Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why I (Apparently) Was Bullied

First off, let me just say that I love Psychology, I think it's extremely important, and through it's studies, we have figured out a lot about ourselves, more than we could've imagined without it.

However, there are still many exceptions, such as this article that I read today, which literally almost made me cry, and I'll explain why:

http://www.livescience.com/culture/children-social-rejection-100202.html

As I said, I love Psychology, but some studies, their approaches, or at least their conclusions, sometimes can be downright ridiculous if you apply logic. Sometimes you don't even need to know a lot about Psychology to be able to criticize certain studies, such is the case here. Sometimes studying Sociology help, though, since it seems to me that sometimes Psychologists don't seem to pay much attention to Sociology's findings, which are, in my opinion, much more fascinating, and can discredit a lot of Psychology studies. In this case, however, it's not necessary to know a lot about either one. Arguing against this study just takes pretty simple logic to denounce, particularly for people like me who were bullied.

It seems to me that the article is suggesting, in at least some way, that it's the kid who's bullied/rejected who is at fault for not being able to correctly respond to nonverbal cues. They go on to explain five tips, which basically tell the socially rejected kid's parents how to teach their child better social skills, such as telling them, "Help the child identify the cue they missed or mistake they made, by asking something like: "How would you feel if Emma was hogging the tire swing?" Instead of lecturing with the word "should," offer options the child "could" have taken in the moment, such as: "You could have asked Emma to join you or told her you would give her the swing after your turn."" What's ridiculous about this is the fact that these researchers are assuming that the kids who are socially rejected are rude little twerps, hence is why no one likes them. They're basically saying people like me were rude to the other kids, so they were fighting against that, so I would've ultimately deserved it, I guess (by the way, this is why I almost cried while reading the article). Yeah, it has nothing to do with any sort of group or conformist mentality; making fun of others because they're different. Different race, sexuality, sexual preference, etc. Let me tell you something. The bullies at my school still would've rejected me whether what they're saying is true or not, because I preferred girls to boys, and because I was the only kid in the class who had red hair and freckles. As my school days went on, they found more reasons, such as my sense of style, the group of friends I had, my fascination with Science Fiction (I'm a nerd, basically), I was (and still am) and tomboy, and, although my cousin was well-liked and respected by most of her peers while she was in high school, most of the students that saw her after she graduated thought she was a freak, and attributed that to me as well, since I hung out with her often and looked up to her. So yeah, my being bullied had nothing to do with anything these researchers said in the article. In fact, it doesn't apply to anyone I knew who was bullied. Not a single one.

But here's my other criticism of the article. They attribute the rejected kid's rejection to their bullying, but have they ever thought that it might be the bullying that's making them socially inept like that in the first place?

Ultimately, all of that makes me wonder if the people doing this research were even bullied or rejected as kids. I highly doubt it, otherwise they probably wouldn't have done research the way they did, especially considering there's a huge mountain full of evidence that could easily prove otherwise, besides my logic used here. I could pick the article apart a little more, but not only did I want to attack just the main point of the article, the comments sections has good criticisms on the other ridiculous points made.

P.S. If anything, the five tips shown at the end of the article should be used for the bullies as opposed to the bullied.

EDIT: After reading this article for herself, my girlfriend actually did cry. Nice going, assholes.

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