the notion and reality of bullying is not age specific. I think many reports focus on schools because they make powerful points for government and the press. Bullying exists everywhere but I do agree that it's the adults responsibility to MODEL how to behave. Unfortunately television has played a negative role in highlighting poor behaviour amongst adults and children and can be seen to thrive on the conflict. Also every year in British schools I watch in fear as worthy teachers aim to 'teach' 'anti-bullying' during a one week drive, well meant but ultimately it fails. What inevitably transpires is that teachers teach the students exactly what bullying looks like, giving them examples before telling them not to do it, this is embedding negative commands and I believe doesn't work. In this case it's NOT anti-bullying at all. The opposite of bullying, and where additional emotional intelligence and resources must go is into COHESION and FRIENDSHIP. I don't say this lightly.Just like the absence of war is not peace, the absence of bullying is not friendship. It takes relentlessness effort and hard work to make relationships work on any level. Bullying is a much 'easier' way through personal interaction for many and so will be their default because either they do not have the tools to build healthy relationships or they choose not to. It is (in part) a school's role but much more the family's role to show and tell what good relationships look and feel like and why we must foster them as a priority if we are to grow successful and happy adults for tomorrow.
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      Apr 14 2012: Stuart,

      Your comment that the absence of bullying is not friendship brings to mind the concept of "adversarial collaboration." Which doesn't deny difference and debate, or even distaste for the other, perhaps. But does acknowledge the need for co-productive relationship.

      I'm not sure adversarially collaborative relationships meet the standard of healthy relationships that navigate ups and downs, but, perhaps serve as a stepping stone that helps foster respectful modeling and behaviors.

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    Apr 12 2012: It is definitely behavior learned from adults. Whether we're conscious of this fact is the issue. We need to address bullying issues directly. We need to explain to children how bullies make their victims feel. We need to make sure children understand exactly how hurtful words/actions can determine how victims live their lives. In a world where each and every person effects the lives of one another, we should attempt to find a non-cheesy way to engage children in role-playing. In which every student gets 'bullied' to find the true effect of the action. I think that until a child has been bullied themselves, they will not be able to get a sense of how being bullied can be so detrimental for a person's life.
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    Apr 12 2012: Sugata Mitra might call it a "granny cloud" (an educational model from "Hole In The Wall") and Jeremy Rifkin (author "Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis" [2010]) might see it as part of "distributed capitalism."

    We humans need to get together on all levels, rearing children, within families, within communities, and even across the large-scale community of the human family. (I use family literally since all 7 billion of us are related as of 70,000 years ago.) On the global scale, bullying is still rampant. Military options are often seen as viable tools for fixing what is essentially a problem of "not sharing."

    So I'd say the problem is not isolated among children or parents alone. It is global. Here is a disease we can cure.

    In a single idea, I think we need "community building."

    It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
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      Apr 14 2012: Mark,

      Your comment brings to mind a conversation a fellow researcher and I had with teens. One young man, who'd sometimes struggled to get along, noted that if bullies are removed from bullied, nothing is gained and something critical might be lost.

      That is, the opportunity for bully and bullied to get to know each other in community.

      As example: he spoke of another youth he often sparred with, but nonetheless found himself continually having to deal with. He said both he and the other youth found ways to get along--largely through playing basketball, as it happens.

      He noted with profound maturity the loss it would have been for them not to have remained in the community setting where not getting along became less and less an option due simply to ongoing time together.

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        Apr 14 2012: Andrea the time to close this conversation is coming. Can we open the next part about violence and peace? Thanks a lot for the opportunity to said some.
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      Apr 14 2012: To build the community we have to sart from ourselves as individuals.

      Mark when the human structures are so rigid as social is because the social building is made from persons, and a person is a mask, a simulation, so the social building is made from masks.

      The community is a net not a building...a net is flexible and strong at the same time..

      is made from individuals (IN DIVIDERE) from latin means impossible to divide.
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        Apr 14 2012: "individuals (IN DIVIDERE) from latin means impossible to divide" is impossible to divide the individual.......but individuals...more than one is very much possible to divide...

        "Divide and conquer"................that is what we see today worldwide..

        Religion divides us
        Ethnicity divides us
        Culture divides us
        Politics divides us
        Socio-economic backgrounds divides us
        Intellect divides us
        Gender divides us

        What unites us?


        Instead of letting the spirit of competition reign, we should strive for a spirit of cooperation.....have the same goals, values, etc...... for the betterment of humanity.

