I wasn't bullied a whole lot growing up. I was only in one true fist fight. I was threatened by a thug with a knife one other time. I mostly had run ins with boys who saw me as a meek and easy target and attacked my psychologically. But I don't think my experience was anything more than typical. Nonetheless, there were a lot of times where I felt like an outcast. I was lonely and felt ignored. There were times when I was supremely unhappy. Enough so that my teachers called my parents in for a conference or two.
I've been thinking a lot about this time in my life while WonderWife™ and I have tried to figure out how to best handle my son's situation. As much as I want to protect him from being hurt, is that the best course of action? The world is not always easy and people are not always nice. There is nothing that is ever going to change that. So it is better to be bullied than not at all? Running afoul of somebody can teach an important lesson in survival. It can teach you how to adapt.
To be clear, I'm not talking about severe bullying--the cases you read about. I'm am not talking about those kids who have been bullied to the point of suicide. Or beaten within an inch of their lives. I'm talking about the inevitable brushes with people that I'm sure most of us have experienced.
Learning to rise above adversity is a good lesson, but it's a hard one to learn. And it's a hard one to watch your kid go through. But when I stop to think about my life, I would not change those turbulent times for anything. They made me stronger.
So is it better to be bullied than not bullied at all?