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?

  • Mar 14 2013: in an idea adapted from the Amistad School in New Haven, CT, I have found that having the bully apologize in public, in the classroom perhaps, does a lot to curb the bully and their minions. Some parents say, That's shaming! I don't want my child to be shamed, but I respond, it is not shaming, it is requiring the child to take responsibility for their bad behavior and pursue a return to the community. Shaming is making someone feel bad about something they have no control over, Apologies are for bad behavior, which we do have control over.
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      Mar 14 2013: Hi Charlotte,
      I agree that having the person using bullying tactics face the victim and apologize in public does a lot to curb the bully's behavior. I also agree that it encourages the person to take responsibility for their behavior.

      This practice closely follows the "Real Justice" restorative practice model. When I volunteered with the dept. of corrections, we had programs, which required the offender to face the victim.....IF the victim agreed. The offender, who often incorporated bullying behaviors in their offense, were asked to apologize to the victim. Most of the offenders were also required to do community service, often something related to their offense when possible, and in some way pay restitution.

      These practices ask the person using bullying, offending behaviors to be accountable and responsible for their actions. If we could start these practices at a very young age, I believe it would discourage bullying behaviors.
  • Mar 15 2013: There needs to be more work to solve the problems. Everyone says it's a terrible thing but no one really does anything. Adults, especially teachers, simply ignore it. They really don't care about the students.
    Let me explain to you a little of my situation. For a long time, I've been bullied for being smart. It started in about grade four, where I was the outsider in our small school. Teachers would frequently see or hear it, yet there would be no consequences. I was fairly loud about the issues towards the staff, but the teachers would only ever say that I need to be myself and be happy, which is hard to do when you are being bullied. So I swapped schools the next year, and for a little while it was ok, until one of the bullies transferred too. He started the same thing over again, but this time there were a lot more people. Teachers were still ignoring the fact that it was happening, and when they heard it happening they would either ignore it or give a little laugh saying, "Good one." At that point people had really started learning how to use words like fag which were thrown around by students all the time, with teachers not caring whatsoever that these were ten and eleven year olds saying these things to one another. There was a bullying presentation once a year, and both times is would say essentially that victims need to talk rationally to bullies, which is impossible because they don't listen. In junior high I spent 2 1/2 hellish years being called gay, faggot and gaysian due to the fact that I look Asian, and any number of things. One student threatened to rip my face off after attacking me and he got a day and a half of in school suspension. Finally, it all cumulated when my "friends" held a legitimate vote and agreed that I was no longer allowed to hang out with them. I left the school, and the teachers smiled and said, "I'm sorry this happened," as I walked out the door. Someone needs to actually try to stop it, because it's not just a small issue.
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      Mar 16 2013: Great story. I hope things are better for you now.
      • Mar 16 2013: Sorry, I beg to differ.
        It's not a great story.
        It's awful...
        I don't think he wrote the story to appeal to our sympathy.

        I hope he can make a change as to preventing bullies around schools.

        Although he suffered from the experience, through the experience, he must have realized something about bullying. Only the ones who were or have been victims know what it is to be bullied. I appreciate his courage to talk about it and I believe he can really make a change as long as he tries to influence people with all his heart.
        • Mar 16 2013: I actually am doing online schooling right now, which I would highly recommend. Essentially, I'm given my entire year's worth of work and just do it at my own pace (which is considerably faster than in a classroom. I do one-on-one chats with my teachers, and get to work on whichever subjects I want to. If there are people being bullied that you know, tell them to look into this option, because changing schools within a town really means that the problems can follow you. If you do online schooling though, you can be done months ahead of everyone else.
          And I'm glad this happened to me because through it a lot of people realized that bullying is becoming a serious issue, and my town is a lot more observant to it. People are standing up to their bullies a little more, and parents are taking steps to fix issues.
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          Mar 16 2013: Dear Wyatt,
          I am so sorry for your experience. I agree with you that we need to stop these situations, because it is definetly NOT a small issue. Bullying can change a person's life, and we know that some teenagers have ended their lives because of bullying.

          You sound like a very insightful person, and I'm glad to hear that you have found a way to acheive your goals without being bullied. You can also be a GREAT help to others who faced, or continue to face bullying.

          Bullying has been going on throughout history in many different forms. It is time that as thinking, feeling, evolving humans, we put a stop to it.
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          Mar 16 2013: Hi Elizabeth!
          Do you think perhaps Trey meant "great story" in that it can help address the problem of bullying, and maybe help people understand?
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      • Mar 18 2013: It may have been solved, but times have changed like it or not, and there needs to be a new solution.
      • Mar 18 2013: In your own message up you said it was solved and forgotten. The dynamics of bullying are so dramatically different from even fifteen years ago. Then, you would have to say it in person, or over a phone. Now, Facebook and texting make it so incredibly easy to bully someone. You can message hate to someone hundreds of times, and make sure its private, or attack them in the open and allow everyone else to jump onto that bandwagon. The Internet has made the world anonymous, so you can insult people without any consequence at all. For example, if I go on YouTube, I can look up a video of someone's singing and tell them that they are ugly and stupid and they should go die, and the worst that could happen to me is my account gets banned. That other person, though, has to deal with what I said, and they can't contact me if I block them and make my account private. Then people get so used to the anonymous insults they throw out that they do the same to people they know. I mean, we're on a message board right now. Obviously communication methods have changed, and so have insulting methods. It's a whole new battle to fight.
        Also, that website is really just some random guy, who is nameless, faceless, and as far as I could see never once mentioned bullying. Please don't twist words from someone with zero provable credentials as though they are fact.
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      Mar 16 2013: Wyatt, as a teacher and mom I want to say that I am very sorry you went through that terrible ordeal.

