START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

How to Change the Culture of Bullying

How to Change the Culture of Bullying

When I was in the ninth grade in the 1960s, a gang of four girls I didn’t know cornered me in a stairwell after a late band practice with an iron ball and chain and threatened to beat me up. Why? I don’t know, except perhaps it was because I was successful in academics, sports, band and had recently been presented an award at a school assembly. Or, maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fortunately, I had a good sense of self-esteem and was able to talk them down, and while they were discussing whether they should go ahead with the attack, I ran down three flights of stairs to the nearest exit. I breathed a huge sigh of relief once I got outside onto a busy street. The next day I reported the event to the assistant principal, but I was scared every time I found myself alone in a hallway after school.

Today, bullying among children has increased to such a critical level that parents, educators, counselors, state legislators and many others, including the president of the United States, have sounded the alarm that enough is enough. The White House estimates a third of the nation’s schoolchildren, about 13 million, have been subjected to bullying and at least 10 percent are bullied on a regular basis. Besides physical bullying, there is also verbal and emotional bullying. And, with the rise of the Internet, many children are bullied and humiliated online through email, chat rooms, Facebook and other social media. The number of children who have committed suicide due to constant bullying is frightening.

What’s really behind today’s bullying epidemic?

Children bullying a childThe website, www.bullyingstatistics.org, defines bullying as “a form of intimidation or domination toward someone who is perceived as being weaker; a way of getting what one wants through some sort of coercion or force; and a way for someone to establish some sort of perceived superiority over another person.”

Reading these definitions, I couldn’t help but think of how today’s political climate seems to have taken on such a hostile tone, especially leading up to and during election years. Incumbents and candidates alike seem to bully each other for these same reasons. The American public used to perceive congressmen and women as models of civility, but now these former role models seem to have earned our justifiable disdain. Their motives for bullying are as transparent as they are disgusting to me. Civility used to be a cultural value, but now it is sorely lacking in so much adult interaction today. Bullying is glorified in many action, comedy and reality TV shows as well as video games. No wonder so many children consider bullying as normal behavior.

Children have bullied other children from time immemorial, but something else is driving today’s rampant bullying. Most psychologists view school bullies as having psychological problems. As a psychologist and educator who started one of the first schools for holistic education in Northern California in the late 1970s, I witnessed normal childhood bullying dynamics firsthand, and they were easy to modify back then, except when the bully was truly an emotionally disturbed child. The solution was to teach children, both the bully and the victim, heart-based communication tools that developed empathy, compassion and understanding of each other’s worlds. This wasn’t so hard and didn’t take that long, but required genuine care and modeling by teachers and administrators as well as an integration into the classroom learning environment and dynamics.

My view is that too many children today lack compassion or the ability to put themselves in another’s shoes to feel what another feels. Social science researchers have found that babies and young children are hard-wired to be compassionate until parents, school and social pressures educate them otherwise. Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and Berkeley professor, Dacher Kelter, Ph.D, are studying this “compassionate instinct” along with Darwin’s research on the survival of the kindest in primates (cooperation rather than competition is part of Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest).

What can parents do?

In our last Care2 column on Children and Technology – Why Be Concerned, Sara Childre discussed how the constant use of technology is eating into time that children would otherwise Kids getting alongbe developing social and emotional skills, and that studies over the past decade found that a large number of adolescents and teens are having difficulty identifying emotions in people, thus creating an inability to feel empathy toward others.

While kids are immersed in social interaction through technology then loaded with homework to achieve academically in school, we are neglecting teaching them the basic heart values and social/emotional skills needed to be caring and effective human beings. Children need to learn to understand and manage their own feelings of anxiety, anger, fear and self-worth, as well as understand the feelings of others. A home or school environment indifferent to developing these heart-based skills leaves plenty of holes for student aggression (and other destructive behaviors) to slip through unnoticed, even when there is a school-wide policy of zero tolerance for bullying (or drinking, drug use, etc.). Bullying will continue like a social virus despite legislation, until we decide that social and emotional learning is as important as academics.

