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Bullying--and those who argue kids need to experience it


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OK, so one of the arguments I frequently hear against homeschooling is that kids who are not exposed to negative experiences with their peers (i.e. bullying, though that word is typically not used) will fail to gain crucial life experience in dealing with other people.

 

Why do people make this argument? What research I have seen on bullying does not show positive gains of any sort as a result of the bullying--quite the contrary. Nor do I know any adults who honestly ascribe strength of character or ability to cope with challenging people and situations to the bullying they received as children. Are the people who make these claims people who were not bullied (or perhaps were bullies themselves?) Or is there something else behind the insistence that traumatic social experiences are in some way a critical component of a healthy childhood?

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I can't show you any research but bullying/getting picked on is not limited to ps. The first bullying my dds encountered was by homeschool kids at a party attended by only homeschool kids. I think most kids will experience it no matter where they receive their education.

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I can't imagine bullying would be positive ever. I recently commented on a post on fb where someone was asking advice about school. I suggested a private school in the area that would meet their specific criteria (half day kindy). I was BLASTED for suggested that this gentler approach to kindergarten would be better. People jumped all over me for insulating a child from real life experiences and wanting to cripple their ability to deal with pressure in real life. Seriously, kindergarten is now boot camp for "real life"? There were four or five people who took serious offense to my suggestion.

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I sort of agree. I have a DH who cannot read motives into other people's actions. He cannot "see" below the surface and sometimes gets hurt financially and emotionally. He just cannot see bad in others, or see that someone is less than genuine.

 

This does cause problems for him. He was public schooled, he is just unaware.

I worry about this for my children.

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When I was questioned on this my reply was to turn it around with questions.

 

If a child is not being bullied, will a good parent hire a bully for their children? Is it the responsibility of the school to make sure that all children are equally bullied?

 

Would you give that same advice to your daughter if the bully was her boyfriend or husband? What if your son's bully was his coach or his teacher?

 

This usually shuts down the conversation because it shows how silly it is.

 

 

 

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I believe people make that argument because in their minds"being bullied" is a normal thing. It is supposed to happen. When our ds was being bullied in school and we were having our umpteenth meeting with the school they said to us (among other things) "He has to learn that not everyone is going to like him and he is not going to like everyone else." My dh and I looked at each other and said "Yes, that is true. The flip side to that coin is that as an adult you don't have to put up with it. You can switch jobs, not hang out with someone, you can change the situation. Why does my 10 year old have to just deal with it?"

That last meeting cemented our moving forward with homeschooling.

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I sort of agree. I have a DH who cannot read motives into other people's actions. He cannot "see" below the surface and sometimes gets hurt financially and emotionally. He just cannot see bad in others, or see that someone is less than genuine.

 

This does cause problems for him. He was public schooled, he is just unaware.

I worry about this for my children.

Some people find social cues difficult to read and respond to; I do not see that a standard school environment, or large amounts of peer interaction, are a solution. You say yourself that your husband was public schooled, and the experience apparently didn't teach him better skills for understanding and dealing with people. Targeted therapies such as those used to help children on the autism spectrum navigate social situations might help, bullying surely does not.

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I think some of it comes from the loose use of the term bully in our current culture. For example, I found out when I was working at the school that it was considered "bullying" if a child did not want to play with another child. We aren't talking about being mean, just simply one child not wanting to play with another. It was bullying if children disagreed, and we were to step in instead of allowing them solve their differences. Once again, not bullying, but kids not agreeing on what game to play or the rules about something. Instead of allowing them to argue and discuss it, we had to step in with a final decision otherwise the child who didn't "win" the discussion was bullied. Heck, I was recently accused of being a bully because my son did not invite everyone he knows to his birthday party. By not inviting 30+ people I was bullying the poor kids that didn't come (And no, we didn't advertise the party and invited people discreetly, so there was no rubbing it in anyone's faces).

 

I don't think kids benefit from real bullying. They do benefit from learning to work through disagreements with others, learning they aren't always going to get their way with peers, and from experiencing disappointment. From my experience with the state of PS today, school children are no more likely to experience these benefits than homeschooled children. In fact, HS kids are more likely to get these valuable experiences because most HS parents I know don't step in and stop these healthy interactions, while PS does for fear of a "bully" label.

