I read with interest Deborah Skolnik's article, "Bully Backlash" in Parenting Magazine (March 2013), as I have not previously encountered an anti-anti-bullying article. Perhaps the fact that such a position is atypical these days makes it newsworthy, but I was disturbed by an almost a shrugging tone about bullying (akin to "kids will be kids"), and the quoting one book author's stance on peer conflict as "normal, natural and sometimes necessary." I feel compelled to respond with my disappointment in Parenting Magazine for publishing an article that is essentially advising people to back off (at least to some extent) on anti-bullying efforts when we are just beginning as a nation to make progress on this front. Upon finishing the article, I was left wondering if Ms. Skolnik was just trying to be controversial by playing devil's advocate, or if she was at least partially identifying with her former aggressors.
Notably, the article fails to bring out the most salient point in the whole issue of bullying and anti-bullying. An informed and astute article would simply encourage people to not label children as "bullies" but rather to focus on and describe the offensive or negative behavior of kids as "bullying," "unacceptable," "inappropriate," "poorly chosen," "bucket-dipping," or some such adjectives. Label the behavior, not the child.