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Community Commentary: Break the cycle of bullying

September 28, 2011|By Adam Grindlinger

The end of summer and the beginning of fall has several meanings to children and their parents. This time of year may mean back-to-school shopping, homework, the anticipation of new teachers and friends, transitioning into new school settings, and the inevitable bully.

I am willing to bet that 99.9% of the adults reading this will have no trouble remembering the name of the classroom bully who tortured them at one time or another during their academic career. I have trouble remembering my senior-year high school English teacher, but I'll never forget "Doug." "Doug" used to bully me relentlessly in the fifth grade for being the "new kid in school" and that I was, of all things, "too tall." "Doug," mind you, was vertically challenged and maybe weighed 70 pounds soaking wet. "Doug" obviously had a lot of power over me, being that I can remember his ridicule like it was yesterday.

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Chances are that if you have kids, either they have been bullied, they are being bullied or they have bullied another kid themselves. The point is that everyone has been bullied at some point. However, most people keep bully problems a secret because they feel ashamed or scared to talk about what's really happening. Kids may even go so far as to blame themselves for being bullied. Is it because of how I look, how I dress, where I live, something I said? Absolutely not!

Bullies tend to crave power and the need to be in control. They usually like to hurt and frighten people they perceive as smaller or weaker (despite their actual size). Bullies are able to harm people physically, mentally and emotionally. By having you under their control, a bully feels superior and invincible as well as being in charge, while you feel like a wimp, a failure, afraid and angry. The worse you feel about yourself, the better the bully feels. Bullies often see another person's success as their own failure. Then they become mad and jealous, and they want to punish the person who is making them feel that way. If they would only stop and realize that each person is responsible for what happens in their own life and stop blaming others!

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