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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Is Bullying a Learned Behaviour?

Aggression is an abhorrent behaviour when it is used as a weapon to subdue or control others. Over the centuries many have taught the young to fight, manipulate and steal in order to survive, obtain wealth or gain status. The victims of aggression often found themselves in unwinnable situations and moved away from the hostilities, where possible. When situations became too stifling for communities and words of fairness could not be heard, they banned together against tyrannical groups or individuals and war ensued. Those that are corner are forced to defend themselves.Aggression is an abhorrent behaviour when it is used as a weapon to subdue or control others. 

The history of ancestors at war has bought some eras of peace, but at what cost to human emotional development and empathy for others? Children and teenagers learn from the world around them, they know how to fight, verbally abuse, manipulate via stealth, make fun of others, use online deception and tell half the truth. Are these forms of bulling becoming more acceptable? All of this says people can’t be trusted and to a small extent this is true, so how can individuals and humanity evolve past this point of mistrust? Can people rid themselves of this underlying anger or is it some kind of predatory self-protection method?

Who teaches verbal and physical bullying in the school yard; siblings, parents, friends, social media, family trauma, social problems or innate instincts? What chance do children have to become emotionally intelligent unless parents, teachers and role models show them the way? This means helping them with wise words when they hurt others unconsciously, which many parents and carers do, though some new parenting technique have different views. Rough play seems natural enough for small children, but even then someone is left crying. Personal space and respect seems vital in the schoolyard, yet as children learn language they mimic those around them and spout words they barely understand and hurt others. Children aren’t born aggressive, that is a learned behaviour from outside influences. As children reach school age some are naturally shocked by playground behaviour and what they see in the world. Giving children a happy healthy childhood full of wonder and mystery is vital, but how do parents reconcile that with the harsher realities of life?

In leisure time children, teens and adults watch movies and documentaries about the worst mental and physical damage humanity can muster – entertainment is flooded with the balance of good and evil. Gaming is infused with shooting, killing and maiming the enemy to get points so people can move up the social, economic and egotistical ladder. The daily news shows how aggressive humanity is as a species. Trying to create a civilised population is harder than first thought! There seems to be an underlying aggression in some people that can’t make allowances for the differences of others. Since technology allowed people to see each other in their distinctively advantaged and disadvantaged lives war has continue its damaging path.

Children and young adults are taught to rise to the top in study, work, businesses and sport, but if it’s not sustainable and it causes conflict, jealously, disappointment and outward aggression, what is the point! Maybe it is time to teach children individuality, empathy and balance? Give children a chance to thrive without constant competition! Teach them that they don’t have to prove their worth to friends and family. How can anyone learn in an aggressive childhood environments? Ask why society values its winners over joint efforts? Put love before achievement, let them be themselves. Help them to create lasting friendships. Stamp out bullying; evolve as a species!

Sharon D Bush
Writer   Historian   Artisan   Sage     

Book: The Scrolls of Wisdom, philosophical/spiritual self-help book finished (on the final edit – looking for publishers).