Toughen 'em up with a good piss-take

Sarah Ebner: Just say no to anti-bullying campaigns?
Dr Helene Guldberg:

For some children – a very small minority - bullying is a profound problem. Some stories about the extent of children’s suffering are heartbreaking – and they are precisely why we need to handle the issue with care and, above all, with some proper perspective. Today’s knee-jerk call to eradicate all bullying can do more harm than good.

Much that is defined as bullying today is not bullying at all. It is boisterous banter or everyday playground disputes that could and should be resolved without adult intervention. Of course, being called names or ridiculed may not feel very pleasant, and may indeed be traumatic for some children. When I was nine years old and moved from Bergen in Norway to Trondheim further north, I was laughed at and teased about my distinctive accent. To me – a rather oversensitive child - it was absolutely mortifying. I was deeply unhappy and longed to move back to Bergen. But I got through the experience – without adult intervention - and maybe toughened up a little.
Here is my response to Ms Guldberg:

As an adult would you have put up with having your accent mocked by adult colleagues? Of course not! So why should children have to put up with it based on the spurious reasoning that it might toughen them up? Part of growing up is to learn good manners and respect for other people. It would be preferable if this were achieved at home but, alas, we know that in some families this is just not going to happen. So schools now have to deal with it by applying rules of behaviour.

Children should not have to put up with behaviour which adults find unacceptable. That includes physical punishment, teasing, mockery and bullying in all its forms. The fact that experiencing these things might just 'toughen' up some children is, frankly irrelevant.