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Child, Adolescent & Family Therapist, Youth in Need

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How can we help to prevent bullying?

As a society that revels in TV series such as Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore and other "Reality" TV shows, how are we supposed to stop bullying within schools?

If we preach what to do or what not to do when confronted by bullying behaviors, but never follow through with consequences, how can we expect our students to continue to have faith in the faculty's true want to get rid of bullying.

How can we expect our children to stop bullying if we, as grown ups, are watching these shows.... making fun of the people on them, judging them, calling them names?

How can we change the structure of learning to help increase education, not only in the academic sense, but also in the sense of what it means to be a human being?


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    Mar 16 2013: This is probably the funniest question I've answered in my life. I mean you want to prevent something that is prevalent in life it seems. A foundation of America is bullying. Early colonists felt bullied by the British so they broke free. After that, America started slavery. Forcing individuals to do harsh labor for no pay, and be treated like animals. After that was through, there was segregation and discrimination. Black Americans being told where they could go, and what they could do. Being beaten. That's bullying, but on a bigger scale. So you're asking how we can prevent bullying, and I think you might as well be asking how can we change human behavior. If you look at slavery and civil rights violations in the U.S. you see that bullying is us. it's in us. That is how we behave as humans.
    What you're asking is how we can innately change the morals of individuals. Unless there is a world consensus that everyone should be treated as if there were nothing less than a person, unless we can go into the schools and help children understand that all of them are great and everybody's different. Teach them skills to cope with the real world, and to be able to relate to all different types of people and understand them, then I think we don't have much hope.

    Maybe there are ways but people just seem to be caught up in themselves, and everyone isn't out for the betterment of humanity.
    • Mar 16 2013: From my perspective, you're talking about mental models, but not necessarily human nature. I think the error in this logic is that you mention historically grand-scale bullying, but neglect the progress we've made from there. The assumption must be that this is the end of the line, and we cannot progress further?

      It doesn't have to be a gushy story about how everyone loves each other. It has to be about having the bare minimum respect for individuals that keeps people from going out of their way to torment others. If people don't like someone for whatever reason, leave them alone.
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        Mar 16 2013: I feel what I'm saying is that since there are multiple examples of this in the past and the present (though I did not mention, civil rights movements in the U.S. were only 50 or 60 years ago) on grand scales, and minuscule scales, that it is part of human nature. To ask how we can prevent bullying, is the equivalent to asking how we can stop humans acting like themselves.
        And you say progression. What progression? I see bullying everyday. I go to events and see it, school, the store, McDonald's. I didn't talk about the progressive because I believe humans are in a mental state of stigma.
        I went to McDonald's and saw this blind man trying to order. It was clear he was blind. Even a dog could tell he was blind, and the woman insisted that he order after he asked her "What is on the Dollar Menu, I'm blind?"
        Now god damn, if a blind man was cutting a huge piece of meat and asked you for help, wouldn't at least help him or just let him cut his fingers off. Maybe it's because I witness this that I don't think there's much progression. From seeing what's happening in Africa now. What's happening in politics now.
        I agree with what you're saying about respect and I do think we can change, but that it's just in our nature to act that way.
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          Mar 16 2013: Trey,
          I'm curious....what did you do in the situation with the blind man ordering at McDonalds?
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        Mar 16 2013: You tell the cashier, "Hey, he's blind, don't you think you could read the menu to him?"
        And if she says no or acts funny, you get the manager, and if all else fails you tell him the menu yourself. Then maybe you could ask the cashier why she couldn't help him. Maybe she was having a bad, who knows? At least you showed what should have been done.
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          Mar 16 2013: I agree Trey. Those situations we encounter in our everyday lives offer an opportunity for all of us to model better behavior:>)
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      Mar 16 2013: A few weeks back there was a TED conversation about the evolution of man.
      The question asked was "what would home sapiens possibly evolve to?"

      One reply read............. humane beings........

      Why not change human nature? Could we not evolve into humane beings?

      People can change. Sometimes they change for the better, unfortunately, sometimes the change is for the worse.

      Let's hope that in the end more of us change for the better.

      And really......this is the funniest question you have ever answered? I find that hard to believe Trey.
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        Mar 16 2013: Not the funniest but the most socially attacking, and I've heard it so many times that to hear it on TED makes me wonder if it's really a social crisis. Not to say it isn't Ms. M.
        And I think we could change.
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      Mar 16 2013: Trey,
      You bring up some good points....bullying has been part of our world for a long time. You ask how we change human behavior. I suggest that we change human behavior by changing our accepted paradigm. I believe that as thinking, feeling, intelligent, evolving humans, we EVENTUALLY start looking at challenges that are not beneficial for the whole of humankind. Change takes a very long time, as you probably know! We change human behavior by introducing and encouraging different ideas and behaviors.

      Slavery was/is indeed a horrible form of bullying and violation of human rights. Now slavery, at least in the U.S is illegal. Unfortunately, slavery in many forms continues in our world....we need to work on changing that! Some humans behave in that way because for some reason, they think it's ok to enslave a person and violate basic human rights. The more people who step up to the plate and let others know that it is NOT ok, the better chance we have to change the behaviors.

      YES....let's encourage a world where everyone is treated with respect and kindness... go into schools and help children understand that all of them are great and everybody's different. Teach them skills to cope with the real world, and to be able to relate to all different types of people and understand them. I believe there IS hope, and I believe that our advanced communication systems, like TED, are helping with that process. What do you think? Can we do it?
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        Mar 16 2013: Even if we can't do it, at least we can try. Doing it would have a big impact on the world and how people think. It would be amazing if people could adopt the idea, and I have hope that it could happen.
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        Mar 16 2013: Great!
    • Mar 18 2013: I think that you're looking at it from the point of, "Well, it got us here, didn't it?" Just to be clear, how many wars have the states dealt with because of their bullying? How many people have died because of bullying your own people? And, for good measure, how many people died due to bullies like Hitler? In a way, he is a model for bullies. He was insecure, and so decided to destroy the people who were strange to him, or that he felt had wronged him, although he really just picked an enemy everyone could hate for the collapse of the German economy at the time. And he was, in fact, possibly part-Jewish. Slavery was around for thousands of years. It has been an integral part in the live of probably billions of people over history. But we decided that wasn't acceptable anymore, so why can't we do the same towards bullying?
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        Mar 18 2013: I think we CAN Wyatt! It is important to understand all the underlying dynamics of bullying, and you mention a very important one......insecurity.

        Bullying generally tries to project superiority, strength, control, etc. right? What a bully shows many of us who understand this, is that s/he is insecure and lacks confidence. If a person with bullying behavior could understand what exactly they are projecting, do you think bullying would continue? If enough people in our world understood this, do you think/feel maybe we could put a stop to at least some of the bullying?

        We have people right here on this thread who have said bullying is good for the victim....makes them learn how to be strong.....we are "over reacting" to bullying.....etc. These are some perceptions that continue to exist in our world. Whenever we can understand something from many different perspectives, it gives us an opportunity to change behaviors that are NOT good for people. I appreciate your participation in this conversation Wyatt.
    • Mar 18 2013: I'm glad I could provide you with a humorous question. Although... the underlying question here is, how can we as human beings evolve into a race that is more humane? Is that not something to hope for and work towards achieving?

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