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Childhood bullying is natural.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Zontar, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Zontar

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    I'm going to come out and cynically, though realistically, admit that there is no solution to childhood/adolescent bullying, and never will be. It will never end.

    Why do I say this? It's all about the nature of people. Bullying is, for all intents and purposes, natural. "Natural" is not desirable, however. Children's brains are not fully developed. This was in study after study in the middle of the last decade, where fMRI studies confirmed this. If you don't even have a properly developed brain, what's the first thing you're going to do? Revert to base instinct and shun all those who don't conform! Children are, for all intents and purposes, animals until their reasoning develops.

    It's even in my personal experience as well. Bullying does not stop until you learn that what one is doing will not be tolerated in the real world. I say this because although bullying will never be eliminated, these are time-critical years where we must teach children what is right and what is wrong, so that they may put these virtues into practice when they do finally "grow out of it." Simple Aristotlean conditioning: those habituated in youth to do virtuous things will do them, but in adulthood.

    Is this to say there is nothing we can do about it? Yes, pretty much. But animals react to animal stimuli. This is why this "go to your teacher or parent" bullshit is not going to work. Hence why I believe that victims of bullying must be taught to fight back. Why? Because when you fight back, it stops. Much as if you placed your pet's paw on a stove (if you actually do this, you're a fuckwad), it would never bother to go near the stove again...bullies must, quite bluntly, be hurt. It's a form of corporal punishment, and the only way a still animalistic-brain will learn what is right and what is not.

    Children engage in savage power-struggles like any other animal. There are people on top and people on bottom by virtue of raw strength. You can't apply mature, adult logic to handle animal matters like theirs. It doesn't stop until you, quite literally, grow up, and then only if you're properly habituated. Adults of course engage in hate crimes as well; these people don't use their reasoning properly because they never learned.

    Which brings me to why I'm writing this. This liberal mindset of "never hitting anyone" does not work. I'm writing it here specifically, because of the prevalence of gay bullying. Gays are bullied because they are "different", and the tribal mindset of children is that anyone who is different is a threat to the social order. If we're ever going to put an end to this, the only thing to do is to tell gay children: fight back! They won't back down unless you show them superiority in strength, because that is all they know!

    What we are doing now in American schools does not work.
     
    #1 Zontar, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  2. No One

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    It may be human "nature" but we cannot simply allow it to happen.
     
  3. musican

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    Mmhmm. Death is also natural, but that doesn't mean that at the first sign of illness that we let it happen, we fight it the best way we know how.
     
  4. Elven

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    You may see them as animalistic, but that is just an opinion. Their brains may not yet be fully developed but that hardly means that they don't know how to act, people absorb morals and right and wrongs before they do words. A human child always has reasoning, whether it is well trained is another thing, but it is in some more than others. Many children are unlikley to instigate bullying another child but in an attempt to avoid violence or exclusion themselves, may just join in, if nothing else we have the instinct to create a hierarchy which unfortunatly always tends to leave someone at the bottom.

    But that is not so much as animalistic as a reflection of adult life, society is undoubtably structured like that, even in communist society some are always "more equal than others". People will want to be accepted by or sometimes be the top of society even if they have to fight for it, so school is a bit like a microcosm. If it wasn't people wouldn't be fighting for equal rights as adults.

    A great many people do and have got bullied, yes, and it is a horrible thing, like you say it is a natural human responce to shun those who are are different or may cause a threat, often to protect themselves or out of their own insecurities. And as an instinct it is something that will always slightly influence people's decisions and behavior but still I disagree that violence is necessary.

    You suggest that physical abuse will teach a child that what they are doing is wrong, and I'm sure you're right, but that will often just cause more hate directed at the perpetrator and make them more animalistic. Though they may stop bullying, for example gays, it may cause them to hate them more or even fear them which could cause in this case homophobia.