      I hope you click on the link I provided in my comment earlier in the conversation, and watch the video presentation that is quite nice.

      I must say that I too have always dealt with bullies.

      First as a child....I was very shy....and I just got quieter and quieter after being bullied.
      Then, as an adult, I have encountered bullying in the workplace.
      Many times intelligent, efficient, hard working individuals are the target of bullying, both in the work place and in school. These individuals need to be helped in how to deal with bullies, while the bullies are also being dealt with by those in authority positions.

      It is a challenging situation both at school, and in the workplace.

      I think that you will also enjoy the previous conversations on bullying we have had on TED.
      You can search for them and read through the great comments.

      I know lots of families who homeschool their children for various reasons. Our state is great for homeschooling. Kids can even do dual enrollment and get college credits at the same time they homeschool.

      One thing lacking in your comment though, was your parent's reaction. Did they reach out to the powers that be in the school district? Because many times parents just don't know how powerful their voice is in the regional offices and at school board meetings. Those teachers at you previous schools should really be ashamed of themselves.

      I wish you much success in your life's journey. Enjoy your homeschool experience, you are fortunate to live in a time where technology can help you get a superior education. :)

      • Mar 18 2013: Absolutely, my parents contacted each school I went to about it. The teachers would either flat-out ignore them, pretend they would help, or in some cases actually say that they were investigating the incidents when they were flat-out ignoring them.

        In each of the schools I went to they would have a bullying presentation each year where they would say that you have to talk kindly and tell a teacher, but if a teacher knew they would simply ignore it. And, as everyone who has been bullied knows, bullies are some of least reasonable people on Earth.
    • Mar 18 2013: Thank you for sharing this story Wyatt.
  • Mar 13 2013: I agree that many TV shows represent unrealistic portrait of people making crude jokes of others.

    I think the answer is to provide young people with a better content. It's good to see that the Internet increasingly provides such avenue, including great TED speeches, websites and videos on this topic?

    It is also responsibility of parents and schools to ensure that kids know what bullying is about and how to prevent it.
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      • Mar 19 2013: Don can you be specific what am I denying? I wrote about what I think we can do to prevent bullying.

        The one thing I forgot and others mention is to also educate bullies since early ages because bullying happens even in 1st grade.
  • Mar 20 2013: I was principal of an elementary school for twenty years and we worked diligently to eliminate violence, bullying being one aspect and we were able to achieve what we wanted with few exceptions. This is a program that has to suffuse the entire school. We simply changed the value systems and the related behavior beginning in indergarten and had the parents support as well.

    We celebrated learning by havign parties for classes that attained a number of bonus points. Rituals are important in all societies...We celebrate many rites of passage in families. The classroom is akin to a family and the individuals members have to understand that their actions can help or hurt their classroom family. All of this is expained to the children. One teacher even had a "caught being kind" program where children reported back to her the actions of fellow students who had been kind to another during recess.

    If any class earned 100 points they had a party to celebrate and reward their success. We gave points for acts of kindness as well as student success in all school procedures including most situations that contributed to a calm and positive environment. Goodness was extolled.

    However, as every good teacher knows, in additon to recognition and rewards changinh behavior and eliminating disruptions requires consequences. Bonus points were taken away for disruptive behavior when a student misbehaved and took away the rights of the other students to have an education including bullying. The values of the studnets changed and they no longer encouraged or regarded the bully with awe. Students discouraged and disapproved fo negative behaviors. This disapproval combined with the taking away of points was extremely effective. Fear a nd bullying were no longer a part of our school. Children clearly understood the behaviors that were rewarded and those that had consequences. If there was violence, we had a shredding. All bonus points were destroye
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      Mar 20 2013: I LOVE the story about your experience Lorraine, and your reference to the classroom being the extended family.

      I also LOVE the idea of focusing on kindness and the GOOD things kids are doing in their classroom family. What we focus on expands! We discovered similar results with the incarcerated guys in "cognitive self change" sessions. We encouraged practicing more kind, respectful behaviors, and praised them for those behaviors often. They began to perceive that kind and respectful behaviors got a different kind of attention, which was more enjoyable AND, they didn't get sent to solitary as often! They started consciously thinking about their words and behaviors and how it impacted their lives. Prior to that, they focused on the idea that it was someone elses fault that they were in jail....someone elses fault that they were sent to solitary....etc.

