Peer Pressure: The Bully in Disguise

As always with a post, I wrote one out and it was long and rambling and ended up with a thought nowhere near the place it began. And I finally ended up with this piece. Maybe it isn’t perfect but it is my contribution.

Red hair, freckles, chubby, and new in school; what do you think those things equal to? Yep, bullied. I survived. But that’s not the bullying I want to talk about today. This is the one type of bullying every person on the planet faces and at one time or other fails at fending off.

Peer Pressure: The Bully in Disguise

bullyingWe have all faced this. Some of us don’t even realize it. If you have been coerced into doing something you didn’t want to do by a friend or group of friends who knew you didn’t want to do that thing, that’s bullying. How many teens have died from that first drug taken? How many girls have ended up pregnant from having sex just one time? How many guys and girls for that matter, have ended up hurt for life because they played a sport they didn’t want to?

What is some obvious ways Peer Pressure looks like?

I was bullied in the traditional way until I got a little older, and figured things out. One thing I rarely fell in to was peer pressure. I saw it happen to friends. That guy in history class who couldn’t lift his head up as he vomited all over his desk because he had drank a whole bottle of vodka or at least most of one before school, the sex behind the concession stand, the sex in the school bus, smoking in the bathrooms. The shoplifting just that once. You name it and someone you know has likely been bullied with the threat of being an outcast because they weren’t cool enough to be adult enough.

But what other types of Peer Pressure Bullying are there?

But it doesn’t stop with those behaviors. My son has let his grades slip. He’s still getting top marks but he’s just doing it at the bottom of that. He didn’t like being called one of the two nerdiest kids in his grade. I told him Bill Gates is a nerd. Nerds make those fancy electronics that all those kids play on rather than focus on studying.

Peer pressure is even present in how we eat.

“You’re eating a fruit cup, yogurt, and a salad at McDonalds?”

“You want water instead of a Coke?”

Even TV.

“You watch Educational TV instead of ESPN?

The traditional type of bullying is bad but Peer Pressure is bullying people haven’t thought about. It’s the kind that kills more teens, likely causes more suicides, and does more damage to our society, cultures, and nations than anything.

The United States government tries to force a certain required system of teaching in place. Any teacher knows you can’t do that. The US worries about dropping further behind nations in education. It’s not that teaching has been wrong; we learned the old ways and are doing fine, and so are the teachers trying to teach this new way.

The problem is countries don’t focus on supporting an environment where each child is to flourish in the area they are best suited for without being made to feel better than others or lesser than others. Each person has a skill, a talent. To change peer pressure it will take decades, decades of first our generation then the next, and then the next to stop it. Once you can give a student self worth and have them understand other students’ self worth, a lot of the other type of bullying will stop.

Building for Bullying Part One.

As I grew older and realized who I was and what I was I saw the problems with peer pressure around me. Some reputations were destroyed of some great young people I knew and they never recovered. Maybe that’s why I am less of a joiner and a late joiner when I do. I sit back and watch and listen and learn. When I am ready, if I am ready, I will take the  next step. But the step has to be for me because I want to.

You can look at my blog and tell I’m not exactly a conformist. I don’t write content that is focused on one thing or in one style. My reading selections are all over the place. I have every type of  friend you can have. I’ve gone my own way. I’ve learned from other peoples’ mistakes. And what I’ve learned I’ve passed on to my son, many students, and youth group members as well as adults that have worked for me over the years.

I could have become a bully. I am a big guy. Temper back then. I was being bullied, and taunted when I snapped. I grabbed the guy by the jacket, spun him around onto the stands in the gym and informed him I was sick of it in a very vocally forceful way. No foul words. Then I sat back down. He was scared. People wanted me to fight him all day. I never did. His bullying reputation was ruined. I didn’t want to start my own.

Building From Bullying Part Two

When my son comes home and talks about a bully, we talk about bullying. We discuss it, who the kid is, what they are like. We discuss why bullies are the way they are. We talk about how fortunate he is to have parents that raise him in a way that doesn’t promote bullying and that is loving and respectful of him and what he likes.

Don’t get me wrong, the word ‘NO’ exists in the house. Usually he knows it’s coming, but he still has to try. A lot of times he’ll be smiling knowing what an answer will be. I’ve discusses in posts before of his intelligence and his heart. He doesn’t hold grudges against kid bullies. Adults though? He holds them more responsible. Yes, he knows adults bully kids. Told you, he’s smart. But he moves on and he treats everyone the same, bully or friend alike. To him, just about everyone is a friend until they do something that is just really dumb.

How much does my son stand up to bullies? He’s the hero of his grand. An older kid had four of them pinned to the wall by the neck with his arms.  My son got away and distracted him so the others got away. Then he told a teacher, in spite of the other boys saying not to. Smart, a heart, and brave. He has a sense of right and wrong that is so ingrained that it shocks me at times. Bullies beware.

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