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I can't show you any research but bullying/getting picked on is not limited to ps. The first bullying my dds encountered was by homeschool kids at a party attended by only homeschool kids. I think most kids will experience it no matter where they receive their education.

 

Yep. My little girls were bullied once (right in front of me, how brazen was that??) at our homeschool group. I offered the little sweetie a ride home and immediately filled her mom in on what she had done.

 

Then I witnessed the mom practically dragging her into the house while yelling at her. I saw where she learned her behavior but I didn't feel bad about ratting her out.

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First of all, the only way to totally avoid negative experiences would be to lock your child in their room. Between dealing with siblings, neighborhood kids, kids from homeschool groups, and eventually having part time jobs when they were teens, they had ample opportunity to learn how to deal with other people. In observing my two grown dds, my current high school dd, and all their homeschooled friends, I am actually quite impressed with how well they handle the negative social situations that come up in every day life. Honestly, I believe they do better a job than I did when their age.

 

And I will never, ever, never believe bullying provides anything positive. That is just absolute nonsense. In fact, if I ever heard anyone say that I would suggest they go talk to my friend who lost her 15 year old son to suicide due in large part to the bullying he had to deal with in school.

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Yep, bullying is not limited to public schools. We experienced it in a homeschooling group. However, my child was not forced to spend the better part of 6 hours in constant contact with the bully - only a couple hours a week, there was more adult supervision, and adults stepped in to deal with the problem. There are bullies everywhere. I just don't think we need immersion to deal with them.

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Bullying is a emotionally charge word around here especially with an ongoing cyberbully suicide case of a 15 year old high school girl. Two years ago a neighbor asked me about how my kids would learn to cope with bullying without going to school. Bullying is everywhere, they don't need to go to school to learn to cope. Now people around me are more worried about their kids being bullied and schools doing nothing.

 

"Bullying is a deep-rooted problem with varied causes that are often outside the purview of laws, including troubled or violent homes that spur kids to take their anger out on other children. Finally, complicating the issue even further is a California school system steeped in dense bureaucracy, says Stuart Biegel, a professor at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and School of Law who has also worked as a K-12 teacher. "You can have the best laws on the books, but they may not do a whole lot because education in particular is difficult to change," Biegel says." (link from Time)

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This is a really important topic and I'm quite interested in what people have to say...

 

I did a radio interview with a psychologist one time who felt that it was so important to go to school to learn how to deal with bullying. This is because they have put in place some kinds of programs that are supposed to help children learn how to deal with the bullies.

 

ETD (it distracted from my real points)

 

So I asked the psychologist, does this mean that schools that don't allow bullying (later ds2 went to a private school where it simply was not tolerated) - that we should force some bullies into their schools so that those kids will then have to deal with the situation and have interventions?

 

And what about the kids at school who for whatever reason, don't get bullied? Should we force someone to go in and bully them so that they'll know how to deal with it?

 

She took my questions and turned them around and never answered basically.

 

Of course, homeschooled children can get bullied in groups outside of school as well....and their parents can help them learn how to deal with it...

 

I do think it is useful to learn how to deal with bullies if they happen in one's life, but definitely don't think we have to send kids to school to learn to deal with it, after all this can easily happen at work, or in any other group setting. Even some parents turn out to be bullies of a sort. But it is like many other skills, we might get the tools when young, or we might have to learn when older....

 

And evidently there are some personalities that tend to get picked on more easily....I haven't really studied it enough myself, though I did get a book about Bullyproofing your child....

 

 

Very interested in other people's experiences and observations,

Joan

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I can't show you any research but bullying/getting picked on is not limited to ps. The first bullying my dds encountered was by homeschool kids at a party attended by only homeschool kids. I think most kids will experience it no matter where they receive their education.

 

Oh, absolutely bullying is not limited to institutional schools--though that setting can be particularly problematic because a child may be forced to spend 6-8 hours every day with the children doing the bullying. The question is, why do some people view the experience of bullying as positive? Surely when your children were bullied at the party you didn't jump up and down with excitement because they were having this critical learning experience?

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Oh, absolutely bullying is not limited to institutional schools--though that setting can be particularly problematic because a child may be forced to spend 6-8 hours every day with the children doing the bullying. The question is, why do some people view the experience of bullying as positive? Surely when your children were bullied at the party you didn't jump up and down with excitement because they were having this critical learning experience?

