The Rise of the Bully

Bullying has been around for a long time and has been the subject of countless, books, movies, research, and debate. While I was young, there was some fairly simple advice offered as to how to deal with a bully.  In this day and age, the bullying phenomenon has become much more complicated. With the rise of social media and the fact that many parents allow their children to have unsupervised access to the internet, it seems that dealing with bullying has gone from a playground rite of passage to a full-blown epidemic. 

What further complicates the issue is that the “old school” method of dealing with bullies is not only frowned upon but carries serious consequences. I, like many others in my generation, dealt with bullies by finally putting my foot down and using my fists to solve the problem. Two family movies of my youth, Back to the Future and The Karate Kid, both show that the target of the bully has to resort to striking his tormentor in the face to finally resolve the situation. In real life, every person that I have ever talked to that successfully ended the bullying resorted to the same tactics that worked for me.  However, to advocate fighting now would be called “barbaric,” “irresponsible” or worse. 

Ironically, I am not advocating that kids resort to violence to put an end to bullying behavior. When I was a kid the consequences for punching a bully were not very severe compared to what happens today. I got a couple of days suspension and kicked off of the track team in 11th grade for exchanging blows with a bully after a meet one day. At the time I felt that being removed from the track team was a harsh punishment, however, nowadays kids are threatened with expulsion and arrest if they are to get into a fistfight. 

Therefore, kids need to have different strategies to shield themselves from the adverse effects of bullying. In a future post, I will dissect some of the dangerous advice that so-called “experts” are offering as a solution for kids who have been targets of bullying. More importantly, we will discuss some real-life strategies that can help.

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