      Kudos to you Lorraine! If this idea is possible in some places, which I firmly believe it is, it is possible throughout our global community......I LOVE IT!!!
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    Mar 18 2013: It's all about power and control. Dealing with the effects of bullying is not as conducive as dealing with the cause. Unfortunately, it's all down to 'mindset', the childhood, the experiences, the conditioning and the environment. Until we have leaders that lead by example, aspirations that are achievable for children and a mindset that supports this, bullying can only (in my opinion) be tackled through the mindset of the victim. Power struggles in the home, in the playground, the boardroom and even the bedroom, I reckon in a thousand years, historians will remark on our society as still in it's infancy.
  • Mar 17 2013: The modern epidemic of bullying may be an effect of a continually growing inequality in socioeconomic situations combined with the glamorization of silly, abhorrent, and destructive lifestyles. Social media allows a more brazen crowd sourced bullying behavior to occur. The answer is for us all to be gentle, kind and understanding first to ourselves and then to all others. We must celebrate our diversity and our commonalities. We must echo again and again that we are all the same and really want the same things most of the time. We must teach our children and hope that they will teach theirs to do likewise
  • Mar 15 2013: Two answers:
    1) Empathy - we naturally have the ability to understand and empathize, but presumably that ability can be enhanced via training. Teaching children to detect emotions in others and to mentally put themselves in other peoples shoes might help. Also since empathy is caused by biological trait we can theoretically induce it. (In the 2005 movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy they have a Point-of-view gun that makes the target see your point of view)

    2) Group dependence - we naturally identify with a group and that increases our positive feelings to our group and our negative feelings towards other groups. Create groupings where children don't get to choose the groupings and then have them accomplish tasks where they rely on each other. ( I saw this in Spartacus: Vengeance where Spartacus teams up people who hate each other to work together in a fighting competition!)

    I have found that a strong understanding of scifi and gladiator films and series can answer most of life's questions.
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      Mar 16 2013: William, I have to say, your comment is very interesting, and informative. Thank you.
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      Mar 16 2013: I agree William...empathy and compassion can be encouraged and learned. I believe it is natural, and sometimes suppressed because of challenging life experiences of some people as children.

      I also agree that we naturally identify with a group. So if we, as a "group" of caring people in our communities, encourage respect and kindness toward each other, we may gradually change the sometimes accepted bullying behaviors:>)

      I smile at your reference to a "point of view gun", and an understanding of scifi "stuff". Way back when my son was a teenager, he was involved in many school activities, and he would often pop into the home with just enough time to eat dinner before the next activity. Usually, it would be at the same time as Star trek was on TV, which he loved. I realized that if I wanted to spend time with him, it would be necessary to sit with him during the program. It was GREAT, there were LOTS of good lessons, which we could talk about, and the fact that we were sharing something was good too! Thanks for that reminder William, and your insightful contribution to this discussion:>)
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    Mar 20 2013: TV shows do not portray reality, no matter what it is being shown.

    If children grow through their formative years watching these rubbish shows with their parents, the message will get through to them that this is how to behave in real life (because it has been effectively endorsed by the parents, who are also fully engaged with it). Invariably that leads to bullying behaviour, especially when the child's peer group quite possibly have also watched the same shows.

    The social engineering of children's behaviour through TV is one of the very worst crimes of modern society in my view, because it has no boundaries - the sort of boundaries that parents should be establishing in their own children by close, loving interaction and leading by example. That is the only reality children need to know.

    The answer lies in the sort of parental engagement that respects the child's autonomy and his/her ability to create intense and valuable learning through making their own mistakes and creating their own successes.

    Jared Diamond has some great things to say about this, comparing behaviours of western children with those of traditional societies, and how much we can learn from them:

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      Mar 20 2013: Well said Allan, and I agree......some of the TV programs and video games "normalize" abusive, bullying you insightfully say....especially when peers and parents may be behaving in the same way.
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        Mar 20 2013: Hi Colleen - thanks!

        I tried to edit in some good Jared Diamond links, but I don't think they're going to show up!
  • Mar 18 2013: Our laws, bosses,lawyers, judges and police and even teachers, use many forms of bullying. Congress is loaded with bullying and our president has a bully pulpit. When the people we must answer too are bullies, there will be no stopping it. All these entities are not held accountable and yet, children are held accountable. Our society is sickened from the top down.
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      • Mar 19 2013: That two understand is a start, perhaps we are not alone. Thank you.
  • Mar 18 2013: This is geared toward the social media aspect of bullying.

    I think that the social media aspect plays a huge part. Cyber bullying takes bullying to a whole new level from what I have read. When I was in school there were always bullies where it was typically limited in the classroom and schoolyard. Now there is the social networks where bullying can be relentless and nonstop.

    If there is one thing I could recommend it would be a social media bully switch, where if a kid is found to be bullying a classmate through facebook, the bully's account can be permanently shutdown. I don't think that we can ever stomp out bullying altogether but at least the threat of total disconnect for social networking could at least deter online bullying. Facebook is pretty important to kids so it could be a "social grounding" of sorts.
    • Mar 18 2013: I like the idea of a "bully switch" on facebook, although I'm not sure if Mark Zuckerberg would be. I do agree that cyber bullying brings bullying to a different level and can increase the severity of bullying within real life.
  • Mar 17 2013: When my son was attending elementary school in Colorado, the principal made a new rule that any occurrence of bullying would subject the perpetrator to immediate expulsion. His intention was to get the parents and children's attention. I was very pleased that this occurred because the bullying was so bad even in the first grade that we took my son to boxing lessons to give him some confidence.

    You mention television shows that portray hateful behavior, you forgot Mean Girls, all of the Housewives shows and Bridezilla to mention a few. I am appalled at the way women are not only allowing but encouraging portrayal of women as foul mouthed, brutal, bullying bitches.
    • Mar 17 2013: Connie,

      I must agree and try to pin point when changes in relationships
      between the sexes first appeared. I think it was in that loose time.
      The mid-1960's, right after the Watts riots, when our youths were
      embracing the drug culture, personal freedoms, a disdain of the
      job ethic.

