Bullying is a big problem for children and young people that go through it. It knocks their self-esteem and makes them lose their confidence, and can make them dread going to school each day. In extreme cases, young people can become suicidal as a result of bullying, while in other very serious cases, it can get out of hand and lead to the bully murdering their victim. It’s also a huge problem for parents and teachers, because stopping bullying is a hard task and they often don’t know the best ways to go about it. There are three key elements to stopping bullying: educating the bullies, imposing greater sanctions for the bullies, and protecting the victim.
The reason that bullies must be educated is that many of them are not aware of exactly how much they are hurting their victim. In serious cases, it is probably wholly deliberate, but even then, most bullies wouldn’t want their victim to become as suicidal as they have made them. Bullying can come in all sorts of forms and one that affects girls in particular is a group of so-called friends excluding them from everything. In cases like these, if the bullies understood that they had become bullies picking on a victim, they may think twice.
The second way to deal with the bullies is to punish them. This could be the only thing that works for incredibly nasty people, because they will only care when it begins to affect them. Bullying often isn’t taken seriously enough; for example, if you punched a person in the middle of the street you would probably be arrested, but if it happens in a case of bullying, the perpetrator might get a detention. It is important not to allow things to happen in school that they would never get away with out in the real world, and children and young people who don’t have boundaries and sanctions imposed as they grow up may not obey the law as adults.
The final main way to deal with bullying involves working with the victim. Victims of bullying need to know their self-worth so that they don’t just accept what’s happening to them, and need to be taught to be assertive without just being aggressive. They should also be taught that self-defence is allowed when necessary, and should not be punished for it, while it is very important that adults always listen to them and take their concerns very seriously.
All in all, there is no one single solution for bullying, but it’s not good enough to ignore it just because it’s hard to deal with. By using a combination of these three tactics, teachers should be able to stop bullying at school long before it gets out of hand.
The best and most obvious way to stop bullying in schools is for parents to change the way they parent their children at home. Of course, this is much easier said than done and everyone parents their children differently. Bullies, however, come from homes where physical punishment is used and children have been taught that physical violence is the way to handle problems and “get their way.”
Bullies usually also come from homes where the parents fight a lot, so violence has been modeled for them. Parental involvement often is lacking in bullies’ lives and there seems to be little warmth.
Early intervention and effective discipline and boundaries truly is the best way to stop bullying, but parents of the victims or therapists cannot change the bullys home environment. Some things can be done at the school level, however.
- Most school programs that address bullying use a multi-faceted approach to the problem. This usually involves counseling of some sort, either by peers, a school counselor, teachers, or the principal.
- Hand out questionnaires to all students and teachers and discuss if bullying is occurring. Define exactly what constitutes bullying at school. The questionnaire is a wonderful tool that allows the school to see how widespread bullying is and what forms it is taking. It is a good way to start to address the problem.
- Get the children’s parents involved in a bullying program. If parents of the bullies and the victims are not aware of what is going on at school, then the whole bullying program will not be effective. Stopping bullying in school takes teamwork and concentrated effort on everyone’s part. Bullying also should be discussed during parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings. Parental awareness is key.
- In the classroom setting, all teachers should work with the students on bullying. Oftentimes even the teacher is being bullied in the classroom and a program should be set up that implements teaching about bullying. Children understand modeling behaviors and role-play and acting out bullying situations is a very effective tool. Have students role-play a bullying situation.
Rules that involve bullying behaviors should be clearly posted. Schools also could ask local mental health professionals to speak to students about bullying behaviors and how it directly affects the victims.
- Schools need to make sure there is enough adult supervision at school to lessen and prevent bullying.
A child who has to endure bullying usually suffers from low self-esteem and their ability to learn and be successful at school is dramatically lessened. Schools and parents must educate children about bullying behaviors; it will help all children feel safe and secure at school. Children who bully need to be taught empathy for others’ feelings in order to change their behaviors and the school must adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying.