While ‘bullying’ term overused, problem is real

Nov. 04, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

With increasing frequency the term “bullying” is met with rolled eyes and sighs, thanks to its overuse by the media and the thousands of conferences and meetings held nationwide each year to discuss its impact.

But the truth is, it still may not be talked about enough.

Many of those of us that grew up in earlier generations, raised by tough parents — often the World War II generation — were told to suck it up or simply fight back.

Those strategies, as appealing as they may seem from time to time, don’t often work in the modern world for a number of reasons.

Today’s kids have regularly been taught that fighting is something that should never be resorted to, and punishments for offending are often worse than they’d be for the instigator’s provoking actions.

What’s more, bullied kids typically aren’t wired to be physically defensive of themselves — that’s part of why the bullies push them, they’re not a hard target.

But as much of a problem as it is, overuse of the “bullying” label seems to be wearing thin on the American public.

Earlier this month CNN did a long in-depth piece reporting on the national fatigue with “bully awareness.”

Cases such as a one-sided high school football game drawing accusations of “bullying” from a parent on the losing side, or a young elementary kid being suspended over simple name-calling incident only worsens the resistence to take the issue seriously.

But make no mistake, with what seems to be a growing trend of social media-related bullying instances leading to suicide, it’s a real problem.

And it’s not just something kids face.

Just this week, a Miami Dolphins offensive lineman, Jonathan Martin, left the team for “emotional issues.”

It was later reported that Martin, a 6-foot-5, 312-pound, second-year player from Stanford, had actually allegedly been bullied by some teammates. After a prank gone awry, he’d supposedly left the Dolphins football complex and not returned.

Other adults, even in the corporate business world, face these issues from others that have grown up pushing people around.

While some may argue that bullying is a natural part of the adolescent process and later attribute it to an adult’s “strong personality,” there comes a time when things go to far.

And that’s when society has to have resources for kids, and even adults, to turn.