 

I wasn't even there, but my kids handled themselves nicely without having ever been instructed on how to deal with bullying. Dh experienced a bully in his last job. He had to deal with it until he found a new job because the bully was upper management and no one was going to do anything. My point was merely you could answer that your dc do not need ps to experience it because it is everywhere.

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Why do people make this argument? What research I have seen on bullying does not show positive gains of any sort as a result of the bullying--quite the contrary. Nor do I know any adults who honestly ascribe strength of character or ability to cope with challenging people and situations to the bullying they received as children. Are the people who make these claims people who were not bullied (or perhaps were bullies themselves?) Or is there something else behind the insistence that traumatic social experiences are in some way a critical component of a healthy childhood?

 

 

I was bullied as a kid and I hated it. If I had the opportunity to go back and stop it, I would. However, it has made me into who I am today and I can see how it helped develop things about myself that I see as strengths. Part of the bullying happened in my church Youth Group, so when my Dh and I became the Youth Group leaders it helped me be more compassionate and more comfortable stepping up and squashing any pre-bullying behaviors. I also learned that the opinions, words and actions of others had no power over me. Once I realized that, I became a much happier person, even in the face of the bullying.

 

Yes, these are character traits that you can develop without bullying and I will try my hardest to grow them in my own children. But I can see the direct impact that it had on my life for good. What happened is part of who I am.

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This is a really important topic and I'm quite interested in what people have to say...

 

I did a radio interview with a psychologist one time who felt that it was so important to go to school to learn how to deal with bullying. This is because they have put in place some kinds of programs that are supposed to help children learn how to deal with the bullies.

 

I have mixed feelings about this all because I can see the value of some of the programs - my second son (both oldest went to school after doing homeschool early on) had this kind of program in place and they did talking in class about trouble makers and other kinds of interventions and he never got bullied - well attacked only once - and does have some good peacemaking skills, though those might be related to birth order. While the oldest didn't have that program and got bullied lots.

 

But not all schools are doing these kinds of programs either.

 

 

 

 

My DD's PS had a "program" in place. It was useless and the counseling did nothing to change things. Basically it enabled the bullying while my DD was supposed to politely ask the bully to stop. Or she was supposed to move to another part of the playground. It was all about changing her responses and behavior and not focussing on the wrong thing the bully was doing. It was akin to the "just don't give them a response" advise from back in my day that didn't work either. To make matters worse the teacher would not move her to another location in the school room until I went in to discuss it with the principal. She sat next to the bully for months and would tell the teacher the things he was calling her who would "encourage" DD to use some of those anti-bullying skills. At that point it had all gone too far. I was fed up with too many other things and we were done. They needed to work on his behavior and not my DD's behavior. She wasn't doing anything wrong! Maybe it was happening behind the scenes but not much was changing for my DD who begged me to not make her go school any longer. Her favorite day was Monday because she got to go to another school for the gifted program and he wasn't there. This as a very disheartening experience for her and I would not say that it helped her learn how to deall with bullies.

 

Honestly, I think the "your kids need to be bullied" is just a twist on the socialization topic. They only bring it up because they can't ding us on academics. And it gives people something to make them sound like they are thinking outside the box when in reality, they are just bringing up the same old stuff against homeschooling.

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I think the only people who make this argument are the parents of the bullies. Who were probably bullies themselves.

 

I'd use the "I Agree" smilie, but it has a smiley face, and it needs to have a grumpy face. Where is Grumpy Cat when you need her??

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When I was questioned on this my reply was to turn it around with questions.

 

If a child is not being bullied, will a good parent hire a bully for their children? Is it the responsibility of the school to make sure that all children are equally bullied?

 

Would you give that same advice to your daughter if the bully was her boyfriend or husband? What if your son's bully was his coach or his teacher?

 

This usually shuts down the conversation because it shows how silly it is.

 

This is good. I'm going to have to remember it.

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When someone asks the "bullying" question, just tell them it's OK - you've got it covered. Once a week, you pull your dc into the bathroom, call them names, and take some of their allowance. Say it dead pan - totally straight face. Then see what they say.

 

:D

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When someone asks the "bullying" question, just tell them it's OK - you've got it covered. Once a week, you pull your dc into the bathroom, call them names, and take some of their allowance. Say it dead pan - totally straight face. Then see what they say.

 

:D

 

 

That is a great response!

