The Surprising Good Lessons a Bully Can Teach Your Kid

kids at weddingWhile I was blearily going over the news this morning, I saw that rapper 50 Cent wrote an an-bullying themed book -- semi-autobiographical. Cool, I thought to myself. My own 10-year-old has been the victim of numerous bullies over the years. I've never figured it out -- why my kid gets bullied by numerous others while others eke by unscathed.

It breaks my heart every time it happens. He's a sweet kid. It's BS that he gets hurt just as I once did. But I got to thinking (a very scary proposition when you're me) about the things that bullies can teach us.


Now, I should be clear that bullying is not something I condone, support, or even something I respect in another human being. Ever. But over the years, I've learned some things from those who have tormented me and others like me.

I learned how to stand up for myself. There's not much more valuable than learning how to stand up to someone who has treated me shabbily and say, "you know what? I DON'T deserve this." It didn't feel good at the time, but I learned how to do it.

Marching to the beat of my own drum came at a cost ... for awhile. Whenever I got picked on, it was because I was "different." Being different is something you avoid at all costs while on the Junior High playground, but as an adult? It's netted me friends, respect, and even a job.

Bullying does truly happen to anyone for anything. It's not about being weak, nerdy, or poor: it's about other people being jerks. And really, everywhere you go, everything you do, you run into some amount of those. It was good preparation.

Not everyone will like you all the time. We all should learn to treat each other with respect, compassion, and care, but that's unfortunately not how the world works. Sometimes people hate you for no good reason, and while it hurts, it's something to remember.

My skin is thick as leather. While that probably gives you the impression I'm a leathery-skinned tanning addict, I'm not. But I can take whatever crap people lob at me and walk away from it without weeping.

So, Mr. Fifty Cent sir, I hope you can shed some light on bullies, stop those who do, and help the next generation realize that bullying is bullshit.

I'd love it if my son -- and others like him -- didn't have to learn the same painful lessons I did.

How do you teach your bullied child to look on the bright side?


Image via Aunt Becky

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