In the day of peaceful protest and non-violent means to accomplish every end, it would seem pretty counter-intuitive to believe that, perhaps in some cases, violence could be the answer.
Today, the dramatic rise of severe bullying and cyber-bullying points to a problem that “turning the other cheek” doesn’t seem to be leading to any solution to, as much as a rope around the neck of the victims. It is nothing less than tragic.
On the one hand, too many people don’t seem to be quite as shocked or horrified as you’d imagine they ought to be. What’s to blame? I don’t know. Could it be that suicide, murder, gore, torture and all things bloody and evil are basically just venues of entertainment now? The movie, “Psycho” used to make our hearts pound and our palms sweat and all without an ounce of gore or even blood, really. Now, you’d have to watch a graphic reenactment of a young, (scantily clad), young woman, being viciously disemboweled, in HD, to get the same effect. (Reference the popularity of the “Saw” movies) Is it any wonder that we barley bat a lash when our youth begin taking their own lives? Is it really all that surprising that bullying goes unnoticed, or brushed off as “child’s play”, when in comparison, our entertainment is so much more brutal?
I don’t know… Maybe there’s no relationship there. Who knows? I think it deserves a thought though.
Of course, what also bears considering, I think, is the way in which we teach our kids to deal with these little monsters-in-the-making. We try to take the high road. We tell our kids to ignore the bully, to turn the other cheek. We tell them to use their words and demand the bully stop. If none of that works, we urge them to tell their teacher or other responsible adult. The problem is, those adults have no recourse at all in dealing with the little assholes. They have no means of doling out justice other than to call the bully’s parents and let them ignore the problem as they see fit.
My own little girl, at five years old, has already had the chance to deal with her very own bully. The little boy next door. That kid is just a total ass. Let’s not beat around the bush. He is completely un-disciplined and obviously has never experienced a consequence in his life other than the tantrums of his barely-older-than-teenage mom when his actions finally become annoying enough to merit her attention.
He is mean and rude. He used to call my daughter names, push her down, hit her, steal her toys and a whole other host of generally nasty behavior. I tried to take the peaceful route. I tried telling her to ignore, to use words, to simply not play with him… But none of that helped, as he continued his naughtiness and lived right next door. I even tried discussing the matter with the little boy’s mother, to no measurable effect. There wasn’t really any avoiding him, unless I wanted to lock my daughter inside everyday. Which I didn’t want to do. After all, how fair is that? That little bully gets to own the outdoors because he’s an ass? I don’t think so.
And so, one day, I finally did the unthinkable. I told my daughter that she had my full permission, and support, to teach the little terror a lesson in manners. I let her know that, should he bother her, that she should first attempt all non-violent means of altering his behavior. She should tell him to stop. She should try to walk away. But this time, should he lay a hand (or object) on her, or should he continue his assault on her verbally or physically, that should should make a fist and give that kid a hard, swift, punch to the nose, and let him know that this will be his consistent punishment should he choose to continue his unacceptable behavior.
Guess what? She did exactly as I told her, and that kid got EXACTLY what he had coming to him. A long time coming. Of course, THEN the mother wanted to talk about the situation. I very calmly related the conversations we had had in the past over her son’s behavior toward my daughter. I also told her that, from now on, my daughter not only has permission, but my full support in dealing with his bullying in a swift and decisive manner should he insist on continuing it. I urged the boy’s mother to work with him on finding other ways to express his anger and to also give him more guidance in positive ways to play and interact with other kids.
Long story short, that little boy has ceased his mistreatment of my daughter. He finally experienced a consequence for his horrible actions and realized there was now a very good reason not to think that he could push others around. Unless he wants another bloody nose, that is. Ha!
No amount of words or peaceful resolution techniques was ever going to stop this kid. In the end, he needed someone to communicate with him on the only level he could understand. A reliable, swift, effective consequence. Up until my daughter gave him that consequence, he had no other reason to stop his bullying. Why would he? He always got whatever it was he wanted with no recourse. Bullying served him well as long as there was no consequence for doing it. And if you think a “time out” or a stern lecture was a reasonable and fair consequence for bullying, then your An idiot. Wake up.
My children know, especially now, that avoiding a fight and peaceful means are always their first line of defense and recourse for solving a problem with a bully. But should those methods fail, they also understand that a swift, decisive, and hard punishment is called for to truly end the issue and deter its recurrence.
Sometimes, it appears, violence is the answer… And a very effective one, at that.
~ The Narcissist’s Wife