Components: 1. Threatening/Intimidating Acts or Behaviours 2. Excluding or exclusionary conduct 3. Re-offending. That is, initiated by the same person or persons to the same target.
The goal of bullying is to inject fear and to create a cloud of uncertainty in the bullied. Isolated and repeated offenses instill doubts, bad thoughts and feelings and often paralyze and prevent the bullied from being able to cope and function in a healthy, light-hearted and normalized fashion.
By definition, bullies are riddled with insecurities and low self-esteem. Bullying-like behaviours are not only related to kid-on-kid, but also live in parents, teachers, police officers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and in industries at large (institutional). Therefore, bullies come in all shapes and sizes and from all professional backgrounds.
I ______________________________ pledge to treat people in the manner I wish to be treated. I do not condone nor do I support bullies or bullying towards others. Where and when I can, I will be vigilant to recognize, address and assist to stamp out such unwanted and unnecessary actions on the part of the perpetrator(s).
- Daily reminders to watch out and to confront the bully.
- Engage mentally in practicing empathy. That is, putting myself in the bullied person’s shoes. This will highlight the problem and drive up my own actions.
- Adopt the view that apathy (indifference) is not an option.
- Remember, in life, relationships are a 2-way street. You do not have to accept certain behaviours.
- Stand up to bullying is a social cause to be championed by all members of society. Think about different ways to get involved and make a difference in the anti-bullying movement/campaign.
- Arrange to speak with teachers and adults about ways to help.
- Mindfulness and brainstorming. Write your suggestions of initiatives to be used and integrated into school community. For example, arrange for a guest speaker.
- Reflect on your own experiences of being picked on or bullied. What things/services do you wish were in place?
- Have pen and paper; laptop on hand and get ready to write.
- Make a list of the people in your life. That is, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends. Perhaps they can help raise awareness through fundraising activities catered to help combat this social ill.
- Identify a specific situation or event that happened on the school playground or in your class. Reflect on how to build in a lesson/exercise/activity, which will bring about greater understanding and increase the likelihood for change.
- Use of an incident can serve as a springboard to launch a difficult conversation and convert it into constructive and meaningful measures/exercises where the whole class can participate and benefit.
- Routinely be on alert for bullies and jump into action.
- Design activities to help peers acquire sensitivity, compassion and empathy.
- Be a leader. That is, approaching teachers with ideas based on witnessing bullying events will help develop your leadership style and skills and promote programs that can be beneficial on a school-wide basis.
- Use your voice to advocate for change. Change happens through grass roots efforts. By doing things on the ground level, momentum and participation have a greater chance at making an impact.
- Watch, critique and review videos, podcasts, webinars, magazine articles, which feature the issue of bullying.
Bullying is alive and well. There seems to be a different mean-spirited nature about kids today. Perhaps it can be attributed to entitlement, social media, emerging technologies and the power of printed words, which is having an enormous impact on how kids perceive themselves and are perceived. The concern for the well-being and welfare of others is real and needs our ongoing attention and confrontation.
While it is true that every generation produces bullies and exhibits bullying, each individual has a responsibility to stand up to it and defend the rights and individual freedoms of everyone concerned. Bullies should be thwarted head-on with a healthy dose of push back. The bullied/victim does not deserve t bare the brunt or suffer both mentally and physically, as it is often the physical reaction or retribution that captures the attention and consequence of the adults in charge. Protecting the bully should not be an option. Protecting the safety of the bullied out to be the primary consideration. All of us have had the unfortunate taste and experience of a “Butch” type character.
Through knowledge, understanding and reality, I have gained experience and empowerment. I will continue to fill up my head with the requisite knowledge and tools. This will help in the effort and cause to confront, push back and hopefully, defeat case by case, the bullying mindset.