        Enjoyed reading your comment. especially the latin word explanation.
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    Apr 12 2012: Yes, I think so, we are not aware that we are the role model for them, what they see they feel is ok for them to do.
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    Apr 12 2012: What a great topic!
    I'm from Argentina and I teach at a primary and secondary school. Bullying is an issue!
    I totally agree with the fact that media influences society and movies like the ones you mention plus video games in which the more you bully the faster you win the game are damaging kids'minds!!
    As adults, we should help both the bully and the bullied, since they both have problem which are being shown in different ways.
    Let's be on the alert to be able to help.
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    Apr 12 2012: I am happy that you referenced "The Hunger Games" because I have had a strange question as to why such a film is rated PG-13?! It seemed way to graphic to be PG-13 and when "Bully" the documentary was supposed to be released it had a few obscene language scenes that children use everyday at schools and they slap a rated R for "Reality"?

    The world of make beilieve is nice, but I think that reality is a much bigger issue that needs to be focused upon now.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts.
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    Apr 2 2012: I think it's nature and nurture. I knew kids with less than optimal home lives and bullying parents who didn't turn around and bully others. I think confidence and support might have a lot to do with this, a lack of these things can bring out a bully, while kids who have these things have other options.

    Personally, I was bullied quite attrociously as a child, but they became somewhat relentless in my latter high school years. I "made it worse" for myself because one of the main bullies had a crush on my boyfriend (which I didn't know until later), so there was a big dose of jealousy poured on top. I can't even begin to think of how much worse this would have been with mobile phones and social media.

    Unfortunately it is such an ingrained part of our society that I don't know there is a way out of it. I've experienced it in all of my workplaces, only once as the victim but I have seen others being bullied - and I think that the civilian jobs were even worse than my time in the military in some ways.

    We also experience it far too often in our media, and not just the narrow minded talk back radio media either (the Australian versions of Rush Limbaugh) who push hatred and bully anyone who might contradict their opinion. But even in our mainstream media there is this thread of "nasty is funny" and we should be able to mercilessly pick on people who aren't like the mainstream image. And do not get me started about the nitpicking, bullying nature of politics in this country, I hate watching the news because they are worse than watching schoolyard bullies.

    I think that the only way to make this better is through decent leadership. Leaders in is politics, organisations, schools and communities who don't use bullying as a technique and are willing to speak out or pull others up when they do. Only when it is socially unacceptable to bully will it stop.

    But this also means giving people other mechanisms to deal with their feelings and issues - good luck!
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      Apr 2 2012: Kylie,

      Your comments about Aussie "talk back" media reminds me of a writer for "Online Opinion" Which bills itself as "Australia's E-Journal of Social and Political Debate."

      Bashir Goth's ( writing was introduced to me by a Somalian refugee in the US when he and I dialogued about what triggers social reactivity. Your observation that some who've been bullied do not repeat the cycle really sets off reminder bells of Bashir's themes for me.

      The refugee man and I were debating on your "nature/nuture" lines. His feeling was bullying is somewhat unavoidable in chaotic societies like Somalia. My "from afar" view is that human nature is equally as infused with capacities for benevolence, even in chaotic situations, similar to your observation.

      Though I have never been in Somalia, so this was audaciously idealistic, if not naively so, of me. To his tremendous credit, my co-debater, an elderly man who I believe had been a military leader, reflected on my hopeful belief. And followed it up by sending me this stunning piece from Bashir, which affirms your point:

      Here is the last stanza of the poem Bashir posted at the bottom of the essay, a plea to Somalians to stop fighting:

      "Bare bones everywhere
      Carcass smell in summer
      - lonely bird above
      Last whistle not blown
      Buds sprouting everywhere
      - bees out in spring."

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        Apr 2 2012: I love the last line of his Somali women between hope and reality post (

        "Ironically, it is women who despite bearing the brunt of all society’s ills that have kept the Somali people afloat over the last 20 years of internecine wars and misery caused by men."

        It's not always the women but this is what I mean, not all victims take on the traits of their oppressors. Many use it as a means of defining what they will never be and what they will no longer tolerate.

        Looks like I have a new site to read through, thanks for the link Andrea.
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    Apr 2 2012: Andrea, I wanted to reply to your comment about what children see with something I remember from fifty years ago on this point.
    My twin sister and I were with my parents at a store. My father was a reserved, very European little man from the Old Country. Near the register, an angry woman was yelling at and hitting her child- really beating her child- repeatedly. My father went up to her and said, "Madame, are you planning next time to do this with a hammer?"
    She stopped right away and a few minutes later apologized to my mother. And I remember to this day my father stepping forward to disrupt the beating of the small child.
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      Apr 2 2012: Fritzie --

      What an image to have imbedded in your (and this other young child's) experience of authentically judicious paternal strength, and the power of a "velvet hammer" driving home a transformative point.


