Over the course of the last 20 years, there have been a variety of anti-bullying programs and techniques. While all of these programs are well-intentioned, do they actually achieve the goal of teaching people how to really decrease bullying. It never ceases to amaze me that people think it is a great idea to use mustaches, paint kids fingers and use magicians to help get anti-bullying messages across. Then when you ask the coordinator of such events what is the objective of such an event or what was actually learned by the students who took part in the experience, they typically respond with something like, “It’s a start,” or “We need a positive way to get people to remember not to bully and to report bullying when they see it.”
Let’s address the first common response of “It’s a start.” The fact is that these types of programs are NOT a start if there is no tangible follow-up training with children and their parents on how to actually improve a child’s self image, control their confidence indicators, or strengthen their level of self-respect and respect for others. These types of programs are more of a way for people who don’t know how to fix the problem to feel good about themselves and claim that they are making a difference. Honestly, this not helping our kids become more empowered.
Point number two: “We need a positive way to get people to remember not to bully and to report bullying when they see it.” Honestly, this is just assuming that children are not smart and they are incapable of learning how to protect and build their own self-esteem and confidence. Our children are incredibly capable applying self-confidence, self-esteem, and principles of respect to their lives in an incredibly short period of time. Of course, some people learn and adapt quicker than others but virtually anybody can learn these skills.
The fact is, if you want to reduce bullying and help our children, then we need to work on the fundamental building blocks of who children are as people. Teach children how to have self-respect and then they will have respect for others. Teach children how to effectively control their confidence indicators and nurture the things that cause them to build self-confidence. This first starts with parents not overprotecting their children so much and instead train them how to interact with the world and other people effectively. This would be doing their children a lot more good.
So what should a good anti-bully program include as its backbone of education for a child?
- A system for teaching parents how to work with their child and not stunt their child’s growth.
- An effective system for teaching children how to respect others.
- A comprehensive method for helping children raise their level of self confidence and esteem.
- Effective means of teaching children to control their “Confidence Indicators.”
- A system for teaching children what bullying actually is and is not.
- A cohesive system for educating children on how to understand and nurture their own self-respect.
We do need to commend anyone who wants to help our children, our schools and families with the issue of bullying. Just remember that if you are going to train people how to better prevent bullying, don’t assume they are ignorant or incapable of learning basic personal skills. Teach people to build themselves up from their personal foundation and you will be amazed at how quickly we will start creating a society of children who are empowered and who will be able to empower others, instead of the masses of low self-esteem and confidence deprived children we have so many of today.
The practice of a good bullying requires constant effort, follow-up training and measurable results to indeed prove it’s being effective and reshaping a safer environment for todays children.