TED Conversations

Andrea Morisette Grazzini

CEO, WetheP, Inc.


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Are grownup bullies teaching kids how to bully?

Media personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olberman make a living by catalyzing the ire of their audiences through their incendiary tactics.

Leaders themselves, from pastors to politicians to parents to Tea Partiers and Black Panthers square off against different others.

Sparks are a flying, to say least.

And new movies like "The Hunger Games" and "Bully" provide brutal images that imply youth brutality can be catalyzed by adult cultures where competitive vitriol prevails.

Meanwhile, in the real world, communities and schools struggle to manage the bully-culture that has lead to increasingly more mental health concerns, if not more suicides by ostracized kids.

So, folks.

Who's to blame for bullying: kids, adults, both?
Who should lead the demise of cross-country bullying?
And the $10K Q: How?

Bullying, it seems knows no bounds. Thus, I hope this conversation doesn't get too bogged down on specific groups who suffer from bullying, but more on the larger contagions that seem to infecting many different segments of society.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts --


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    Apr 12 2012: Roughly speaking,I agree with you.Yeah,Our parents are our children's first teacher,and in all likelihood,no matter what they teach their children will have a everlasting influence to their children.But today my concern is not with apportioning blame!But how can we change those things?So can you give me some sugestions clearer?
    Thank you!
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      Apr 12 2012: Shelly,

      Years ago when I started teaching I taught at a residential facility for abused, neglected, and semi-violent children. These kids were hurt, angry, and were abusive to each other, themselves, and to me as their teacher. My technique is probably too long to completely explain, but it boils down to listening to their story and showing respect. When a student was being verbally abusive to the others in class or to me, it was amazing how effective it was for me to look at that child and tell them, "I'm sorry that somewhere in your past someone has treated you so horrible that you feel that you can treat others this way. That person was wrong, and you shouldn't have had to endure that, no one should, and I am sorry that happened to you! It shouldn't have."

      Simply acknowledging that you have no idea what their past is, but that it was probably a violation of who they are, and that you basically care enough to say you're sorry was able to move mountains for me. I think that for most of my students it was the first time they had ever heard an adult apologize, for anything.

      I think they want to share their story and that they don't understand how their actions wound others because they are young, fragile, and very ego-centric. You have to help them step out of that "it's all about me" mindset and it is very challenging!

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