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    Apr 1 2012: Andrea we can't expect a nice world full with nice people...the violence, from soft stages to hard attacks are everyday, everywhere..., bulling is also a national way to menace others countries (USA VS IRAN) in all cases buling is a metaphor for war and home with the abuse from fathers to sons, in the couple with the macho behavior against women, in scholl, in the office...but the root is the same for all....ENVY. The self defense against bulling includes also the soft response till the real defense. I remember that in my childhood some cousins "bullying " me....well after the first rsponse (violen response from me) they stop and never did it again. The peace has boundaries, the violence has limits.
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    Apr 1 2012: I recenty posted on facebook in support of the Bully movie:

    Bullying comes from many sources, not just in schools. We Adults live in a Bullying World. We can change that world for our future generations. Be a good example.

    Twitter Tuesday: Stand with #BullyMovie Today!

    yes I too believe it is a behavior learned from adults.

  • Apr 1 2012: I believe that a bully is also the bullied, it is a learned behaviour. So if you want to blame anyone it could be the parents? But then it becomes a cycle because the parents were probably bullied and so on. It's a catch 22.

    Every situation is different and I think that pointing the blame at someone is not going to help to solve the problem.

    I think everyone has to be more aware and come together as a society, that is the only way there will be a change. There will always be bullies but if we look at the bigger picture we will see that the bully is also the victim and so on.

    I don't have the answers but I know that it will take a fundamental shift in the current state of the world for there to be less aggrevation and more untiy, less hate and more appreciation of life.
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    Mar 31 2012: Bullying is learned behaviour. A child bully will have learnt the skills necessary to bully from those closest to them -usually family. If children who bully are not helped to see their own damaging behaviour they will grow up to be adult bullies and the cycle of misery will continue.

    Red Balloon is an education charity that provides a safe environment for bullied kids until they are well enough to return to main stream school - I volunteer for this charity.

    The Internation Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment - a forum for research and discussion. I attended their conference in Cardiff in 2010

    Dr Laura Crawshaw was an inspiring speaker at the IAWBH conference in Cardiff. She works to heal bully bosses without labling them as bullies.
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    Apr 14 2012: There is far less bullying today then ever in the history of mankind. We are softer, gentler, far more considerate and we are growing more so each day.
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      Apr 14 2012: Tobias,

      Can you explain in more detail how you feel we are "far more considerate and growing more so" each day?

      It is a wonderfully encouraging comment, but stands out from so much that seems to convey a different reality.

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        Apr 14 2012: I could go on all day but my time is limited this morning so I will just give you a few examples.
        Can you think of a time in western history(maybe acnient Greece...maybe) when it was ok to be openly gay?
        What about atheism?
        How would you like to have been a black person in the 1930s?
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          Apr 14 2012: Time is limited.......clock is running...

          Tobias, gays have been around openly....ever since Bible times....

          Atheism has also been around for a long time.

          And well, blacks have enjoyed life openly and without bullying for way longer than the 1930's..........all over the world.

          Are you saying that bullying is just an issue that affects gays, atheist, and blacks???

          Are you limiting bullying to just the U.S....bullying/mobbing is a worldwide issue.

          It's roots are.............well others are so much more eloquent than me.

          I will echo Andrea's words: "your comment is wonderfully encouraging, but stands out from so much that seems to convery a different reality".
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        Apr 14 2012: @Mary M said "Are you saying that bullying is just an issue that affects gays, atheist, and blacks???"

        What part of "I only have time you give you a few examples" are you not comprehending?
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    Apr 13 2012: Bullying can only be eradicated....if the local media stops promoting the violent characters as cool....its wat they see in T.V...which they reproduce in schools...i mean cumon...every kid watches wrestling...and at the end of the portray themselves to be ethically right by saying" dont do this at home,school, or any where" do eactly... what they are told not to do
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      Apr 13 2012: Well so easy to blame the media with the heavy weight of violence, certainly they are looking for money and the audience is looking for stolen emotions, but I believe that we have to start in family.The cultures are very different in the East than in the West, but violence is the same everywhere. Then we have to work immediately with the roots and causes not with the external manifestations. Here in Mexico we know so much about the violence in our style:machismo, narcos, corruption....and a lot of stones over our shoulders. If you said "kids do exactly....what they are told not to o" then begin with the kids...transform terror and violence in tenderness.
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        Apr 13 2012: i agree with u said east and the west have totalee different cultures....but as far as i can see it...violence is also a part of what we call life.......which balances the cycle of life...cuz if there was no violence and killing of each other....we would die of hunger, due to mass population
  • Apr 12 2012: Roughly speaking,I agree with you.Yeah,Our parents are our children's first teacher,and in all likelihood,no matter what they teach their children will have a everlasting influence to their children.But today my concern is not with apportioning blame!But how can we change those things?So can you give me some sugestions clearer?
    Thank you!
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      Apr 12 2012: Shelly,

