With all the discussion of bullying that’s going on now, it seems to me that some of it is establishing the pecking order, to see how far a child can be pushed before he/she will fight back, and to see how determined the bullied child is when they do fight back.

But this doesn’t condone the mass bullying where gangs of children choose to bully one individual and where they continue on past simple aggressive behavior to mass assault. it also doesn’t excuse the behavior of other children who know this is happening and do nothing to prevent it or stop it. Even in childhood, there should be limits to misbehavior and those limits are best imposed by the rest of the children who have knowledge of what’s happening. But it seems to me that there are the active bullies and the passive ‘fellow-travelers’ who also share in the responsibility for what happens. No one appears to be addressing this. The society of children doesn’t appear willing to set limits on behavior. Possibly they don’t know that they need to do this. There’s no person or agency teaching any sort of morality, any sense of self-responsibility, any ideas of ethical behavior.

So some children pass far beyond any limits that we adults consider reasonable. It’s a part of the overall change that has come into being, the idea that children aren’t to be responsible in any way or to be held responsible for their actions.


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