    If someone has already become physically violent then I agree with self defence, but I wouldn't teach a child to instigate it because someone has vocally been hurtful to them. To be physically violent in the first place would make them the bully and would be no better than the other person. Though it's easier said than done and children are very sensitive, I should think that it is better to educate children to have a hard skin to it, if they learn not to take it to heart, then they won't react. Maybe you don't agree but that's how I used to, and I suppose still do avoid it.

    Being gay is different though because they often don't get taught that being gay is OK by parents or anyone at a young age and sometimes may even be taught to hate them, many consider it an open issue while as it is well established that for example left handed people, tall people, short people, red haired people are all perfectly normal. So it isn't the same as bullying because of hair colour or something equally minimal, though it should be, because in this case they are being backed-up by their view of right and wrong and sometimes adults, religion, etc, hence why the public and religious views in general as well as in schools needs to be changed. It is often completly a social stigma so bullying because of sexuality is in my opinion a seperate issue to be dealt with.

    I agree that as you say there is not necessarily any solid way to deal with bullying but I believe that there are many alternatives to becoming physically violent with people who bully you. As for being bullied because of sexuality; that needs to be solved in general society first, hence why the less brave of us just avoid coming out in school and sometimes avoid being ourselves which is a horrible thing and can cause problems in later life. It may be instinct to act in such a way but I believe it is part of being human to try and overcome such limitations.
     
    #4 Elven, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  5. Meropspusillus

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    One of the leading theories as to why humans evolved altruism is that we had to be nice to other people in our group because if our group had good cohesion and cooperation we could go kill other groups and take their resources. Essentially, if this is true, altruism evolved because of war, and we are genetically programmed to be mean (violent) towards others that are not members of our group. Food for thought.
     
  6. Some more food for thought:

    Just because we are genetically programmed to do something, does it mean that we should just accept that? Does that mean we should just do it? What about our higher reasoning skills? We defy our biology left and right these days, this issue is no different.

    ---------- Post added 23rd Mar 2011 at 04:21 PM ----------

    Exactly ^
     
  7. TheJoker

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    Bullying continue in adult life too. It just change forms.That big child make fun of you still there as your little annoying boss.

    Always & forever. Hierarchy is in nature.
     
  8. Nomad187

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    Wow this is a joke.
    Oh its nature just hit em back! Yes thats the smart thing to do. yea we are animals but we have higher reasoning so violence is not what we should be teaching kids to resort to. yea someone gets physical with you then defend yourself but you shouldn't get physical with someone who is only being verbal. It is really disgusting an sad that you advocate violence as the answer.
     
  9. Zontar

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    I emphasized this specifically to counter this argument that we should just let it happen.

    My point is, don't be hopeful that we'll see an era completely free of bullying.
     
  10. Meropspusillus

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    That's easier said than done, and really how much do we defy our biology these days? Not that much I'd argue, we're a lot more animals than any of us want to admit. I think accepting that is one of the first steps to "overcoming" it. Children and adults will always be more cautious towards people they consider other than people they might consider group. Rather than teaching that we should be kind to the "other", which I think is impossible, we should teach that everyone is group. Of course, that is also freaking hard to do.
     
  11. MyDecember

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    Just like rape! Murder! Racism! Heterosexisim!

    Sure kids are different than adults but there are ways to communicate with children what is acceptable and what is not. I refuse to accept your notion that bullying will always be natural in the real world because if we accept that idea we perpetuate it. Society must be optimistic about this subject. With the right social responses/controls, a difference can be made. I'll leave you with some Jane Elliot.
    Note: The video deals with discrimination but it parallels this subject.

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BrFHq-t2VY&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UbNp15zDtE&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPIxU6_ClIM&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLEEJuHgnk4&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA-UNSxZV4k&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XfHJmaLt24&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
     
  12. Owen

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    Civilization as a whole only exists because man overcame his animal instincts long enough to build it. Civilization is a manifestation of man's higher reasoning skills and ability to overcome his animal instincts via those higher reasoning skills. If we weren't able to do that, we'd be living in tribes, scavenging for food with the rest of the beasts. To submit to the idea that we will never overcome out animal instincts and to surrender to them runs counter to the values of civilization. It may be a constant struggle to not give in to our animal instincts, but if we don't teach our children to do just that, we are not giving them the survival tools they need to make it in civilized society.

