Probably everyone has had to deal with a bully at one time or another.  There’s always going to be someone making another person’s life miserable.  Almost like a disease without a cure, bullying often goes too far.  Too often, we hear about a teenager that has decided the only way to escape the torment of a bully is to commit suicide.  This needs to stop.

Definitions of a bully are, someone who:

(a) intimidates;

(b) threatens;

(c) frightens;

(d) terrorizes; and/or

(e) endangers.

Anyone who has encountered bullies can no doubt add other descriptions.  What can we as a society do about this problem?  Parents are the key.  By paying close attention to our kids, we can notice when they seem to be acting differently, and ask questions.  Many times a child won’t say that someone is harassing them, until it’s gone too far.  Place a confidential call to school officials to bring the problem to their attention.  If school administration or teachers are unable to curtail the situation, call law enforcement.

In the past, things like this happened on “mean streets.”  With cell phones, computers, and email chat rooms, the cyber world creates virtual “bad streets” everywhere!  Cowards hiding behind a computer or cell phone can make a person’s life miserable by spreading all sorts of rumors or making threats.

Then, there are some of the bullies left over from junior high, still out there, seeking attention the only way they know, by picking on someone else and trying to build themselves up by making others feel small.  (We’re talking about the workplace, now!) Here’s some advice for grown-ups and students to apply when encountering a bully:

  • Avoid this person as much as possible.
  • Develop self-control; don’t let them think they have the best of you.
  • Ignore them.
  • Talk to teachers, school administrators.  They have laws to follow to protect you.
  • Talk to your supervisor; your company should have policies that protect you.
  • Ask that security cameras be placed in areas that could deter these activities.
  • Keep a record.  It’s always good advice to document, document, document!
  • If it keeps up, make a formal complaint to management.
  • When that doesn’t work, seek legal advice.  Personal injury lawyers’ consultations are usually free.

This all goes back to parenting.  If parents know they are raising a bully, they should put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.  The damage that bullies can cause sometimes leaves a permanent scar on their victim.  We all must learn to behave toward others in a positive way.
Only then will we see a safer world.