Are We Bullying the Bullies?

If parents and educators work together, it is possible to protect targeted children, empower bystanders, and support aggressors in their transformation.

Via: PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

 

Although it’s been a part of life for generations, bullying is not just a normal part of childhood everyone must face. Bullying is a public health matter, and some say we should treat it as a crisis.

…Being bullied not only prevents children from wanting to go to school, the chronic stress it causes can affect the immune system and children can become more prone to getting sick.

…Anti-bullying has become a cottage industry, but surprisingly, there is no credentialing process or regulating body. “As instances of school, workplace, and cyberbullying receive greater attention,” Newsweek reports, “an unregulated web of consultants, therapists, and coaches have sprung up.”

…Bullying researchers Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon have found that many of the things we have done for years to stop bullying, and even many things that new anti-bullying programs put in place, not only don’t work, but can do more harm than good. In particular, programs that revolve around teaching children what constitutes bullying can make matters worse. ..

Aggressive children who mistreat others are certainly responsible for their actions. However, we have come to think of a “bully” as a child who is inherently bad. Using the terminology “bully” and “bullying” makes it even harder to solve the problem. What child is willing to admit that he or she is a bully? What parent is willing to admit that his or her child is a bully?

… The terminology causes unnecessary defensiveness rather than a collaborative approach to ending various forms of aggression.

When we label children “bullies,” we effectively eliminate the opportunity for those children (and their parents) to reflect on harmful behavior with self-awareness and an opening for change, and we diminish the opportunity for other children to see them in a new way.