Originally Posted by karne
First, Kathy, I am sorry for your experience.
There are times when some aspects of a child's behavior or skill set, or something along those lines, can make them a target of kids who are abusive to other children. Not always, but it does happen, so schools are taking a more proactive approach, and I think parents are somewhat more aware as well. I know that my sister who has a child on the spectrum, worries terribly about this, and they try very hard to give their child some skills to "bully proof" him. It's clearly not the only reason bullying occurs-believe me, I have seen some junior high drama to attest to this.
Bolding mine. I do know some kids are targeted partly because of the way they react. Freaking out, lashing out, etc...It does not change the fact that the bullies should not bully, none-the-less a person might not be the chosen target if they respond in a way that does not give the bullier what he wants.
A large part of me (well over 1/2) thinks kids should be taught the kind of social skills that will make them less likely to be a target. If it lowers a chance a child will be bullied - well, that is the bottom line.
Where I get somewhat befuddled is around the message asking kids to change sends to the bullied.
Example - kids that are bullied are told to hold the anger, walk away, respond in jest, etc. What if these are not your normal reactions? Why should you have to change your behaviour because a bully is being , well, a bully?
What if it is deeper - what if you are gay or nerdy and are told not to act "gay or nerdy" so as to avoid bullying? Why does the victim have to do the changing?
Further advice to avoid bullying, such as travel with a buddy or avoid known bully hangouts (such as specific halls, etc) make me a little ragey. The bully then does have all the power - and the person who is doing nothing wrong has to change their behaviour because of it.
To be honest, I do not think focusing on child behaviour is the way to lower bullying. I think the messages are too complicated, the stakes are too high, and it is too much of a burden for children (teens might be a different matter).
I think adults and the schools need to act firmly, and:
1. supervise children properly, at least at school (which is the forum we are on). Many bullying incidents happen on the playground and on the bus where supervision is low. I don't mind if more of my taxpayer dollars go towards more staffing for adequate supervision.
2. Take a firmer line with the bullies. If the bullies cannot stop their actions, they should go to a school for kids with support for behaviour issues.