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Overcome Bullying In Schools: How Building Deeper

How do we stop bullying to give our children a safe and happy environment?

The question crosses our mind often, and we proactively criticise juvenile violence, set rules & behavioural expectations, discuss restorative measures &rnpunishments, and counsel the wrongdoers. Bullying is a deliberate pattern of charming or humiliating or physically intimidating others (specifically who are in some way not equal but lesser or weaker or younger). However, ousting people, ganging up to ostracise pranks on others & not helping the victims in our vicinity—what we otherwise consider harmless, are as bad as bullying itself.

Bullying isn't an individual aberration—it’s a community affair!

While behaviour counselling is a decent solution, initiating a conversation with stereotyping a bully as ‘heartless, dehumanising fiend’ or victims as ‘poor, helpless innocents,’ makes discussions discriminatory and unrealistic.

 How to stop bullying from transforming into a social crime? The change has to begin from the grassroots and through the early years. Children spend a substantial amount of their time at school and at home. Classroom and home environments have to be equally balanced and conducive to tackle bullying because a bully is not born, but made. We need to move beyond the categorical thinking of ‘bully’ son‘victim’ to understand the complex intricacies of this social phenomenon and work towards betterment.

We can help little ones understand the bigger problems in society by co-relating them with ‘seemingly minor’ incidents of bullying in schools, to set the tone for appropriate behaviour in society.

MakingrnSchools Bully-free Zones


1.      1.Understandingrnbullying

What we often dismiss as innocuous teasing, sows the seeds of bullying in later years. A bully seeks dominance, fake self-confidence & a sense of power from others miseries. An article published in JAMA Psychiatry states that bullies, if not corrected early, develop anti-social personality disorders in the future.

Thernvictims too, experience severe and wide-ranging effects. Bullying affects their sense of security, causing anxiety and psychological disorders (agoraphobia, panic, paranoia, etc.). Continued oppression affects their mental peace, decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

rnrHowever, punishing the bully without understanding their mindset, doesn’t help either. It breeds embarrassment or aggression—a fertile ground for juvenile violence to grow on. Understanding the underlying reasons for bullying (in particular to the individual) gives us a deeper understanding of what to change and find how to make the change happen.

1.     2.  Buildingrna positive culture of care & empathy

Caregivers need to pre-emptively design learning spaces that dismantle a prejudiced culture and replace it with care, empathy, acceptance & equality. We can initiate it by awakening the ‘caring self’ in a bully. (E.g., Since you’re donecan you help your friend finish his classwork?”) Staggering community lunches & adult-supervised concerted fun activities let students examine their emotions, reactions & behaviour, and practice these values among themselves.

Modelling carern& compassion doesn’t mean validating or welcoming bully behaviour. It’s accepting the bully, as a part of the group turn understand their needs and actions. Both bullies and victims need emotional support and empathetic friends. Simplest actions like applauding a victim for correctly answering a question, forgivingrna bully for their bad behaviour, or appreciating the bully for apologising, are small gestures that positively mould kids.

By replacing praise & pampering with acknowledgement & appreciation, we can ensure equality in classrooms. Also, by providing kids with equal attention, opportunities, emotional support &rnadvice to change for better helps them control their outbursts and actions. When children start looking at things from different perspectives, in different positions, they will get to understand emotions in a better way.

3. DefiningrnEthics, Responsibilities & Roles

Strengthening the fabric of interrelatedness will help us nurture all children. Entrusting the bullies, bystanders & victims with different classroom responsibilities innovation helps them understand & accept different roles. Moreover, letting children set classroom expectations & behaviour makes them aware of good and bad behaviour. It encourages them to introspect and take the onus of their actions.

While defining good behaviour/social principles & getting children to accept it, we’ve to ensure that all kids are treated fairly & humanely, including the bully. We must reiterate that bullying is unacceptable &rnreprisals need to stop while defining the consequences & effects for misdemeanours, and the policies/procedures for dealing with a bullyThis way, by helping students understand the ill-effects of bullying & building deeper human connections, we can transform classrooms into happier, safer & harmonious spaces where all students thrive together, working towards a common goal—acquiring skills, knowledge, ethics & competencies to grow into better human beings. It’ll not just help students overcome bullying in schools and society, but also develop positivity and a sense of accomplishment in them. 

26
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2020

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