Strategies for prevention have been effective, yet bullying incidents still occur. The issue is complex and we’ll start to think about the frightening subject of what to do about a bully and his behaviour.
As we investigate this subject, it will become clear that there are choices. In actuality, there seem to be three main strategies for dealing with the bullying issue. Both of them have their proponents and detractors.
In some schools, one or both of these strategies are fully implemented. There are many methods used in other schools, just as there are various educational philosophies.
But before these three strategies are discussed, we should ask ourselves the most fundamental question of all: why do we want to do anything? when we contemplate what we may do in a school about “the bully”. What purpose does an intervention against the bully serve?
To protect children who are the victims of abuse is the typical initial response. Almost always, this is the first thing to take into account.
Additionally, it is becoming more and more recognized in Australia (as well as several other nations) as a legal need. Additionally, most consumers need quick and effective security.
Another response is that they want the bully to change so that I they don’t terrorize other pupils and they can teach the bully how to live a more fulfilling life for themselves.
A third explanation is that they desire a secure, peaceful school and wish to discourage other pupils from taking the bully’s path.
We may divide dealing with bullies into three very general strategies:
- Taking a moralistic stance
- The legalistic strategy
- Humanistic thinking
The moralistic stance
In its most basic form, this strategy is predicated on the idea that bullies will stop acting out if the school’s values and moral stance toward bullying are forcibly stated and repeated. The moralistic approach demands that the student adhere to the principles that the institution has established or that are generally accepted.
Of course, the goal is to exert moral pressure. The moral standing of the institution and the student’s acceptance of it will determine how well this strategy works.
On the plus side, it may be claimed that the strategy promotes school ideals while simultaneously appealing to students’ sense of moral rightness. It should be observed, however, that in the application outlined above, there is no meaningful contact with the bully; no attempt is made to understand the bully’s principles or motivations and to create a common ground for conversation. The problem with this strategy is that the bully may (and frequently does) cynically consent and bully once again in ways that are harder to notice.
The legalistic strategy
This presupposes a set of guidelines that the bully is assumed to be familiar with. These are frequently referred to as “sanctions.” The goal is to implement the law fairly, therefore there may be little or no moralizing.
From moderate to severe, the consequences might include doing jobs around the school, losing privileges, taking a timeout, detention, suspension, or expulsion—whatever the school deems appropriate and in line with its behavior management policy.
Future repercussions may be discussed during the surgery, and parents may be invited. Formal charges against the offender may be brought in the instance of severe physical bullying and harm.
Sometimes the school’s punishments are referred to as “consequences” as though they follow logically and organically from the offense.
“You did this; now the result is that…” Bullying in schools is frequently addressed in this way.
The humanistic thinking
It involves listening (and refraining from preaching and laying down the law) and establishing genuine two-way communication as a prerequisite to, and essential component in, bringing about change, not only in the bully’s behavior but also in the bully’s mindset.
It is an approach that is based on a sincere desire on the part of the teacher/counselor to understand the person who has bullied someone, not as a member of a category, a delinquent for whom there is a normal course of therapy; it entails listening (and abstaining from lecturing and imposing the law) and developing true two-way communication as a prerequisite to, and crucial component in, bringing about change in the bully’s thoughts and feeling as well as their actions.
In order to address peer victimization issues, it is preferable to use so-called humanistic approaches, such as counseling and mediation techniques, as opposed to relying solely on moralistic and legalistic means of enacting change. This DOES NOT imply that schools should not take a firm moral stance against bullying, though.
The implication is that “simply moralizing” about bullying is not likely to have a significant impact on lowering peer victimization in the majority of schools.
Additionally, it should be questioned if schools can always avoid using punishments to cope with bullying. Idealistic thinking can only go so far. However, using punishment as the sole or main strategy to stop bullying will not work.
A true effort to understand and respect the needs of those most directly affected by the bully/victim conflict, namely the bully (or bullies) and the victim, characterizes humanistic approaches to bullying (or victims).
The core tenet of this strategy is the conviction that the strength of the relationship that can be established with individuals involved will have a significant impact on how well the problem can be solved. And it is considered that the only way for a successful relationship to grow is via showing respect and having sincere two-way communication.
One widely held belief is that it is important to concentrate on bullies’ needs for self-esteem while engaging with them. Bullying is said to be a result of poor self-esteem or feelings of unworthiness. Bullies no longer need to bully others if they can learn to value themselves as valuable individuals.
The notion goes that the bully cannot be himself until they have significant people’ true acceptance. The instructor might start by personally extending this acceptance.
This is the traditional Rogerian view of how people might be treated in therapy, and it may be thought that it especially applies to bullies, whose families are frequently marked by parental and familial rejection. Nevertheless, the proponents advocate this strategy must deal with an uncomfortable empirical result that is frequently discovered in investigations of bullies’ self-esteem.