    The idea of "an eye for an eye" is a very animalistic ideal, a very bestial ideal; our higher reasoning tells us that there are better ways to react when we are wronged than to seek revenge, and civilization depends on us dealing with our disputes with others in ways other than revenge. If you teach children to fight back against bullies, you are teaching them (both the victim and the bully) to respond to their peers in an animalistic way. By teaching them to go to an adult, they are appealing to something higher than themselves (in this case, the authority of the adult and the adult's higher reasoning), and when they grow older, they'll have learned to do the same thing, whether that be to settle their disputes by appealing to a higher authority (the police, the government, the courts, etc.) or a higher way of dealing with things (their own rational thought). Civilization depends on people settling their disputes with others in one of those two ways (appealing to an outside authority of via rational compromise) rather than by a might-makes-right method; that kind of mentality only works in a warrior society.

    The bully himself is giving in to his animalistic instincts, as you said when you mentioned the tribal mindset. By encouraging children to "fight back", you are encouraging them to respond to someone giving in to their animal instincts by giving in to their own animal instincts. There will always been times when people give in to those animal instincts, but if you teach others to respond to those times by giving in to their own instincts, you have only encouraged them to move away from civilized values. Civilization depends on us being civil with one another; fighting back in the same animalistic way is not civil.

    Is this an overly simplistic view? Maybe. Is it idealistic? Perhaps. But it's the reason I can't agree with what you say in your post in a practical way.

    Maybe we won't, but it's very hard for most people to continue to fight for something if they don't believe that victory in their fight is actually an achievable end. Some people can do that, but they are few and far between (in media, they are known as Knights In Sour Armor). Many people will simply give up trying to discourage and reduce bullying in children (which I do think is possible) if they think that it is impossible to ever eradicate bullying completely, because they will constantly think that they are fighting in vain for their goal. Hope may be a baseless value, but for many people, it's all that keeps them going.

    And though we may never see an era free of bullying, that doesn't mean we can't try to reduce its prevalence, because I think that is an achievable end. If you take only one thing away from this wall of text, let it be that.
     
  13. Gothitil

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    It's also in human nature to kill our enemies. We don't do that..normally.
     
  14. Meropspusillus

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    I disagree with you. Man's "creation" of civilization has nothing to do with "overcoming our animal instincts" its rather simple: we developed agriculture (about 100 million years after it was developed by ants, mind you), were able to gather food more effectively, and were thus able to live in permanent settlements. Some people could devote time to other activities than gathering food (art, learning, and so forth), and BAM civilization.

    For all we've accomplished, we're animals, just like any other animal is animal. Our brains are extraordinarily complex things, but just because we exhibit behavior we don't see very often in other animals doesn't mean that we're "beyond" animals. Our ability to reason, and our grasp of language allows us to tackle more complex problems than animals can. However, every single thought we have is a product of our brain, which is, ultimately, a very animal thing.
     
  15. Holliepop

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    WOAH WOAH WOAH. I'm a liberal and I don't agree with 'not hitting people'.

    We have this thing in schools in the U.K too; "If you're getting bullied, tell the teacher."

    I have NEVER found this good enough because from what I've seen (friends getting bullied), it just makes it worse. My friend was told by a teacher to write everything the bullies said in a notebook and give it to the teacher at the end of the day. Know what the bullies did? Threw the notebook on the school roof. :/

    I have always been told that if someone hits me, I hit them back. I should never hit first, but I should defend myself. I believe that if a child is hit, and if they are able to hit back or show any strength, it is basically saying to the bully "I ain't taking your shit. So you better back off." If a child runs to tell the teacher or 'ignores' the bullying (in which I know a bullied child CANNOT simply ignore bullying), then they will be percieved as 'weak', in which is seen as an undesirable trait.

