Opinion: Bullying versus victim: empower parents

Throughout time there have always been those that enjoy the sick satisfaction of having power of the mind over another and it needs to stop.

In our youth it translates to the need to change behavior through education. Why am I writing about this? It’s something that needs to be addressed and for good reason. Discipline by law enforcement would not be the choice of correcting bully behavior if it had been caught earlier.

Years ago in elementary school, the principal called my husband and me into the office one day.

It was about our child and we went and wondered what a good kid could have possibly done to get the principal’s attention? What transpired could have been a wronged fiasco if it hadn’t been for the fact that we knew the parents of the other kid.

Our child was accused of hitting another child. Pray tell, we told the principal, what happened?

The principal proceeded to tell us that that the bully didn’t want my kid to go on the monkey bars, so he hit him and my kid hit him back. We both had never encountered such frustration and we demanded to see the other parents and resolve the issue with them. What happened next is not what school policies normally recommend but it worked because we forced the issue.

We met with the parents and they had been told the same thing that was told to us. They apologized to us for their son’s behavior as we did for ours, even if we believed it was in self-defense. The bully’s parents were good people—we all could see that, thank God!

It was later found that the hit was done when the other kid wanted to push in ahead of mine and get on the monkey bars without waiting his turn.

The kid’s parents admitted the problem they were having with their child and we admitted that although our kid seemed to be trying to defend—hitting the bully was the wrong choice—plain and simple.

Both we and the parents of the bully talked to our kids after that meeting and nothing bad ever happened between our kids again.

That bully became different around mine because he knew he didn’t have to resort to power play to get his point across.

In turn, my child didn’t have to resort to defending himself with his fists through the frustration received from the bullying.

In other words, the bully learned common manners and my child learned that although it may be hard to trust someone who has bullied him, the choice of respect was the clearly the right one.

Later on in school years, things get tougher. If bullying isn’t caught and dealt with in lower grades, it can heighten to worse scenarios.

The following case is one that happened in the Los Alamitos area. I was not involved in this case but heard from people who had learned about it. The case does raise questions on whether harsh discipline by the police is the right choice in dealing with bullies and their victims.

The case begins with a 15-year-old who was involved in an altercation with an 18-year-old and the fight got bad, with the result that the 18-year-old got a broken nose. The older one was the aggressor.

Los Alamitos Police Department was contacted and the 15 year-old ended up with 30 community service hours and anger management classes in the end. Oh, really? What happens to the 18-year-old, other than the fact that he had a broken nose? Does he get classes on bullying and anger management too?

Someone has to find ways to resolve bullying without the police fixing the problem because the police can and will put them in jail if they see it fit. Do we really want that for teens that fight?

I have to admit I don’t know all the details of this case, but I do know that some things have changed since it happened.

For one, the Los Alamitos School District announced recently classes to help understand both sides and what can be done to help both the bully and the victim. That’s a start.

I find it really ironic that there are parents out there that don’t realize what to do if their child is a victim or a bully. This should be dealt with when their kids are young because that’s when a parent can best make an impression on their kids.

That’s when they are apt to learn the ropes of life and learn how to respect their fellow human beings.

Bullying is happening and it’s due to the fact that it’s been going on as long as man has existed. Good will has been taught in many places, including schools and churches, so what’s the problem? Bullies get a thrill because they have learned incorrectly that they can get power for themselves if they push—plain and simple. Stopping the behavior with harsh discipline is not the answer but education is. Education of what wrong you have done to on another is the right choice.

Talking to both the kids at several meetings and involving and educating the parents that don’t know what happened is what is effective and works in many cases. Getting both of those teens in the same session of change behavior classes should be the ultimate goal in my opinion.

After such turmoil those kids deserve to respect one another, just like history of turmoil and then resolve has taught us that forgiveness and understanding is what brings closure and good feelings to people who have gone to hell and back.

I pray for peace and good will in all our communities and I pray that police are not always called when fights end up like it did in my example above.

Give the power to the parents first and educate both teens if that doesn’t work. Sending them to community service and anger management is wrong since they could have learned the same in Psychology class as I did in my day. There’s a lot to be learned by a good teacher in class, don’t you think?

Enea Ostrich is a longtime resident of College Park East in Seal Beach.