Telling Victims to “Toughen Up” is a Cop-Out!

Telling Victims to “Toughen Up” is a Cop-Out!

There’s a widely held belief that bullying toughens kids up. I think it’s one of the biggest cop-outs I ever hear.

So, you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, or principal and a child comes to you to report being bullied or harassed. You listen, and you tell the child to “toughen up” or you very dismissively tell the child that bullying will “teach you to be stronger.”

Let me tell you something: I heard all that, many times, when I was being bullied. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s the equivalent of the having a baseball bat taken to your legs and having both shins broken, then being assured, “the bone will be even stronger than before once it heals”.

But the bone shouldn’t have been broken in the first place!

This attitude allows the abuse to continue, and re-victimizes the victim! Here’s why I think that it’s the most outrageous and unfair response an adult can give to a bullied child or teen

  1. It shifts the blame back onto the poor child and sends the message that the harassment is his or her fault because he or she is weak and can benefit from it.
  2. Kids and teens will take the “toughen up” fallacy as the go-ahead to escalate the violence—it almost ensures:
    • A fight will ensue.
    • The victim will get the blame and be suspended from school.
    • The parents (the ones who advised the child to “toughen up”) will admonish the child for fighting at school and getting suspended, leaving the poor victim even more confused as to what action to take the next time he or she is bullied.

Bullying does not toughen anyone up—it shuts them down!

Don’t cop-out! Instead of telling a kid to “toughen up,” do your job as the adult and intervene or at least advise the kid on effective ways to protect himself or herself and break the cycle.

About the Author

Cherie White

Cherie White, both a writer and author, joined the team after being discovered by Brian through her own personal blog and through social media. She has been writing ever since she was ten years old and has a love for writing articles, short stories and novels. She became intrigued with the new Pyngby app because it helps victims pinpoint victims and their harassers for easy protection and litigation if need be. Because she experienced severe bullying from sixth grade until changing schools during her last year of high school, she has a passion for spreading bullying awareness and helping those who are bullied and abused today. Her goal is to bring down the suicide rate among bullied children, teens and young adults. Her debut novel, “From Victim to Victor” is available now at LuLu. Cherie looks forward to helping victims through Watchdog Creative.

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