    My friend's bullying only stopped after she made friends with a guy who was incredibly popular, and didn't take shit from anyone, so therefore no one bothered her because of his strength. He told me he had built up this strength because he's gay, and people gave him crap at Primary school. They only left him alone when he punched a kid who had kicked him to the ground, affirming the fact that you don't mess with him.

    Also, because he's incredibly popular (though, not a very nice person - I think power has gone to his head), he's seen as a representation of gay people in our school. Therefore when it comes to homophobic bullying specifically, there isn't any, because the representation in our school is overt, popular, well-known and a powerful force in the school.

    Bullies pick on the weak, if a victim shows that they're strong and if you hurt them, they'll kick your ass, then people will leave that victim alone.

    End of rant. :slight_smile:
     
  16. No, I really do think we do defy our biology (not to say that it isn't always there in the back of our heads telling us we ought to do things without us really knowing). Take sex for example. All our parts are perfect for procreating, but yet we invented contraception. How is that part of biology? Or table manners. What biological function do they serve?

    So what I'm saying is, if we can have conversations about how things SHOULD be or how we WANT them to be (ie. only having babies when you're ready or maybe not at all, or trying to minimize bullying in schools) then how is it that we can't DO those things instead of just talking about it?

    I get what you're saying about teaching that everyone is a group and therefore that everyone should be included and not feared or hated. That's a start. But the fact that you're even saying that is defying our biological impulses. If what you're saying is true, that we are genetically more likely to trust those in our group, but we should try to teach those groups in a different light, then actually you and I are agreeing because that's not what's "natural" for us.
     
  17. Rikudo

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    It is animal nature to pick on the weak as they are not supposed to survive. I believe that is true even for humans although it's later on in life that we discover what is considered "right" and "wrong". Bullying at this point is unacceptable. I personally have never purposely bullied anyone and have never been the first one to strike somebody.
     
  18. Owl47

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    I think that literally fighting back isn't the best solution, but doing something about it is(telling the teacher, telling parents, telling peers, etc.). There's more than one way to discipline someone.

    Staying quiet and not doing anything will do nothing, and there are many people who do just that.

    Also, there's too much misinformation about "animal nature" in the entire thread. As a Bio major, I'm just. . .

    n/m. . . :beer:
     
    #18 Owl47, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  19. Meropspusillus

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    Before I get into my response, note that I'm just kinda arguing off-topic now. I agree with most of what you're saying, I just disagree that we're capable of going against our "animals nature". It's easy to say we "Defy our biology" when you define that as "Acting different from glorified chimpanzees" (which we don't really that much).

    We use contraception because sex provides us with pleasure and we're not going to stop doing it, and sometimes it is advantageous to have smaller families. As for things like table manners, I have no idea the "biological purpose" of them, but one might argue that they are status symbols, which are things you see everywhere in biology.

    Ultimately, everything we do, think or say we do, think or say because of our brain. Our brain is an animal thing, I bet if I gave you a human brain and a chimp brain you couldn't point to anything that made one brain an animal and the other something more. We're animals just like any other animals. Human nature is human nature, we can change the way we think and the way we behave, but short of going in and genetically creating pacifist humans (creepy dystopia novel coming up), we aren't going to change our nature.
     
  20. Speak Up

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    Thanks for posting this topic. I believe that all animals have an instinct towards bullying and the pecking order. I agree & disagree with previous posts.
    Empowering victims is very important.
    RE-training bullies is important.
    It's important to give parents people management skills so they teach their children well and don't use bullying methods to manipulate their behavior.

    <b>Many behaviors that come naturally:</B>
    reproduction
    homosexuality :slight_smile:
    heterosexuality
    to be accepted by each other
    hunger
    sleep
    breaking a fall with our hands
    blinking
    vanity
    to love & be loved
     
    #20 Speak Up, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011