15 Sep Baby Boomers Guide to the Bullied Child
Bullying is a sickness suffered by the bullied and also by the perpetrator of the bullying. Baby boomers as children were outgoing and sociable; qualities which provide an impenetrable shell against the kind of behavior that constitutes bullying as we know it today.
In the days when baby boomers were at school, bullying took a simpler form which usually included name calling, physical punches and kicks and the occasional black eye. In the playgrounds of today, children suffer more serious effects when bullied, such as mobile phone theft, text-based threats and internet intimidation which have the effect of invading the previously safe haven of home and family.
Baby boomers’ childhood experiences of being bullied might have been unpleasant but boomers could always escape and run home, slamming the front gate and the front door on the bullies, safe and happy in the knowledge that nobody could get in.
With the introduction of the internet, society opened an enormous platform from which to bully for those whose insecurities lead them in to intimidate and persecute others. Baby boomers, with the exception of those who are particularly technically proficient, might not fully comprehend the levels of bullying that are possible via emailing, website channelling and mobile phone message systems.
Young children are now carefully monitored by responsible parents when using internet chat rooms or facilities where a hostile communication might subject the child to bullying, even from someone the child is well acquainted with. Baby boomers when babysitting children or even their own grandchildren should take care not to allow a dangerous situation to develop through lack of supervision.
Children by nature are curious and anxious to experience life, especially those prurient aspects of cyber life forbidden at home, where parents keep a strict electronic padlock on forbidden territory. Baby boomers might not have such precautions in place and innocently allow a grandchild to surf websites strictly off limits at home.
When children display the symptoms of bullying at school, they sometimes feel unable to tell their parents the truth, worrying over the repercussions being worse than the actual bullying. In these cases, a friendly baby boomer grandparent might be just the person to talk to and help diffuse an unpleasant problem.
At these times, it might be prudent to remember that although it is pleasant to be confided in by a child in trouble and while you feel delighted to be able to help, you are not the child’s parent and should not make decisions which affect the child and his or her ability to cope with bullying. A friendly ear is one thing but boomers can get into all kinds of scrapes by over stepping the bounds of responsibility and trespassing on the parental role as guardian.
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