"Just ignore them... they'll leave you alone if you ignore them..." I can't even remember how many times I kept hearing that statement from adults when I was in school. I got 'picked on' in every way conceivable when I was young, and when I went to my parents (and teachers) at that time, I got told the above. I can tell you that when I tried 'ignoring them', it only made things worse. I would get teased even more, and they'd hit me all the same.
The response is very different, now. Kids are encouraged to 'tell' when bullying takes place, and a lot more is done about it than just 'wagging a finger' at the bully.
I can tell you it took something extreme to get the people who were 'picking on' me to finally leave me alone. After years of being made miserable - told I was 'unpopular' and 'unwanted'. Told not to sit at anyone's table because they didn't want 'a loser' with them. They seemed disgusted by me.
But in the end they were afraid of me. One day I suppose it finally just got to be too much for me (after one of the bullies 'picked a fight' with me...), and, to use an expression, I 'be*t the snot out of him'. I don't remember doing it, and it wasn't even the fact that I had done it in the first place that made them leave me alone. It was the fact that I was crying afterward because of how terrible I felt that I'd hurt him.
It meant nothing to those nasty kids that I'd hurt him. That I felt bad for doing it scared them terribly. What does that say about bullies and the sort of people they are? Nothing good, if you ask me.
It doesn't take any (real) 'strength' to be a bully... all it takes is a willingness to hurt someone else because they're somehow different from you. I'm glad that kids get a lot more support from their parents and teachers now - more effective support... and I hope that I see more sites like this in the future. I can say I'll teach my kids (when they're old enough) that bullying is wrong, and what they should do when they see someone being bullied.
We've reached the point where it's no longer 'cool' to be a bully, no matter what some kids seem to think, and 'ignoring the bully' is no longer the answer.
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