      Years ago when I started teaching I taught at a residential facility for abused, neglected, and semi-violent children. These kids were hurt, angry, and were abusive to each other, themselves, and to me as their teacher. My technique is probably too long to completely explain, but it boils down to listening to their story and showing respect. When a student was being verbally abusive to the others in class or to me, it was amazing how effective it was for me to look at that child and tell them, "I'm sorry that somewhere in your past someone has treated you so horrible that you feel that you can treat others this way. That person was wrong, and you shouldn't have had to endure that, no one should, and I am sorry that happened to you! It shouldn't have."

      Simply acknowledging that you have no idea what their past is, but that it was probably a violation of who they are, and that you basically care enough to say you're sorry was able to move mountains for me. I think that for most of my students it was the first time they had ever heard an adult apologize, for anything.

      I think they want to share their story and that they don't understand how their actions wound others because they are young, fragile, and very ego-centric. You have to help them step out of that "it's all about me" mindset and it is very challenging!
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    Apr 12 2012: Fear and intimadation have been a factor for all of recorded time. Police, politicians, teachers, school administrators, supervisors, preachers, etc ... almost everyone uses it to some degree. Some is physical and some is mental. The media (games, radio, movies, etc .. ) are all contributors. I do not believe that it will ever be eliminated and that should not be the goal. At best we can have some control over the degree it occurs and limit the consequences. Some blame must lie at the feet of the health professionals that think that the use of medications can resolve the problem or that for twenty appointments at $200 per hour will solve all of Johnnies problems. Sports are not without blame. The pecking order within the team and the pack mentality exists as a team. Nature eliminates the weak. All kids can tell you the quaterbacks name but few can tell you who is on the academic team. We are taught at a young age that brains lose to muscle. We all have demons and they will continue until we face them. There is no simple answer or solution. All the best. Bob
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    Apr 12 2012: Bullying begins in settings where there is “the” way to do “things.”

    In society, there is the dominant popular culture. In education, there is the assumption that standardized tests measure meaningful learning. In politics, there is the assumption that capitalism and our brand of “democracy” are universally positive systems. In religion, there are the unquestioned books.

    Because all of these break down under serious inquiry, leaders must take steps to compel compliance. Bullying occurs when those steps are perceived as excessive by those to whom they are applied. Notice that there are different perceptions that can be applied to the same actions: What the leader perceives as “doing what is necessary for the organization,” the members perceives as “bullying.”

    Minimizing bullying in the adult world will require:

    1) Preventing those with narcissistic tendencies from ascending to leadership positions. (This step is much easier to state than to accomplish.) A corollary to this step: skilled and competent individuals can leave organizations in which a bully is in charge, thus weakening the organization.

    2) Developing a culture that values innovation and recognizes the economic (and social and aesthetic and political...) advantages realized only through innovative thinking. For this to happen, it is necessary that leaders recognize compelling “the” way be followed prevents innovation.
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    Apr 12 2012: Short answer. YES. My friend at work told me of a chinese traditional saying about a young king or prince being paraded through the street with no clothes on. All were praising the king and how great he was. One said "hey the king is naked!" All were in denial of the truth. We very much have a society of denial. We are forced not to say these things for various social and economic reasons. We will surpass this condition someday, 5, 10, 50, 100 or 500 years from now. I don't know when but I have faith that it is coming. We are one family, we must treat each other as one family. These leaders right now are stuck in the tribal ages.
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      Apr 14 2012: Andre,

      I believe your friend is referring to the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Emperor Has No Clothes."

      The story is an indictment on the social effects of denial. In fact, much social denial has more to do with the coercive effect of social norms. In other words, few who know the truth (and in fact, it is typically a "hidden majority" which does) will actually speak to it.

      So to your point about when humanity will surpass this condition, I'd say, when many more speak up to the truth. And, as with negative social norms that are sustained due to social silencing, this effect can be accelerated if more speak up.