      Police were referred to as "pigs". Young girls, high on drugs,
      often paid for them with their bodies, and were referred to as "bitches".

      Chivalry had lasted from Queen Victoria's time, until the Watts riots.
      Sadly, for myself, I was starry-eyed, and loved those days of yore.
      Remember that Hollywood is the present day Sodom.
      Hollywood works for one thing only. Money.
      Hollywood, along with TV, Radio, and Newspapers, work for the
      monies paid from their sensational productions, and 24/7/365,
      from the coffers of our nation's 2 Political Parties.

      When your being blasted night and day by their trumpery,
      and you haven't a lick of sense, the "bitch-word" sounds okay.
      Something I would recommend --
      5 years ago,
      I turned off my TV, unable to stomach another commercial message.

      I've never missed it. Not one day.
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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?
  • Mar 15 2013: Help children to know how to negotiate. how to talk their way out of situation.

    there have been bullies and they will be bullies (same counts for wars) ... this is about showing off power, demanding respect, being in control. we all know, that strong people controls weak ones. (doesn't matter if it is economical or physical strength)

    once it was said: Be strong to control!
    the opposite was: Be smart to make peace!

    Helping children to understand that there is always a third side of any human interaction they will concentrate they attention to find a resolution. helping children to understand there is another way of communication, which is communication through your needs and understanding (meanwhile expressing) others' needs.

    at school, there should be 3 subjects taught without any excuse of age; NEGOTIATION, NON VIOLENT COMMUNICATION and LEADERSHIP
    they have to know the principles of ART OF WAR, they have to be fully aware of their feelings and needs.

    I personally don't do anything with bullies... I helps others to become bullies best friend.

    about TV and "Reality" shows :
    the first thing: The TV-set is created for these people who don't want to think.
    the second one: The "Reality" shows is created by these people who want to keep others in front of TV.
    (now it's been over 6 or 7 years I don't watch TV - neither got one)
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      • Mar 17 2013: Hi Don

        There is always time. Time is given to us for free, and it is up to us how we use it... the question is whether we use it for us or against us?

        if one side use it to demand respect by using physical force from the other side then it could be used to make peace or bring to others awareness of their own feelings and needs.

        when Steven Spielberg's life was horrorized by a bully, he was running away from school. but one day, he himself approached to this bully and asking him if he would be interested in acting one of his home movie about war and offered him to be the hero. and since then they became a best friends.

        stories and story telling got power. this story is an example. instead of facing bully, but finding a way to walk with bully. Who fight when we walk? when we walk, we walk side by side towards a common direction. but when we stand face to face no matter what there would rise a tension.

        young students have got creativity, but not deep thinking, you have to give them the keys and help them (how to use it) to go deep in their thoughts and find solutions.

        the bully in the class of LEADERSHIP would lean how to get respect.
        he may become aware that respect should be earned and not demanded / commanded.

        Machiavelli asks a question in Prince ... should a prince be loved or feared?
        We can ask our students: Would you like to be loved or feared?
        and help then to choose an answer that makes everyone happy.
      • Mar 18 2013: Hi Don,

        Thanks for letting me know what i haven't done. I think we were discussing How-to stop bulling at school. and my approach was more practical education but all those things need time and they can only be solved in time.

        all I know about today's education system is that they are wasting TIME. no teacher is motivated enough to carry their job in a more productive way. no student is motivated enough to keep on studying. (hardly a few)

        TIME: Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back.

        you want to know what's funny, Don? the Government invest in helping victims, (lost money and time) but they never invest in educating abuser... (this counts for domestic violence - they are free phone number for victims, there are many services provided to help victims... but there is nothing for abuser but cell - yet the tax payers pay to keep them there) - and this is not funny at all.

        can I ask you what makes you think that I should / would like the lawyer who is losing?

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          Mar 19 2013: Dear Edwin,
          You've said quite a lot that is important to this topic, which according to the facilitator, clearly includes students and education.

          Don brought up the issue of time in his comment....

          "Don Wesley
          3 days ago: The bully doesn't give you time to negotiate."

          You have addressed Don's concern about time very effectively Edwin, as well as other topic issues, and I do not perceive you as "losing". In my perception, TED conversations are about sharing ideas, not about winning and losing. I perceive you to be insightfully addressing several different aspects of "bullying". I imagine that as an educator, you have seen, and know about bullying, and I respect your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the topic question.....thanks:>)
      • Mar 19 2013: Dear Don

        I am sorry if in some way I made myself unclear and discussed other things out of this conversation.
        It may be because I don't watch TV and I don't know what's all about the 'reality' shows.

        I don't know who has to be help accountable for our youth's education but I know that teachers / education system play a great role. In education system we can't change anything. It works. But it doesn't work well for this era. We should not only update it by technology, but also teaching them more practical stuff before we bore then with theoretical stuff. Because not always those theories work in real life. Bully abuse it's victim practically not theoretically and to solve this problem we need practically approach.

        A few weeks ago I suggested a young student to read Dale Crnegie ... She came back to me and said: "my teachers told me that his writings were practical, it is not necessary as we learn theories"
        Well, it shocked me, I was speechless.
        Imagine every bully could read "How to win friends and influence people" and " Lincoln the unknown" would that help them in certain ways? You bet!

