I will be straight up….
There will always be bullies; bullies in our school, bullies at work, or bullies in our families.
Can we eliminate bullying? No….
Can we promote kindness, anti-racism, diversity, and equality? Sure….
Can we empower the victim? YES YES YES!!!
As a frontline in the school environment- I was asked if there is anyway to eliminate bullying? I was racking my brain as I was going through my experience and programs I have done with children and youth. I finally said no. Then I explained that there are various reasons why a bully might target a specific student, there are also different reasons why a bully might bully in the first place. As frontliners, we know the act of bullying is never simple, there are so many internal and external factors that are at play. However, if we look at this matter face value, the bully has made it clear that he/she does not respect nor value that person.
We can tell a bully, “its not nice,” we can teach social or empathy skills, and we can also bring third party agencies such as law enforcement to try to deter bullying through scaring young people about the law.
But.. will it actually stop the bully? Some might and some who are still struggling with the internal and external factors of their life are less likely to stop bullying other people.
I propose when we are thinking intervention strategies, we begin to teach young people social skills that focus on how to assertively communicate and take action when they are faced with harassing behaviours from others (either online or face to face).
If we protect the victim, we are only causing a dependency effect. As frontliners, we need to encourage young people who are capable to express their emotions that it is powerful to have tools to take out. We often encourage other young people to not be a bystander; however, we cannot control other people’s behaviour/ choice to protect the victim.
Therefore, we are teaching a better way to communicate= increase self-esteem= more and more young people will be less afraid to stand up against bullies.
Thanks for reading 🙂