Sunday, March 13, 2016

How do kids combat adult bullies?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

A lesson that I have recently learned is that, despite what I hoped for in adulthood, the age of a person does not determine the quality of their character. Throughout my time as a student from elementary school to high school, I have encountered many wise and caring adults who have taught me the value of empathy and kindness by example, which is why I was so surprised to encounter a person who, even as an adult, consistently humiliated and bullied many people in her life.

I did not recognize that many of my friends and I were being bullied by this person at the time, and thought that the snide comments directed at me were the result of my own downfalls.

The sadness and anxiety that I felt around this adult began to spread into every part of my life, to the point where I could not sleep well or enjoy time with my family and friends, because this adult had managed to scare me into keeping quiet about her behavior so as to avoid increased mistreatment.

Adult bullies are not discussed very much in popular culture, but they can be a detrimental force on the lives of many people, especially those younger than them.

However, adult bullies hardly ever have to answer for their mistreatment because it is so easy for them to dismiss children or their parents as overly sensitive and irrational.

Today, I see the adult bully in my life praised by the same students who she attacks because they are too afraid to go up against her.

I am deeply saddened to see such a negative environment foster in a school where I have had such good experiences.

More than anything, I want the young girls who I spent so much time with to have a role model that utilizes positive reinforcement and, overall, teaches them that every person has worth and value.

My question, then, is how can young people combat the adults who belittle and diminish them through bullying?

Signed,
Keeping Quiet

Dear Quiet,

We first want to recognize how mature and wise you are as a young woman transitioning into a beautiful adult. You are embarking adulthood as a valued leader who, “by example” will be a kind, empathetic, positive and powerful adult.

You, by example, are combating and crushing your adult bully, who is a coward. Your bully is a coward because she/ he lacks your courage to lead with the valiant honor and integrity you already possess.

You may not realize that your journey through a lot of agonizing pain, loneliness, fear, mistreatment, and lost time with friends, family and even yourself, has suggested to us that you have great insights to the destruction a bully causes.

The only way a bully (adult or child, corporate or schoolyard) gains the fa├žade of power is by humiliation, threats, intimidation and fear tactics, etc.

As an adult bully, she/ he has had more experience, success and time to pump helium into her big balloon!
The students that are praising your adult-bully are contributing more “hot air” into the balloon with their fake praise.

You have moved through our challenging Triangle of Triumph™ by going from victim-survivor-leader, defining yourself, not by your own “downfalls”, but by your hard-earned positive leadership skills.
Your example, your truth, has poked a small hole into her/ his balloon and it is going to leak.

It’s going to slowly leak because of your great example and words, ”More than anything, I want the young girls who I spent so much time with to have a role model that utilizes positive reinforcement and, overall, teaches them that every person has worth and value.”

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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