        Could you please remind me what we are winning and/ or losing on TED? Is there a game ?

        Thank you, Don.
        It is always a pleasure to read your comments.
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      Mar 16 2013: Edwin,
      I agree that classes in mediation, problem solving, negotiation, non violent communication, and leadership would be great additions to our schools. I also agree that it helps when people are aware and mindful of feelings.....starting with their own thoughts and feelings.

      That is why these programs would be helpful in our schools. It gives those with bullying behaviors the opportunity to learn something different.
  • Mar 14 2013: Perhaps requiring the entire families of the bullies to attend some kind of counseling might decrease bullying behavior. Bullies are created in their homes. If the parents who create the bullies have to pay some kind of price or face the consequences of their parenting behavior, maybe that would have an impact. Bullies may be emulating parental behavior toward them. Since they are powerless to deal openly and honestly with the parent who bullies them for fear of loss of basic support (food, housing, clothing) and more physical and emotional abuse, they pass the hurtful behavior on to others. Let's stop the bullying behavior where it starts.
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      Mar 16 2013: Rhona,
      That is an excellent idea, which we incorporated into the "Real Justice" or "Restorative Justice" practices I participated in. As often as possible, the families of offenders were asked to attend the meetings. You are absolutely right...bullies are often taught to be bullies in the home. If the parents are aware of their own behaviors, it might help the whole family dynamic!

      I once mediated with a family.....three incarcerated felons.....mother, father and son......very interesting experience!!! I'd like to see mediation happen WAY BEFORE that level!!!
      • Mar 17 2013: Colleen, Obviously we are working together and succeeding in making life a more positive experience for our contemporaries and futurity. May the rest of humanity jump on board and accelerate the progress so all human beings can live healthy, loving, happy lives starting within the next 24 hours. There is no reason for patience in these matters that are perfectly clear. Society has to switch paradigms from fear and anger based systems to love and joy based systems. I am glad we are both positive, powerful and effective people. We may as well continue doing and saying all the positive things we say and do. HAPPY TODAY.
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          Mar 17 2013: I agree Rhona, ALL of society has to switch paradigms....the sooner.....the better:>)
          HAPPY TODAY RHONA:>)
      • Mar 17 2013: Thanks. Perhaps "patience" is over-rated. It certainly is when it comes to justice, truth, happiness, health and stuff like that. WAKE UP, WORLD. We can do this quickly....transform life on earth from suffering to joy. Simple formula: POSITIVE everything, anything, always. It works. Just do it. Thanks, Colleen.
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          Mar 17 2013: That's the important piece Rhona.....let's just do it!

          "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice. As a matter of fact, we only know as much as we can prove by actual demonstration".
          (Ernest Holmes - The Science of Mind)

          I know you know this....thanks Rhona:>)
      • Mar 17 2013: I reached the maximum number of thumbs up I can give you for now. That's okay. We shall continue doing what we do. We shall continue succeeding. We are accelerating progress toward all of our positive goals. Joyous RIGHT NOW!
  • Mar 14 2013: I saw this on the news in the UK this morning about how a pro boxer handles a series of abusive Tweets.

    The abuser came on national TV and said sorry.

    I think its a great story of how to handle cyber bullies in particular.

    Bullies will always backdown when confronted.
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    Mar 14 2013: It steams from their childhood up raising, it a power or control thing.
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    Mar 14 2013: .

    Then click on the various categories - schools, prisons, homeless shelters, etc. Each of them have a series of short videos, the first one in school addresses this directly where it pertains to bullying/violence in schools.
    • Mar 15 2013: Thanks... I've shared this link with several of my colleagues and plan to utilize it more often. I appreciate the help!
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    Mar 13 2013: I have not watched these shows. Are you saying that kids also watch them and that they glamorize bullying?

    Many schools take bullying extremely seriously. Many states have laws that schools must have anti-bullying programs and that all staff must be trained to work with kids on this subject.

    When I taught middle school, the entire staff was charged with leading regular sessions with a small class of students, using a curriculum that was adopted for the purpose. The idea was to establish a sense of connection and mutual responsibility among students, to identify where bullying was most prevalent at school and the content of the bullying, to talk about and role play effective responses to bullies, whether one is the target or a bystander, and so forth.

    I don't know what the effect is of these programs, because they tend to increase reporting of bullying. So if there is no change in reports of bullying, it could mean there is no effect, or it could mean there is a reduction in actual bullying that is obscured by an increase in reporting.

    There is likely research on this point.

    Another focus of teacher training was for teachers to understand the urgency of their vigilance. Teachers were required to monitor hallways during passing periods and to intervene.
    • Mar 14 2013: Most bullying is likely to take place outside of the space where teachers can observe that negative behavior.
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        Mar 14 2013: You might be surprised. One thing we had students do one year that I did this with an eighth grade cohort was make a map of where the greatest concentrations of bullying were at school. One of the places of greatest concentration was the classroom of one of my (always oblivious) colleagues.

