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Is Bullying Always a Bad Thing?

Alamy

An interesting debate is happening over at AOL’s Parentdish. Writer Amy Hatch blogs about opting to stay out of a conflict between her sensitive daughter and a mean girl in pre-K -- at least until the end of the year, when the bullying gets physical. Although she’s tempted to go all mama bear to protect her daughter, she thinks this is a teachable moment where her daughter can learn to stand up for herself and deal with difficult people. Writer Eddie Mercado, on the other hand, argues that bullying needs to stop now -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it -- and each of us can and should do our part to reach out to the kids in our lives to make sure they’re ok.

I suspect these two contrasting viewpoints might hinge on the differences between little kid and teenage bullying. Four-year-olds shrug things off more easily (they don’t generally have the attention span to do otherwise), and the insults are less easily internalized – I mean, no one’s actually worried they’re a poo-poo head. But teens are a different matter, and as Mercado writes, the disturbing suicide rates, especially among gay teens, make it clear that bullies can make life a living hell.

What do you think? How have you handled bully problems with your kids?

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