Bullying: Although it’s often mistakenly considered a normal part of growing up, bullying is a serious problem that affects millions of children and adolescents. Almost 30% of US teens–more than 5.7 million–are estimated to be involved in bullying as either a bully, a target of bullying, or both. Nice parents don’t want their kids to be in a classroom or on a playground with bullies–and they are often surprised to discover that their children are attacking other kids–even the parents of the 1999 Columbine killers were reportedly surprised (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). In New Jersey, they’ve even passed a law against it!
How to raise nicer kids? It’s not a clear science, researchers have found that parents who frequently feel angry or bothered by their children raise the risk that their child will become a bully. In LiveScience.com, Stephanie Pappas quotes researcher Rashmi Shetgiri as saying that the focus should be on "helping parents to manage the negative emotions that they may have."
Bullies hurt THEMSELVES too–they are more likely to have psychological problems which lead to substance abuse and delinquency. One study asked bullies why they torment other kids and found that they often don’t like themselves much either. If YOU’RE not at the top of pecking order–and you’re being bullied (especially if you’re a man)–you may begin to feel second rate. But primatologists have discovered, from studying baboons, that the guys on top–the football stars, the Wall Street CEOs, the lawyers with posters on the backs of buses–often PAY for being there–with their HEALTH!
When you’re not the "alpha male" in a baboon troop, number two (the beta) is not a bad place to be. Ecologist Laurence R. Gesquiere studied 5 troops of wild baboons for over 9 years and found that alpha males had stress levels as high as those of the LOWEST ranking males, probably due to fighting off other males who wanted access to their territory and fertile females. In contrast, the beta males (most of the rest of the troop) had much lower stress levels.
An earlier study by neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky drew the opposite conclusion: that in baboons, the lower the social rank, the greater the stress. In the July 15th edition of the New York Times, James Gorman quotes primatologist Robert M. Seyfarth as saying, "The males at the top are under a lot of stress, and there’s a cost."
We all know what stress leads to: high blood pressure and strokes (at least in humans). That knowledge should make all bullied geeks feel better! But help is here for the bullying alphas as well! Anne Strieber’s famous diet book "What I Learned from the Fat Years" is now available as a download! Anne not only discovered WHY some of us have trouble losing weight, but what to do about it, and after three years of diet and exercise, she managed to lose 100 pounds–and YOU can too! This isn’t an advice book written by a doctor or celebrity, it’s a diet book written by a REAL DIETER, who sympathizes with what you’re going through that has helped thousands of people to shed those unwanted pounds.