        Another common place that can be supervised is locker rooms before and after gym class.
        • Mar 15 2013: Interesting. I would guess the gym locker rooms because no teacher present, but not the classrooms.
    • Mar 15 2013: I will discuss the idea of a map with my colleagues... that's a very interesting idea. There are laws that enforce schools to have various programs to help reduce the incidents of bullying behaviors; the issue comes into play with how they are implemented within the school. How can we remove the opinions of what is and what isn't a bullying behavior?

      What I think is a bullying behavior, you or the person standing next to might think is "kids being kids." How can we standardize the identification of bullying behaviors to help ensure that we are all identifying these behaviors equally and accurately?

      Thanks for the conversation that this has started! It has some very interesting suggestions and points.
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        Mar 15 2013: There is no algorithm. By being vigilant one can pick up cues in the behavior of the two people as to whether one sees discomfort, fear, or manifestation of a power differential. A teacher often has other information about power differentials from seeing kids interact at school.
  • Mar 20 2013: well said Don, yet teaching ones focus to a heartbeat is something that gives you aliveness, understand this is a connection we all share regardless of thought or stance of what it is. Thank you my friend for your comment. Namaste, Lee
  • Mar 20 2013: first we need our teachers to not be bullys!! my son used to attend parkway high in bossier la and one of his male teachers decided to mock my sons stutter in front of whole class. had a student done this he would have been reprimanded and i talk to assist principal then counselor then principal then school board with several calls to each and they told me they would have teacher apologize in counselors office in private well the next day my son comes home and is upset and when i finally coax it out of him he said teacher apologized in front of whole class which in turn brought attention to sons stutter again in front of peers. i cant understand how any teacher could not understand what this does to a teen in highschool. especially when parkway had just in the last two yrs had a wonderful young girl commit suicide due to bullying at school
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      Mar 20 2013: Hi Stephanie,
      So sorry about that experience. I also cannot imagine why people don't understand how bullying impacts people....especially young people. We have folks right here in this discussion who say it's been going on forever....can't change it.....what's the problem....etc. etc. etc.!

      It's a HORRIBLE experience for a child! My son was bullied, and it often happened at school, in the locker room and on the bus going and coming from athletic events. One day he came home with a beaten up face, and you could see on his face, the cleat marks from a soccar shoe! As a young adult, he had reconstructive surgery to repair damage done by bullying. When I talked with the athletic director, he simply laughed and said..."boys will be boys", and for him, that was the end of the discussion. It has been many, many years since my son was in school, and it appears that things have not significantly changed.
    • Mar 20 2013: My mother made my dad leave, because his loud and abusive voice started making me stutter and kept making it worse. Once he left, it took my mom about a month to get me to stop stuttering.
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        Mar 20 2013: I am sorry Jim. The ramifications of abuse/bullying are very far reaching, and impact way too many people's lives.
        • Mar 20 2013: Then why do you even bother speaking to this subject?
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        Mar 20 2013: Jim,
        I have been speaking on this subject for many years, and the reason I began addressing it, is because I experienced abuse and bullying as a child by my father. As a child, I felt that it was not ok to treat other human beings in a way that disempowered them. As an adult, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a woman/childrens shelter, family center, volunteered with the dept. of corrections, facilitating and co-facilitating several programs, guest lectured at the univ. on the topic of violence and abuse, and facilitated discussion groups. In between times, I studied and researched human behavior, with focus on violence and abuse.

        Awareness is the first step in changing anything, so that is why I "bother speaking to this subject". I sincerely hope I can contribute to awareness. Thanks for asking:>)
        • Mar 20 2013: To help others is to help to heal oneself as surely you must have experienced, depending on the level of trauma by any. Glad to hear you are helping others.
          As you learned, everything is dependent on those that supposedly lead us.

          Have a wonderful day Colleen!
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        Mar 20 2013: Yes Jim....absolutely! To contribute positively to the journey of others, helps us learn, grow and heal, thereby positively contributing to our own journey and life experience. Of course the alternative is true as well. If one is a bully, s/he is simply showing us what is in his/her heart.
        Thank you so much for your kind is very much appreciated.

        You have a wonderful day too my friend.....thanks:>)
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      Mar 20 2013: Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks for the feedback. The word/concept of "leveling" is another tool we can use to understand bullying from different perspectives, which you insightfully recognize:>)

      I believe that self discovery CAN be enjoyable....knowledge is power, and when we have information about behaviors, we can change them. If one does not have the information, s/he often gets stuck in his/her own story, which doesn't take us very far, as I'm sure you know:>)

      I agree that many theories (tools) are found in books and therapy sessions, and it takes practical application of the information to actually change things. Did you read Lorraine's comment? I will say again I LOVE IT!!!

      I have seen your ideas, which challenge self perception Carolyn, and I appreciate your contributions here on TED.....very insightful. They DO indeed challenge and inspire anyone to reconsider what "they think they know".