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    Apr 12 2012: hello - interseting conversation

    in my country we also have a problem with bully's but i look out on the world stage and i see the US as the biggest bully of the global playground and i think how can we teach our children NOT to bully when every where they look they see bullying - to a child parents bully - adults are bullies to a child in many instances - then teaches bully, CEO's bully, people of power and influence bully, maybe not all physically but verbally and through fear and punishment or fear of withdrawing love or something valuable to that child

    but the biggest bully is the US - then its the military - then its the police - bullying is every where - by its own definition - sadly

    bullying comes from deeply fearful individuals and lets all get real - governments are full of people - so is the military every where is people - fearful, wounded unhappy whatever ...happy people don't bully they have no need to ...

    bullying is a SYMPTOM - fear is the cause - fear is a symptom also .....what is the cause ....?

    feelings are always the cause - emotions are always the cause - the behavior is the effect ...most seek to modify the behavior by getting into the thoughts but the real nitty grityt comes when exploring feelings because so many are so cut off from real feelings they don't really know anymore what it is that they feel except anger, sadness, or resentment etc ..but even these are layers of symptoms ....
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    Apr 11 2012: Some kids that bloom earlier than others are very likely to try and dominate the rest. Hence the bullying. Adult bullies simply make it worse.
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    Apr 10 2012: I invariably find that children copy what they see and hear. Watching Super Nanny, the "problem children" always have problem parents and it is the education of the parent which turns the situation around, not the education of the child.
  • Apr 8 2012: Interesting to see "bullying" brought to light.

    You do know that confronting bullies stops the bullying. Did you ever see a smaller kid stop a bully in their tracks?
    Remember when we used to tough enough to boast "don't tread on me"?

    If you don't stand of for yourself, who is going to protect you.

    It appears that a "government" solution is what is requested. How has that ever helped?

    Wait, you can get revenge by complaining about bullying. It's over there, no over there, behind that tree. It's everywhere.
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    Apr 4 2012: Children learn victim behavior from their parents. I teach in an independent study school and deal with students and parents that play the victim card to keep from doing homework, coming to exams, doing papers. Also, look at welfare statistics and you will find a huge group of people that play the victim for events that happened generations ago. They just chose not to stand up and grow up as a group. I agree with Yale Wang legislation is a waste of time and money for bullies. They learn to be bullies from the success of their parents and welfare people are bullies just as much as politicians who play the race card.
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    Apr 3 2012: My observations regarding litigation are entirely anecdotal, but anecdotes collected over 13 years. Further down this discussion someone also points out that bullies and victims often change sides depending on the company they are in. You see this in high schools all the time. I guess the main message is a well educated child with appropriate levels of self esteem doesn't see the need to bully anyone and has the confidence to resist becoming a victim. It's our responsibility as parents (and for me as a teacher) to see that we give our children these abilities. I think it is important when dealing with bullying that we don't cast the bully as the bad guy and the victim as the good guy. They both have a problem that needs to be dealt with. As you say a sense of responsibility for the well being of your peers would go a long way.
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      Apr 4 2012: You go Peter as a teacher I allow no bullying and I allow no victim mentality with my students. I hold them responsible for all the work they do and there are academic consequences for the work they do not do and there is little make up work they are allowed to do. Just do the work and turn it in on time. I have had parents ask me to let them make up work for a whole semester of no work and I just said NO and explained that it set a bad pattern for students and that their bosses would not allow it so why should I as a teacher.
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    Apr 3 2012: I've been a high school teacher for 13 years and in my experience the bully requires both the predisposotion and an example or stimulus to blossom in the roll. I also see the same in the victim, some of the behaviors you associate with with the victim are learned from parents. While in our schools we often have discussions about identifying bullying behavior we rarely seem to talk about helping kids identify how a victim behaves and how to aviod it. Within a group of 12 year olds the victim might not be the best role you can have but in the eyes of some kids its better than no roll at all. Maybe if we teach kids how to not be a victim they will carry this ability with them through life.
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      Apr 3 2012: Peter,

      Interesting. Can you explain more regards victim personas?

