Recently, there was a tragedy in Malaysia where an 18-year-old boy was tortured by his bullies and he later died, just because he appeared effeminate to his sick tormentors (there was no evidence to even suggest he was gay). The relatives of the bullies were severely harassed by the public because the sentiment was, they were responsible for raising bullies who became killers (it is just one fine line dividing the two). Firstly, most bullying is mob-mentaility. You just have to look at Facebook. Post something negative against someone (be it an individual or a public figure), and the baying crowd hitches onto that bandwagon with their inflamed (often inaccurate) words. Yet these keyboard warriors are the last to knock on someone’s door and give them a piece of their minds face-to-face. Yes, most are timid little cowards hiding behind the anonymity of the internet or their bigger friends.
On the other side of the coin, there is the bullying that goes on for years, silent and not actioned on, in the home. Often the victim of home-bullying (where he or she cannot fight back) turns into a bully outside the home, or becomes one years later in his or her own home.
Look homewards first and foremost. Your children absorb your thoughts, energy, words, actions. If you bash out angry, inflammatory words on social media, so too will your children. If you oppress and say unkind words in the home, so too will your children. If you punish harshly, take away things and hold back love, so too will your children. Because that’s the energy in your household in addition to what they learn by observation. When I was angry inside (a few days ago, someone stole the copyright of my book), my whole household was ratty even though I had a smile plastered on my face – I was onto Amazon and lawyers all day, so of course my family was going to feel my vibe.
I strongly believe that kindness in the home is the main factor, because children learn from the home first and foremost.
Little things in the day, the words that hang around in the air at home. The thoughts they go to sleep with. The feelings that they wake up with.
This has been making its rounds on social media:
I remember someone telling me, quite puzzled, about how his ex was so bothered and hurt by his casual words that the ex would be silent for days and move into the second bedroom. This happened more than once, which shifts those words (whatever they were) down to the “mean” category. I don’t know whether his ex had the conversation with him about stopping the meanness or not, but the result was, the ex found solace somewhere else. So did the next partner, as did the first. And I think, this pattern will continue until the meanness and bullying in the home stops, until the person consciously stops falling into the familiar pattern of his childhood home, where one parent created hell and the other did nothing.
It is very similar to an email I received recently from a mother who was very upset by her husband’s regular savage beating of their young son. “Was he beaten as a child, do you know?” I asked her. Yes, she said. Another lady told me that she was not too upset when her 6-year-old daughter was beaten by a teacher in school because “that was how we were brought up”. One teenage boy picked up a stick with the intention of hitting his mother who hits him. As the Chinese saying goes,
“Monkey see, monkey do.”
Thus, it comes down to this one premise: teach children to be kind. If you fortify children with kindness, it is less likely that they become bullies or pack up with bullies.
I love this from Signe Witson:
Love your children so much that they will not hurt other people’s children.
Related post: Childhood trauma and DNA damage