      Totally agree...waiting for something to go wrong, focusing on what is "wrong", rather than what is going well, and blaming, seems to be the practice of some people...unfortunately.
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    Mar 19 2013: The easyest way i see now is to have a ranking system of all media in the world based on people votes so a tv show or internet page and any comment will be accepted in Internet by voting on. This tool should be the decision for any information to go public in Internet and make it available based on age and interests. Mature people that can not be affected by the wrong information should mark it and rank it and label it. Is not a hard process to do this and can help to protect informationaly any group comunity and a free choise of that comunity to use it or not. I started to work on this kind of tool to protect kids on a highschool but I need cooperation from other people too. Is a big brother tool only if your age is unproper and can be used free of choise not imposed by someone or any law and should be clearly explained the reason to use it or not to that comunity. Debates should be freely available without restrictions if the debate is not about persons but about matters affecting others.
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    Mar 19 2013: bullying has been going on forever.the differences now is that it does not need a "face" and it can go "world wide" in a nano- second. Pay attention to your child, listen and watch. you'll know if they are victim or the perpetrator. TAKE ACTION, now!
  • Mar 18 2013: Don,
    You are right.
    A frustrated, angry Bully sees only what he wants, and never the other side's view.
    This can be on a school ground, a computer social blogger, or even a government.
    The US government is the best example of a Bully that I can imagine.
    All governments use bulling tactics to control their populations within their geographical locals.

    I tool with stoic logic every day as I handicap my horse races. It works well.
    I could not replace stoic logic with intuition.
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      • Mar 19 2013: Thank you Don,
        It doesn't matter the topic we respond to with our comments.
        Most of us seem to express the same ill feelings towards governments.
        So there must be some truth to it.

        Our government is the biggest bully of them all.

        Governments are all about control of geographical areas.
        No government allows the people who reside in the controlled areas
        to flourish without tithing.

        Watch "any old movie" showing how Bullies act as leaders of governments.
        Emperors, Kings, Chancellors, Popes, Führers. Dictators, Presidents,
        Senators, Governors, Generals, Ship Captains, etc. Every one a Bully.

        The bullying of tax collectors, shanghaiing of sailors, jailing of dissidents,
        the list goes on and on.

        I have to stop here, I really get carried away.
        Sorry if I have been bullying you... lol
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    Mar 18 2013: This is a topic that should be addressed. Nice one Michael !

    One of the key problems is a that, in numerous cases, a bully does not always realise that they are bullying, or in the point I'm trying to make, the normal everyday person/child does not realise when they are bullying. A large proportion of bullying is done because of the "bully" is unaware of the harm they cause, rather than being malicious with intent.

    This, with regards to your proposal, could be linked. Perhaps people see what is acceptable on TV (a view of society in a box).
  • Mar 17 2013: Everything moves from the top Dow. Look at congress and know why bullying will never stop.
    • Mar 17 2013: If you put Congress at the "top" of the pile, then No, you will never stop bullying ... As an Atheist I'm loath to recommend Christianity, but in this they have the right idea.
      • Mar 17 2013: If your mom and dad cuss, but they tell you not to, what do ya think the child will do?
  • Mar 17 2013: I always taught my children, the boys, to take the bully by the hand,
    and hit him with his fist, square on the nose, six times without stopping.
    Never run.
    And, if the bully kept bothering him, to then tell me.
    And, I would take the bully to his father, or mother.
    And, I promised my son, I would make the bully stop.

    My first son, did exactly as instructed.
    I watched him do so.
    Unnoticed from my second story window.
    Problem solved.

    My other children never experienced a bully.
    They merely told the bully what would happen.
    Bully's are not dumb. Just bullys.
    Now something about the changes in our society since the 1960's.
    When corporal punishment was lost to adults, because of misuse.
    The reasons for the changes in law were valid. Adults injuring children.
    However children quickly understood that adults were being restricted by law.
    Those children ran wild, using their legal protections to get their way.

    Adults, parents and teachers, gave way.
    It took many years for both the adults and children to adapt.

    The timing of the emerging drug culture back then was unfortunate.
    So, our culture was set back 50 years.

    Actually, corporal punishment works well when used properly.
    Time-outs seem inadequate. But then, I am old-school.
    A rap on the knuckles to pay attention.
    A boot in the butt to move along to class.
    A switching between the knee and ankle by Grandma.
    (You've got to be old as dirt to remember. Like she was.)
    A spanking on the butt for jumping on the bed.
    The threat to be sent to the Principal's Office.
    (He had a spanking-paddle with holes, hanging on the wall.)
    They all worked.

    They call that time, "the good ole days".
  • Mar 16 2013: We are all victims and perpetrators of bullying. It exists on a scale of severity and it is practiced on a daily basis. Physical bullying is what we focus on because it is most obvious in its manifestation. It is easy for our minds to kick around as a problem-solution set. We think we can solve it. ALL bullying, whether it is individual or collective, is an EGOIC PROJECTION. This is the ego either building or reinforcing its walls. One of the reasons we suffer as a society on this issue is that we have misperceived ourselves as MUCH MORE separate from one another than what actually is the reality. We are very connected. Take a bully.....She wakes up in the morning. A parent berates/threatens/bullies her before school. The Ego is diminished. Ego suffers. To bounce back, the Ego rebuilds and reinforces its own walls by diminishing the walls of another (consider this a rule of the game we play). She then bullies on her own thereby reinforcing her own walls and providing a temporary feeling of greater wholeness. The one she bullies is left to transfer the BullyJuice either to someone else or turn it upon themselves as self-hatred. Bullying is NOT a single event nor is it a series of separated events. It is a FLOW that moves through the world in which we live. SO, what must be done to interrupt the BullyFlow? This is our ego talking. The one that says "we can do something to interrupt the flow....some policy....some central education plan." See, We as a a a networked NOT understand Bullying. When a society UNDERSTANDS.......truly, deeply understands a problem such as BULLYING.......the question of HOW to solve the problem disappears.......Meaningful and long-lasting solutions ALWAYS EMERGE from true understanding. We do not seek Deep understanding because the investigation ultimately leads us back to a Self Inquiry....True Self Inquiry.... The Ego doth not like that. :-)....good topic Michael
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      Mar 16 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Scott, with your very well stated comment.

