When we talk about bullying, we talk about young children and teenagers, especially females, badgering a peer in school, on social media, and in the neighborhoods. We are appalled when we hear about a young person who takes his or her own life with bullying as the reason given for the suicide. We call for legislation to stop bullying. Hollywood Stars go on camera and state that bullying has to stop. Sports Stars condemn bullying. Politicians condemn bullying and pass legislation to end bullying. All this outrage is for naught because the actions of the people outraged teaches our youth to bully.

Listening to the morning news, I hear the story of the pro-football player who quit the NFL because a teammate was bullying him in the locker room, in person, and on social media. Next, I hear a story about television shows in which the basis of the show is to ridicule and condemn other people for the way they dress, act, look, or believe. Hazing is an acceptable practice in the sports arena and in school club activities. Our politicians use bullying tactics against their opponents to win elections.

I believe actions speak louder than empty words. When someone condemns bullying but performs in a show, in an athletic event, or campaigns by using bullying tactics, the example that person sets for children is it is okay to bully to obtain a goal. Reality shows are teeming with bullying. I personally watch Survivor. Survivor contestants use bullying, degrading, lying, cheating, and theft to attempt to win the game. The Amazing Race contestants also use these tactics in an attempt to win the game. Style shows ridicule and degrade actors for their choices of dress, hairstyle, weight, behavior, and beliefs. All these tactics are bullying. We invite this type of behavior into our homes by watching these shows. We allow these people to set examples of bullying that our children sit with us and watch which tells them by action that bullying is an acceptable practice to meet a goal.

I am appalled as are many other people when I hear about a child who suffers at the hands of a bully. The people our children admire and idolize say they are against bullying but send out the signal that bullying is okay by their performances on the sports field or in the television or movie shows in which they appear. These stars need to stop the empty words and set better examples by not participating in bullying activities as a means of making a living. If we ridiculed a co-worker, our bosses would fire us; yet, we think it is funny when Joan Rivers ridicules an actor’s weight gain, a hairstyle, a clothing choice, a behavior, or a belief. We applaud when a sports star pushes, shoves, knocks down, or name calls during a sporting event if the play leads to a score.

What signal are we sending to our children when we watch bullying behavior and approve of the behavior? Children learn more by watching than they learning by hearing. Our words are worthless when the actions they see are contrary to the words we say or they hear. We, as parents, need to be diligent in choosing what our children hear and see. We also need to ensure that our personal behavior demonstrates that bullying in any form is not acceptable. When a show we are watching begins demonstrating bullying tactics, we should complain to the network and we should turn off the show. By continuing to watching a show that embodies bullying tactics, we are telling our children that bullying is an acceptable form of behavior.


About Elaine Rhoades

I am a 69 year old grandmother, mother, wife who earned a BS in Psychology with a 3.97 GPA at the ripe old age of 62. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Phoenix July 2012. I have begun my own business of editing for authors and writing a novel, which is currently in editing stage. If you are interested in obtaining editing services please contact me at rhoadesediting@att.net. List of editing projects: A Forever Family Series - children's books - Author Sal Edwards. UoP essays and class papers for my class teams. 40 + years as Administrative Assistant in which I edited textbooks, sales flyers, newsletters, catalogues, letters, and other office projects. Writing Projects: Novel: "I'll Cry No Tears". Short Stories: Various - not ready for publishing Poetry: One published poem 1963 Various stories for friends and family Office Newsletters: Editor of "Southside OBGYN Office News"
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