 

Fortunately, there are effective solutions and tools available for schools and parents. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to turn the wheel and get it rolling. Below are a few. If bullying is a problem in your family or local school, I encourage you to share this information.

Nicholas Carlisle, Director of No Bully, suggests schools implement “Solution Teams.” Under a Solution Team, an adult team leader brings together a team of students to stop the bullying of one of their peers. The leader describes how it feels to be in the target’s shoes and asks the team to solve this situation. The team includes the bully, his or her followers and some positive leaders from the same peer group. The rewards that schools typically experience from this kind of social and emotional learning are significant reductions in student bullying, increased student inclusiveness and respect.

Institute of HeartMath’s research-based classroom programs for social and emotional development, called HeartSmarts®, provide children with methods to recognize cues happening inside their bodies and feelings that can lead to aggression. They learn age-specific HeartMath tools to manage their emotional impulses and shift their focus to more constructive outlets for their energy. These tools enable children from pre-kindergarten through high school and beyond to self-regulate emotional energy, such as anger, frustration, anxiety or fear, and develop compassion and respect for themselves and others.

kids using emWaveHeartMath’s emWave® technology is also highly effective in teaching children emotional balance and coherence, an optimal state in which their heart, mind and emotions are in sync and harmonized. Emotional balance is essential for managing personal stress, maintaining self-control and overcoming anger, fear and a lack of self-respect, all of which can contribute to bullying and other destructive behaviors.

Counselors, psychologists, educational therapists, social workers and other healthcare professionals are using HeartMath® Interventions Certification Program to teach HeartMath about their therapeutic work with children. The program’s protocols help them to help children establish a new baseline of inner coherence that results in sustained attitude and behavior changes.

Free Tools for Well-Being for ages 3 – 18, and techniques for parents.

 

For free resources, Sign Up for the Free Institute of HeartMath News & Tools. You will also receive access to our free subscriber downloads to PDFs, MP4 and audio programs, and receive latest scientific research.

Read more: Children, Family, General Health, Guidance, Health, Home, Life, Mental Wellness, Nourishing the Heart, Parenting at the Crossroads, Relationships, Self-Help, Spirit, Spirituality and Technology, Teens, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Deborah, from HeartMath

Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., is President and CEO of the for-profit Quantum Intech Inc (dba HeartMath Inc.) Deborah has been deeply committed to awareness development and personal growth for 40 years. Deborah is co-author with Doc Childre of Transforming Anger, Transforming Stress, Transforming Anxiety, Transforming Depression and Stopping Emotional Eating.

176 comments

+ add your own
8:15AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

As a society, we admire and reward the success of focused directness. The question is: What happens when acceptable “assertiveness” is shoved over… into unacceptable “aggressiveness” and bullying? Where is this line drawn, and who actually draws that line between the two?

Our children, our family, friends, and every person breathing on this earth are important, are worthy, are loved and cherished for who they are. We are important, worthy, and cherished for who we are—and not what we do, what we look like, how much money we have, etc.

If children grew up with this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less potential victims of bullying; teen suicides and/or attempted suicides would be reduced; and so many other positive effects will follow them through adulthood.

If adults had this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less abuse, fewer suicides, and less domestic violence and killings.

If all of us believed this in our own hearts, we wouldn’t sit back and allow others to be threatened, bullied, or abused. We would have the courage to step in and do something… and not stand by and let things happen, because we’re afraid of getting involved.

We need to do is share this simple message—over and over again—until this knowledge is so deeply embedded in everyone we come in contact with that no words, actions, or persons can take that away from them.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

As a society, we admire and reward the success of focused directness. The question is: What happens when acceptable “assertiveness” is shoved over… into unacceptable “aggressiveness” and bullying? Where is this line drawn, and who actually draws that line between the two?

