Last weekend, 13 year old Isabella Oleschuk disappeared. Her friends said she was being relentlessly bullied because she was partially deaf and different. She dreaded going to school… Luckily she was found alive and well.
But suddenly (once again) national attention is being focused on “the bullying problem in our schools.” Again we hear angry parents saying things like, “Why are they letting this happen to our children?”
The usual response is to pass more laws and to “get tougher” on bullies. And how is that working?
When I ask my audiences, “Raise your hand if someone has ever been mean to you and hurt your feelings.” They all raise their hands. When I ask them “Be honest now. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been mean to someone else…even someone you like or love.” Once again they all raise their hands.
Then I ask this: “How many of you have said something to a friend that you didn’t intend to be mean or hurtful only to have them react as if you had slapped them in the face?” Again all the hands go up.
No matter how much we preach at kids to be respectful and kind, at the end of the day they (like us) are only human. And no matter how much we aspire to creating a community of kindness around them, our children will someday cross the path of someone who didn’t get the memo that bullying is unacceptable behavior. What then?
We all have experienced having our feelings hurt by others who may not have intended to hurt us. And we all have hurt others feelings without meaning to. How much of our bullying problem in school is due to that factor? And when is the last time you heard about that on the news?
After 30 years of research and a childhood being that kid who dreaded going to school because I was teased, excluded and bullied, I have found a solution. It’s a different approach.
What if we focused on giving the “target” tools to bully proof themselves from the inside out? What if from elementary school on, every child was taught how to manage their own emotions and interpretations of the external world?
These tools are simple and “duplicatable.” The bonus is they not only protect kids from bullying in your school (without you having to punish anybody or bring in a surveillance team), they give kids resources they can use for the rest of their lives. Even out in the “real world” when they end up with a boss or co-workers who “didn’t get the memo.” Or a college roommate who uploads their most private moments to YouTube.
The tools I teach also help kids (and teachers) deal with stress of all kinds, like tests, break ups, budget cuts, SATs, college applications, their team losing the big game, etc.
For a limited time I’m giving away my book, “Bully Free Me. Bully Free Us!” so it costs you nothing to check it out. Get it here: Download my book, “Bully Free Me. Bully Free Us!”
The time to stop “the cycle of bullying” is now. Before NBC is calling for your comments on some child at your school who ran away or took their own life to stop the pain of being bullied…
Please feel free to call me with questions at 888-598-7709 or email me at BullyingPreventionNow [at] gmail.com
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