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Moms Talk: Say No to Adult Bullies

In the wake of yet another school shooting carried out by an adult who claims he was teased, we look at bullying in a new light. We all hear about young bullies, but what about bullies who are all grown up? What can we do about them?

One L. Goh, accused of going on a shooting rampage at Oikos University in Oakland, Cali., has been charged with seven counts of murder (all with special circumstances) three counts of attempted murder, making him eligible for the death penalty.

According to police, the South Korean native allegedly opened fire and killed seven people because he was angry about being teased for his poor English skills. 

"He said he was too old to go school with all the young people, and he said all his classmates were mean to him," Romie John Delariman, one of Goh's former nursing professors, told The Associated Press.

Goh is 43 years old.

It seems to me that bullying is the catalyst for many school shootings involving teens in our country. Emil Chiaberi, director of the 2010 documentary film, “Murder By Proxy: How America Went Postal,” says it doesn’t stop with teens. According to Chiaberi, bullying tends to be the main driving factor in most mass killing incidents, involving teens and adults alike.

“The real problem is that somehow our culture produces a lot of depressed, powerless, alienated, angry, and hopeless individuals who blame others (employers or society) for their problems,” Chiaberi said.

No matter your age, dealing with bullying can be traumatic. Adult bullies are prevalent, and they cause grief and sadness in their victims’ lives. However, it’s important to understand that adult bullies were once children, and there’s a high likelihood that they either were bullies as children or that they were bullied as children.

So what’s the single greatest weapon in our arsenal to combat bullies of any age? Parenting. If we, as parents, start teaching our kids coping skills now so they can deal with unpleasant social situations without resorting to drastic, violent measures, maybe we can avoid tragedies in the future.

We need to teach our kids that they have worth, that they have power to improve their lives, and that the bullying they’re being subjected to is not their fault. Let's teach them to keep smiling, to look to the positive things in their lives and to kill 'em with kindness-- not guns.

We also need to make sure our kids won’t be bullies themselves. It’s important to help your child understand that it is never acceptable to harm others physically, emotionally, verbally or electronically (cyberbullying).

I think moms (and dads) should also teach their kids to stand up to bullies who may be harassing other children. If your child and his or her friends are willing to come to the aid of others who are being bullied, soon the bully will have no one left to pick on.

If we band together and raise kids who are empathetic, responsible and kind, we can head adult bullies off at the pass.

What do you think? Have you been bullied in your adult life? What measures did you take to stop it? What do you teach your kids about bullying?

Cheryl Miller April 27, 2012 at 01:18 PM
A friend recently helped her son who was being bullied by confronting his friends walking home from the bus stop. She asked them if they knew what had been going on and what they planned to do to stick up for their friend the next time it happened. When they said they didn't know and chuckled a bit, she asked what they think her son would do for them if it was the other way around. They thought about it and one boy almost came to tears because he realized that he had not been a good friend and that his behavior was part of the problem. The next time the bullying started, the friends stuck together and told the other kid that it wasn't funny or cool and he needed to stop. And, he did. I was so proud of those kids, and my friend for having the nerve to approach the kids and talk about it with them. I'm sure her son was a little embarassed, but deep down I know he must be relieved that the bullying has stopped and he doesn't have to worry about it any longer. The reason my friend was so mad - the bully was picking on her son for being a "Momma's Boy." She proved to all of them that, at least to your Momma, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! :-) Nice article! Thanks for bringing this topic up!

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