Bullying affects everyone. It impacts the bully just as much as it does the person they are victimizing. A bully begins to feel a false sense of security if he or she is allowed to get away with the abuse. They begin to feel as if they are stronger than they really are. Bullies often choose victims who they perceive are weaker and more vulnerable. Becoming the victim of a bully can push an otherwise normal kid down a slippery slope that leads to depression, empathy and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide. Learn about Using Respect to Beat the Bully!
The question is how to beat the bully at his own game. Much of the solution can be found in how we think of bullying. If we believe it to be intolerable, then we cannot continue to tolerate it. If we choose to create a positive atmosphere, we must do what needs to be done to maintain it. While these seem to be simple solutions, creating a respectful environment takes a unified effort by everyone involved in the situation. The following five components can be used to encourage respect and educate students about the repercussions of bullying.
- Stop it if you see it
- Hold offenders accountable
- Encourage compassion
Beat the Bully: Educating
Educate students and teachers on the signs of bullying as well as the havoc it can cause. Victims of bullying just don’t “grow out of” the pain they have experienced. Some may carry the scars for the rest of their lives. Teaching children to respect others begins with the parents and is nurtured by teachers. Every individual has something to learn from a situation involving bullying. One of the most important of those lessons is teaching children and teens to respect each others differences. No two people are alike. Each person has something that makes them unique.
Creating a respectful environment involves teaching acceptance of other people.. Accepting someone for who they are is just as important as telling the truth or standing up for what is right. Teachers and parents must foster that environment if they want it to be a success. Children and teens look to their parents and role models to determine how they should treat others. It is up to the adults to lead by example.
Beat the Bully: Stop It As You See It
Preventing bullying means stopping it when it is in progress as well as eliminating the atmosphere in which it occurs. Many times, a student or teacher may witness one child bullying another and are afraid to confront the situation. If a child sees an attack, they should not try and stop it themselves, but go get an adult as quickly as possible. Children should be made to understand, they do not need to put their own safety in jeopardy. Finding an adult is the right choice.
Teachers, on the other hand, must act immediately. It is their responsibility to keep their students safe and out of harm’s way. Approaching a bully as they are terrorizing another student can be scary, but the advantage goes to the teacher if they can catch the bully off guard. The key to gaining control over a situation like this is to engage both students in a conversation. Keeping the situation diffused long enough for other help to arrive. Teachers should never allow a bully to continue to harass another student. To be effective, they must stop it as it starts.
Beat the Bully: Prevention
A respectful environment is an exceptional tool in the prevention of bullying. When students are taught to respect others, they also respect themselves. Both teachers and students benefit from a positive environment where trust and compassion work hand in hand to forge lasting friendships. Tactics used to prevent bullying includes creating effective communication skills, safety protocols and bringing students together so both sides can contribute to the process.
To truly beat the bully at his own game, you must leverage the playing field to your advantage. By creating a respectful atmosphere, it is harder for the bully to gain the advantage. In a positive environment, it is often harder for a student to act out on negative feelings without being noticed first. In this type of atmosphere, changes in behavior are noticed much more quickly and dealt with before they can get too far out of hand.
Beat the Bully: Hold Offenders Accountable
By holding bullies accountable for their actions, it shows others that disrespect has consequences. If a student is caught bullying another, they must be held accountable for their actions and punished according to the school’s rules and regulations. Punishment should not be the only recourse, however. The important part of the process is discovering why the child chose to be a bully in the first place. Talk to each student and allow them to communicate both with you and with each other.
Never give a bully the idea that it is acceptable to harass another student. Follow protocols carefully and do your best to discover what is actually going on. Once the root cause has been discovered, it can be dealt with and both students allowed to begin the healing process.
Beat the Bully: Encourage Compassion
Building self-esteem is a key part of encouraging compassion between students and teachers. Focusing on a student’s achievements gives them a sense of pride within themselves. As they begin to appreciate themselves, they also begin to appreciate others. They will reach out to other students and offer guidance becoming mentors in much the same way as teachers do. Instead of criticizing and bullying, they begin to communicate and offer compassion, encouraging others to improve their skills.
Compassion and caring for others is something a student learns by watching the people around him/her. The more teachers and parents show compassion, the more the student will learn. A respectful environment includes the atmosphere of the home as well as that of the school. Students learn from both equally and a positive environment should be fostered in both if bullying is to be eliminated completely.