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I sometimes think people use the children need to experience bullying as a weak shorthand for "children need to learn to stand up for themselves and assert themselves"-which is not a bad skill to have.

 

However, it's clearly not always learned in a school setting, it's not a skill all adults who went to school learned, and sometimes it's not encouraged in a school setting anyway.

 

I think it's also part of a criticism of homeschooling I've seen before, that it makes children's lives to easy and smooth and too adult centric.

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I suspect these people confuse "bullying" with "learning to properly respond to social cues."

 

Learning social cues is an important part of success in many careers and aspects of life. I suspect school has little to do with those skills though, it's more something that is picked up from your family (or not).

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I was badly bullied and it most certainly did not prepare me to handle lifes pressures, it broke me to the point I could handle nothing. I am only now recovering, probably in this past year I am buiding some self esteem. I think that is because I made an amazing friend who I went to school with but never knew well and she shared so many of the same experiences and because I am returning to my photography and managing to find mentors and people to look up to who are truely supportive and building me up gently.

 

I tend to think that being able to stick up for yourself comes from being brought up to believe you are worth something and seeing your family sticking up for them selves in day to day normal situations.

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If you must go to school to learn to deal with bullying, then it must not happen outside of school. If it doesn't happen outside of school, it's not exactly a necessary life skill and you shouldn't need to learn it. If it does happen outside of school (which we all know to be true), why would you specifically have to go to a school to learn to deal with it?

 

Also if we are sending our kids to school in part so that they can learn to deal with bullies, why are so many schools cracking down on bullying behavior? If we want our kid to sink or swim in some kind of Darwinian social setting, we should tell the teachers to back off and let whatever happens happen.

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I wanted to clarify that, in my post above, I certainly didn't mean to make light of bullying. I was extensively bullied as a child (an unathletic, extremely introverted pudgy kid who gets skipped a grade isn't exactly the thing to be in a small town) and I know how awful it is.

 

I just like to be snarky to people who ask idiotic questions. :D

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It's funny when the people who want me to send Dd to school to experience the full benefits of bullying immediately complain to higher and higher authorities to switch schools when their kids get bullied.

 

There have been bullying attempts in Sunday school, but Dd's verbal skills seem to confuse the second-grade boys. It's basically "I'll clobber you with my brain."

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When someone asks the "bullying" question, just tell them it's OK - you've got it covered. Once a week, you pull your dc into the bathroom, call them names, and take some of their allowance. Say it dead pan - totally straight face. Then see what they say.

 

:D

 

 

I totally overlooked this part of curriculum planning! I should be writing down what happened to DH and me now so I can replicate that experience for my kids when they are officially school age. I need to remember to add:

  • kick them in the shins so hard they bleed

  • destroy their backpack by playing soccer with it

  • call them filthy names

  • pull their hair

  • rip their books

  • expose them to soft p*rn

  • stab them in the arm with a pencil out of the blue

 

I've already crossed "shove him in a locker" off my list for DS. :lol: I even have photographic evidence for his portfolio in case anyone ever questions whether he's getting a good education. Does it count if he did it to himself and enjoyed it?

 

 

locker_zps374749db.jpg

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When someone asks the "bullying" question, just tell them it's OK - you've got it covered. Once a week, you pull your dc into the bathroom, call them names, and take some of their allowance. Say it dead pan - totally straight face. Then see what they say.

 

:D

 

:smilielol5:

 

 

sadly - your example doesn't go far enough. it's actually pretty mild. you need to add the - throw eggs at them, hit them, trip them, put "kick-me" signs on their back, etc. be charming to the adults so the adults blame the victim and the victim gets in trouble.

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Oh yes, I was fed that line by a few of my relatives; the ones who were bullied so much at school that they are still fractured individuals. Personally, I don't think most people need to venture further than their extended family to experience bullying. I was bullied at school, but the bullying from family was far worse.

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:smilielol5:

 

 

sadly - your example doesn't go far enough. it's actually pretty mild. you need to add the - throw eggs at them, hit them, trip them, put "kick-me" signs on their back, etc. be charming to the adults so the adults blame the victim and the victim gets in trouble.

