Off Limits

Monkey Business

Q: What's the biggest reason you see for bullying?

A: There are a lot of myths. Often there is a belief that bullies have low self-esteem, which isn't true. They have a lot of power and not a lot of remorse or empathy for the victim; that makes for some pretty good self-esteem. There's not one specific road to being a bully, but the bottom line is power. Actually, we encourage the bullies to go into politics if they can't change their behavior.

Q: How does one become an expert on bullying? Do you have to have been bullied or be the bully?

Jack the monkey
Jack the monkey
Larry Epstein
Larry Epstein

A: I hope not, because I wasn't.

Q: Do you have kids? Do they get bullied for having a bullying-expert father?

A: One of them is just eight weeks old, so she hasn't had to experience that. My other daughter is two and a half, and at that age, there's not a lot of bullying -- well, except for her bullying us by telling us "No." But actually, we just released Bully-Proofing in Early Childhood. We don't talk about bullying so much at that age, but teaching how to resolve conflicts peaceably.

Q. Who was a bigger bully, Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote?

A: An excellent question. They are both bullies. Bugs tends to be more of a clever type of bully. And Wile E. Coyote would be what we call the provocative victim. He looks like a bully, but he's not an effective bully. But, of course, his backing from Acme gives him quite a bit of power.

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