According to a similar theory, while though bullies often have high self-esteem, their behavior can nevertheless help to keep them there if it successfully fosters emotions of superiority and pride. One may argue that if bullying were to stop, there would need to be encouragement from a different source of success.
In light of this, the instructor may look at methods a bully may succeed in place of them. A young man who is admired by others (and subsequent regard) by shoving other guys around may discover that he may gain the same admiration by using his strength in a more appropriate setting, such on the sports field.
Family effects may be considered as having a big part when examining the factors that impact a bully’s behavior at school. This has caused some educators to focus on how the situation may be altered or accepted rather than on how the family history, and particularly the “dysfunctional family,” is the cause of the issue.
The instructor and student may have a deeper understanding of how a child’s familial circumstances may contribute to the student’s angry outbursts and even deliberate cruelty against classmates as their relationship with the bully progresses.
Understanding the reasons behind this behavior might help the learner moderate or refocus their hatred. The bully must have a high level of understanding and maturity in order for this strategy to be effective, and the teacher or counselor must likely put in a lot of time and effort as well.
Once on this path, the assistant could feel compelled to go to the student’s house and try to change the family’s behavior and way of life. Even while this could be getting close to “the heart of the problem,” the family’s resistance might be demoralizing. In extraordinary circumstances, and then with the help of a skilled family therapist, it could be appropriate.
Focusing on the abilities a kid might require to be motivated to cease bullying is another strategy. A lack of social skills is frequently seen to be the fundamental issue. Bullies, as a group, do not, however, often have weak social skills; in fact, they may have above-average talents in this area, particularly if they are successful practitioners of indirect bullying, as many are.
However, some people do struggle with social skills. Bullying is sometimes used to control individuals because the bully seems powerless to do it in other ways. As was previously said, social skills training may be useful in some circumstances.
Another strategy within the so-defined humanistic framework is to postulate that bullying is mostly caused by the pupils’ lack of involvement in anything that captures and maintains their essential interest. The bully is simply bored. The present and the future appear to be pretty pointless. In this situation, counseling may focus on assisting the bully in locating a true and persistent passion or vocation, either inside the school, outside the school, or both.
Bullies are supposedly plagued by a lack of empathy and a refusal to take accountability for their acts, according to popular belief.
Some modern strategies for dealing with criminals in the community and with bullies in schools are based on this viewpoint. Bullies should be taught to care more about the people they victimize and to take personal responsibility for their conduct, according to the proposal. Well, of course; hasn’t that been our goal all along, we would mutter in response. And in a way, this is true, but mostly via the use of conventional techniques, such as lecturing and reprimanding.
How might this be accomplished more successfully and in a compassionate way?
First, we need think about why the words “worry” and “responsibility” are combined in this heading. When we deal with the issue of bullying, they are intertwined. Before the bully can undergo any significant change, both must alter. How about “being responsible”?
The bully could even take pride in the victim’s misery and be very willing to bear personal responsibility for it. By his or her own standards, though not necessarily those of society, this bully is acting responsibly. There is no incentive to change without empathy for the sufferer. We must be concerned.
‘Concern’ can perhaps not be sufficient. The bully may feel sympathy for the victim, but he or she may also believe that there is little or nothing the bully can do to help. The bully may believe that they are led by rather irresistible urges; this notion might be influenced by various sorts of “therapy aid,” no matter how well-intended they may be.
Using the Shared Concern method at stage one
The procedure might start once information about a bullying event that is thought to involve several kids has been obtained from unbiased witnesses.
Interviews with bullies during stage one
Interviews are conducted in private with each bully who has been recognized, or more specifically, suspected of being involved in the bullying of a fellow student. The interviewer (usually the counselor, but occasionally another instructor) will take each person from a classroom to a quiet area where there won’t be any distractions.
Naturally, the class instructor will need to be made aware of what is occurring and reminded of the necessity of keeping the class active in order to prevent those who are returning from discussing what happened. Bullying is not to be mentioned. Starting with the group leader (if one is identified), it is traditional to speak with each student in turn, often for little more than 10 minutes.
Meeting with the victim at stage two
Each kid who is accused of bullying has been spoken to. The victim must next be questioned.
The instructor must evaluate, after listening to the victim, whether the student is a traditional, passive, non-provocative victim or, alternatively, whether the student has contributed in some way to the bullying. Then, strategies for how to make things better may be considered, such as not inciting the bullies or growing in popularity and support from others. A future meeting is scheduled and a plan of action is developed.
Getting ready for a meeting with the victim and the group as a whole at stage three
In order to assess progress and continue to inspire people, it is first important to meet with them briefly again. If all goes according to plan, arrangements may be made for a productive meeting between the bullies and the victim, which will demonstrate to everyone that the bullying has truly stopped and a satisfactory settlement or conciliation has been reached. Without the victim present, there may occasionally be repeated meetings with certain pupils and/or the entire class. The instructor is required to record the advancement achieved at these meetings and to provide praise where deals or agreements have been kept.
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