Our children, our family, friends, and every person breathing on this earth are important, are worthy, are loved and cherished for who they are. We are important, worthy, and cherished for who we are—and not what we do, what we look like, how much money we have, etc.

If children grew up with this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less potential victims of bullying; teen suicides and/or attempted suicides would be reduced; and so many other positive effects will follow them through adulthood.

If adults had this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less abuse, fewer suicides, and less domestic violence and killings.

If all of us believed this in our own hearts, we wouldn’t sit back and allow others to be threatened, bullied, or abused. We would have the courage to step in and do something… and not stand by and let things happen, because we’re afraid of getting involved.

We need to do is share this simple message—over and over again—until this knowledge is so deeply embedded in everyone we come in contact with that no words, actions, or persons can take that away from them.

8:15AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

As a society, we admire and reward the success of focused directness. The question is: What happens when acceptable “assertiveness” is shoved over… into unacceptable “aggressiveness” and bullying? Where is this line drawn, and who actually draws that line between the two?

Our children, our family, friends, and every person breathing on this earth are important, are worthy, are loved and cherished for who they are. We are important, worthy, and cherished for who we are—and not what we do, what we look like, how much money we have, etc.

If children grew up with this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less potential victims of bullying; teen suicides and/or attempted suicides would be reduced; and so many other positive effects will follow them through adulthood.

If adults had this knowledge embedded in their hearts, I believe that there would be less abuse, fewer suicides, and less domestic violence and killings.

If all of us believed this in our own hearts, we wouldn’t sit back and allow others to be threatened, bullied, or abused. We would have the courage to step in and do something… and not stand by and let things happen, because we’re afraid of getting involved.

We need to do is share this simple message—over and over again—until this knowledge is so deeply embedded in everyone we come in contact with that no words, actions, or persons can take that away from them.

5:10AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

all i have to say.... it starts at home... Mom, Dad please teach your child compassion and empathy. Hate starts at home and end up in the world harming others...

6:47PM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

And by the way, I've had a Jew criminal trying to extort me for the last 3 years, and has slandered me for the last 3 years, it's time to wake up to the Jew nightmare you're living within......

6:44PM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

What people truly need to understand is that all of this is coming from the Jews. The Jews own everything, and they are purposely making society like this on purpose and none of you wants to put the blame where it belongs because all of you are afraid of the Jew. The Jews were kicked out of Germany in the year 1614, every man women and child, and the Jews have been kicked out of every country in Europe and been kicked out of different countries over 200 times, they are the only race in world history that this is true of. The Jews in Russia took over Russia in 1917 and put 60 million Christians to death. It's time to wake up America, you have a Jew problem, the kids doing the shootings at the schools are Jews, the extortionists are Jews, the guy who started the Church of Satan was a Jew. The serial killers are mostly Jews. You cannot imagine how evil these people truly are, and only until you take the power away from the Jews and put them into their place nothing will ever change. And it's not going to change, on the contrary, when Christ opens the second seal everyone is going to start killing each other. Just remember it was the Jews who have done this, the Jews who put the entire financial system under the control of a computer program, and the Jews who are Freemasons, I broke the Freemason Code, Google Freemason Code Broken. The Jews are the ultimate enemy of mankind, that's why Christ said they would be going to Hell, why Paul said they were contrary to all men, and why G

3:01AM PDT on Apr 12, 2014

Having been bullied and being around narcissistic people all my life (family), i honestly believe there is a connection...

9:08AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

As a child I was bullied...and I also WAS a bullier...I dont know why either things happened...perhaps "pack mentality"? Parents werent involved enough with we kids as a group, so things happened & no one was there to set us straight. Luckily we all survived & became friends. We need much more adult involvement when groups of kids play together....Bullying hurts & sometimes kills.

3:37AM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

TY. Painful to go here.

5:15PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

ty

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I've seen this before, so funny!

Keep it up guys............together we make a difference

All of my pets have just walked or been carried into my life or taken home from shelters. Each and e…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.