How to Stop Bullying and Create a More Kind Community
We see bullying all around us: in homes, schools, and images in video games, TV shows and movies.
We might even do some bullying behaviors ourselves, thinking it will get us the results we want. But ‘where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to get people to do better, we first have to make them feel worse?’ Statistics now show that a third of all children, 1 in 3 kids! are bullied….
Online bullying is one of the areas where bullying is getting bigger and bigger. Cyberbullying is being used to hurt and humiliate others for control or revenge. Unfortunately, the use of social media to spread rumors, ‘diss’ or shame people has devastating effects. Victims of bullying can even be in so much pain that they take their own lives out of hurt and confusion. Our words are powerful, whether we say them or write them, and we need to be careful about what we tell others.
We know that when people feel threatened, scared, or humiliated, our thinking brain shuts down and our emotional brain takes over. Ever felt really mad at someone? So mad that you wanted to hurt them? That’s your emotional brain at work. Your emotional brain does other positive and amazing things too, but it’s not the best at making rational or smart decisions. When we get hurt, we want to hurt others: “Hurt people, hurt people”. Bullies often say that they were also bullied by others at some point. They might not mean to, but they are passing on those bullying behaviors because they don’t know how else to respond.
However, we can break the cycle. Let bullying stop with you. Choose to be an UPSTANDER not just a BYSTANDER.
- Say something against bullying when you see it, regardless of whether the bully is a child or an adult.
- Take responsibility for your own words and actions. Remember that they do affect others in a big way, whether we mean for them to or not.
- And when you’re feeling hurt or upset from someone else’s words or actions, stop and take a moment for your emotional brain to calm down, so that you can make choices about how to respond from your thinking brain once you’re calm again.
- Otherwise, when our thinking brain shuts down and our emotional brain engages, we can be destructive to ourselves and each other.
So what can you do? Try these ideas:
- If you are bullied, walk away to re-gather your thinking brain. Muster courage from your heart, find your voice, tell an adult you trust or your parent. Take self defense classes and practice finding your voice. Know that there can be solutions.
- If you have bullied someone, walk away to re-gather your thinking brain. Check in on what you were trying to do. What might be a more kind or better way to do that? Find your voice and your courage to apologize and try again.
Hurt people, hurt people. Bullying can stop with YOU…We can start with modeling the way we want to be treated!
Get more information with additional resources here
Get more information with LGBTQ resources here
*This information was provided by Jane Weed-Pomerantz and Monica McGuire – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!