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Bullying As An Behavioral Equation
by S. Young
(Missouri, United States)
My daughter and her classmates get a cookie with their lunch tray each day. Last week a known bully was telling everyone she didn't get one and trying to force the other kids to give her theirs. My child spoke up and said, "That's a lie. You got one you're hiding it under the table!" Then she tried to pull the girl's hand up and the cookie fell on the floor. The bully pinched her so hard it left a mark then threatened her saying she owed her some candy or she'd be sorry.
She was with my ex mother-in-law that week and she opted to advise her to be nice to her bully saying she would be nice back and gave her cookies for the bully. When I learned about it I told her if you do that you will be showing her and everyone you are scared of her and will back down when threatened. A bully isn't going to stop if you reward them.
She asked what to do and I said make a scene if she threatens you. Stand up and yell "I will NOT give you my food and you will NOT threaten me again!" Loud enough to attract enough attention an adult will come to investigate but without worrying she will be labeled a "snitch" and ostracized by her peers for telling the teachers who she says don't do anything anyway.
Needless to say, she gave her the cookies from my ex mother-in-law out of fear and is now bullied and stressed much more so than before. Perhaps I don't have the perfect solution, but I refuse to believe rewarding negative behavior will EVER result in a positive outcome.
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