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        Apr 3 2012: From the point of view of a 12 year old the best thing about being a victim is that it relieves you of personal responsibility for anything bad that happens to you. You have an excuse to fail and its not your fault. Kids who are victims are often the children of overly litigious parents. I worry that parents who constantly look for someone to blame encourage thier children to do the same. In some cases you see the same parent produce a bully and a victim. Underparented children find a way to cope, you either become the boss of your own world or you seek parenting by being needy, your teachers become defacto parents but you need to attract their attention. In all cases I feel the bully and the victim actually have a lot in common, as they are both the product of low self esteem and a lack of knowlwdge of any other course of action. Bullies and victims both need education and it needs to be a package. Neither can exist without the other.
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          Apr 3 2012: Peter,

          Do you know of research that supports that victim children are often children of overly litigious parents?

          Related to this, it occurs to me that we in the US live in an increasingly litigious society. And, I wonder if kids of bullies might also have parents who tend towards litigiousness? It seems there might be a correlation on both sides, in the sense that both seem to struggling with working things out in and with each other in school, neighborhood, team or other community setting.

          Your suggestion that bullies and victims both need education makes sense. Perhaps the best education for both would be one that catalyzes self-esteem and ability to navigate myriad social situations. Including a sense of shared responsibility for each other, in contrast to co-mutual lack of self-responsibility and/or control.

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    Apr 2 2012: Roy--

    Powerful comment.

    It reminds me of something I need to be reminded of over, and over again -- and, when I'm perched on my soap-box have been known to "preach" to others. (Ugh.)

    We can't possibly know what pain anyone is enduring or has endured. And we can't possibly know the power in helping redirect another's energies as you and this Sheriff have. In fact, I'd say we benefit ourselves by re-directing our energies to redirecting others energies, too. If that makes sense.

    The challenge is how can we as societies teach positive energy re-direction to all from early on as a "survival skill?"

    Or, put another way, how do we model and teach the self-protective benefits of pro-social skills and efforts?

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      Apr 12 2012: Andrea,
      I've been going over this topic in my mind for some time. Here are a few more observations;

      I was bullied when I was in grade school. I finally beat up the bully out of anger and frustration. He then wanted to be my friend. I asked him why he bullied me before. He said "because you let me". I found out that his parents were divorced and he had no father figure at home. He needed to know where the line was to be drawn. He was testing me just like children test their parents at how far they can go.

      My granddaughter was bullied in school but was afraid to tell. The general attitude is peer pressure; "don't be a snitch or a rat". Kids are very sensitive to this mindset. They need to be taught that bullying is wrong and that they have not only a right, but an obligation to report it.

      I don't remember where it was, but there was a news report where a school got bullies and bullied together in a gym and with a counselor, got the two to talk about why they did what they did and how it made each other feel. Many of the bullies were not aware of how much an impact their actions had, even not admitting to being a bully until the truth was brought out. Often, people can't see the bad in themselves, only others.

      My psychology professor ran a psychiatric clinic. He was surprised to find out that many of his clients were third and forth generation victims of domestic violence. They finally decided to get help so they wouldn't victimize their own children.

      The more we bring this topic to the table, the more people will be aware of how much of it is going on. I think that the fact that bullying is wrong, and its ill effects, should be taught to school kids just like the dangers of illegal drug use are today. The more we know, the more we can bring it out into the open.
  • Apr 1 2012: The potential to bully is in the genetic code. Therefore it is not a giant leap to imagine that those grownup bullies(who are programmed to do so) will exhibit behaviour that seems natural to them. Unfortunayely it is reasonable to assume that they will have an influence on some impressionable young who are not necessarily programmed this way. Most will eventually realise this behaviour is wrong. Saddly not all and the cycle will continue. The only solution is firm intervention.
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      Apr 1 2012: Not sure I can agree with the notion that some of us are bullies programmed through genetic code.

      However, there is some evidence that sociopathy, with its links to bullying, is a heritable condition:

      On the other hand, there is also evidence that in spite of having sociopathic genes, with good parental upbringing, normal lives could be led without risks either of sociopathic behaviour or any tendencies towards bullying:

      I tend to think that today's adult society is weighted towards favouring those people with psychopathic tendencies. The people who rise to the top are those who do not care about for the effect they have on others. The rewards for lacking empathy and indulging in a spot of bullying to get what they want, are far greater than the rewards they get by being empathic and understanding of others' needs.

      If our society continues to lionise what is essentially psychpathic behaviour, then bulling will continue to be the norm.

      This simply has to change, and that change can only happen when we decide that it is human beings, and the environment that gives us life, is what actually matters - not the blind pursuit of material gain and the bullying that goes with it.
  • Mar 31 2012: Teaching and creating by being power and control freaks with children who then take it out on any weaker individuals they can find because they are too frightened or unable to deal directly with the power and control freaks who wrong them.