 

I had orginally written "rough them up a bit" instead of "call them names" but changed it before I posted it 'cause I thought that the first one might have been over the line - social services being called, etc. Although... Makes one think, doesn't it? If a parent does it, children are potentially removed from the home. But the folks suggesting that kids need to go through it in school feel that it's a beneficial part of life. I know, I know... Adult bullying a child vs. other child bullying a child... Apples to oranges...

 

But it makes ya think. :)

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I've already crossed "shove him in a locker" off my list for DS. :lol: I even have photographic evidence for his portfolio in case anyone ever questions whether he's getting a good education. Does it count if he did it to himself and enjoyed it?

 

 

The picture should absolutely go in his portfolio! When the other kids in college start sharing all of their "yeah, well, when I was in high school..." stories, he can bet them that he was "shoved in a locker" at a younger age than any of them were. And he has proof. :D

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I think that mentality is a part of the culture that dealt with bullying poorly throughout and allowed bullying to continue unabated for generations.

 

It's considered normal; it's become normative. Under-informed people and ignorant people assume it's a development imperative, an inevitable reality instead of a function of a flawed system (kids in groups with minimal supervision, coaching, structure, and direction.)

 

It's born of the generations that revictimized victims with the lame "just walk away" or even worse "avoid them".

 

I still remember the boy who bullied me: the worst was when he threw a lit cigarette butt at my check while riding by on someone's handlebars to school. I still catch my breath, tighten up, and move towards tears thinking about it. And I am a 47 year old mental health professional. Good for me? Necessary?

 

It's a sick culture that embraces pathology as normal.

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I have not read all the posts but had to jump in. The idea that kids need to be bullied to learn important skills is both ridiculous and appalling. If this is true, why is it that thousands of dollars are being spent on anti-bullying programs?

 

I and several other kids were bullied for years in grade school. The bullying negatively impacted me. I was able to overcome, with help, but it took time and $ (therapy). Because my tormentors were girls I had a deep distrust of females for years. I can think of much better ways to build character.

 

What I endured is one of the top reasons for my decision to homeschool. I have no fond memories of grade school . . . what comes to mind is "Lord of the Flies."

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people who think bullying is something children need to experience

 

1. have never been bullied

2. were/are bullies

3. are sick individuals

 

I don't know if I completely agree with you here, I was majorly bullied ant school and use to believe it

I was bullied at school big time. I was beaten up regularly, swapped schools to get away from the bullies only to run into others. If I went into the playground everyone would leave , I mean everyone. If I touched a piece of playground equipment everyone would jump off and the kids that were on there had made some sort of secret chant that would cleans them of my germs that had traveled across the metal. I had knife held at my throat, itching powder poured all over me, sort of sexually assaulted ( very minor incidents).

 

When my children went to school I hate to say that I felt that my children needed to experience bullying so they would learn how to cope with it... that it was a part of life... How wrong was I. I now know that it is terrible for self-esteem etc.

 

fortunately for my children I removed them from school for other reasons. they were only minorly bullied before that

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I feel the difference between brick and mortar school bullying and homeschooled bullying is that b&m is 7-8 hours a day, 5 days per week. That is a full time job of feeling helpless and scared, vs. a once a week at co-op, for example, or at soccer practice. I know that bullying is serious no matter who is doing it and no matter how long, but it seems like hs'ers have an advantage at least in the duration department. I also feel like I will have more control to nip whatever in the bud, vs parents feeling like they have to at least try to "work it out" because it's school, which they feel is mandatory.

 

Our one experience with bullying came when Asher was 4, and he was in a small group at church with 6, 7, and 8 year olds. They told A and the other 4 year old that they were babies, they couldn't play games "right", blatantly ignored them when they tried to talk to them (even at church on Sundays), stopped playing whatever game they were playing when A and P tried to join, told A he was stupid. This only went on for 2 Wednesdays before A told me, then he asked them to stop (didn't work), I had the sitter step in (didn't work), and then I went to the parents of the bullies, so 3 Wednesdays total of unacceptable behavior, and I was ready to go myself the next week and model how we treated people if the parents didn't intervene, but I surely wasn't going to allow him to be victimized by these little Cretins :). I feel like ps parents feel trapped because they are waiting for the teacher/administration to take care of the problem and meanwhile the bullying continues :(. You can't just roll up in a classroom and model appropriate behavior for the bully, you would be "victimizing and targeting" them.

 

So yes, we will still deal with bullying, but I am hoping never on the scale of what I hear about from other parents and in the media.

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