      Bullying is a projection, which reinforces the perception of seperateness. When we realize that we are all connected, we also realize that in hurting others, we are harming ourselves as well. Interesting description of the "BullyFlow".....I totally agree!
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        Mar 17 2013: Don,
        Could you please post the "social studies" to substantiate your claim that Scott is wrong? Thanks.
    • Mar 18 2013: I would go one step further and say that some people are just black holes or possibly vampiric, taking down the other people's walls just because that's their personality or because they like to. And some people will bash a few bricks off the top of the wall, or maybe dent a brick but nothing permanent. And sometimes people smash a giant hole in the bottom of the wall and cause the whole thing to collapse.
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    Mar 16 2013: Children that got enough attention (attention, not money) from their parents and spent enough time with them, never bully others.
    it's that kids that because no one pays attention to them, make a scene and try to get attention of others, even the one that they beat up.
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      Mar 16 2013: To some extent I agree Farokh.....IF......the time spent with parents is respectful, kind and loving, and I think that is probably what you mean? Sometimes, time spent with a bullying parent, can teach and reinforce that kind of behavior.

      I agree that those who practice bullying behaviors are often trying to get attention. They often lack confidence in themselves, and creating fear in others is sometimes a way to get attention, and feel like they are "in control" of something.
      • Mar 16 2013: Hi Colleen…!! :)


        I've seen a few.

        Those girls were "book-smarts" , but also "street-smarts".
        Not only were those bullying students popular, but also they were really clever.

        It's still a mystery to me that they tried so hard to be the center of attention and bully weak students(who were smart, but not really sociable.).

        It seemed to me they had enough..! They didn't seem to lack anything..

        Perhaps, they did bully the weak because of their miserable childhood memories or something like that, but still, some of them didn’t seem to have any terrible experience…

        I think the core of this problem is not just about an individual wanting to get attention from others, but socially common phenomenon whether we'd like to accept that or not.

        There's always a queen bee in any groups especially in schools.

        People unconsciously want to or are forced to follow the queen's lead.

        But the bullying issue is surely something more.....
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          Mar 16 2013: Hi Elizabeth!
          You say..."they didn't seem to lack anything". That is the persona a bullying person is trying to project....don't you think? They are trying to project the idea that they are more superior? More clever? Smarter? Stronger? Etc.? It may provide a feeling of control.

          You say..."some of them didn’t seem to have any terrible experience…"

          We never know Elizabeth, what battles a person is facing. Some of the toughest bullies I've seen, are the men who are incarcerated. They often have a persona of being tough, when the fact is, that many of them were emotionally, physically, sexually abused from the time they were children. One guy....the toughest looking and acting one I encountered, had been sexually assaulted by family members since he was 2 years old. As a person co-facilitating sessions within the facility, I had access to the offender's files. Almost all of them had been molested as children. There are some very wounded people in our world, and bullying, including all forms of bullying, is one reason for all the wounding.

          You're right Elizabeth....the core is not just about wanting attention. A big part of the underlying core is a protective mechanism. The thought might be....nobody is ever going to hurt them again.....they will have control by creating fear in others.
      • Mar 17 2013: Yeah, I see what you mean Colleen..

        By no means I should judge them by their appearances or their attitudes.
        No one knows what they've been through.

        Some get aggressive when challenged, others become timid.

        The former could be the bullying and the latter could be the bullied.

        Do you think it's also about their personalities and the way they deal with difficult situations or horrible memories?
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          Mar 17 2013: Good question Elizabeth,
          I believe there are many factors which influence how a person deals with bullying. We have seen people who went through horrible experiences as a child, and go on to live a healthy, productive life. We see other people who maybe experienced the same, or similar things, and they have difficulty for the rest of their lives. We have some ideas about the manifestations of bullying for the bully and the victim, and as you know all people are different. Excellent question to ask....difficult question to answer.
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        Mar 17 2013: Yeah that's exactly what I meant . Tnx
  • Mar 15 2013: Thanks to everyone who has replied, read and helped to carry on this conversation. There are a variety of cultures within this thread that help to bring interesting and different perspectives from around the world. This being my first ted conversation, I was a little nervous to start, but am happy with all of the responses.

    I have a deep appreciation for the helpful links and suggestions that have been made as well as the debate of opposing sides. The idea, however, that we can curb bullying behavior by educating the receivers of these behaviors to "stand up for themselves" is somewhat harsh and irrational. Here's why:
    1. It blames the victim. You are being picked on because you're weak. It essentially bullies the victim to become stronger.
    2. What if that's not who they are. What if they are a quiet, timid person that doesn't do well with confrontation and would prefer to be left alone? Are we supposed to ask these people to completely change their own personality without having any expectations of the person who is presenting with the bullying behaviors?
    3. How can we reduce these behaviors if we are not able to equally and effectively identify these behaviors when we see them without our own error setting in (what I think is a bullying behavior, you may not).

    I continue to believe that this is an issue that we must address from both sides, those that present with behaviors and those that receive these behaviors. In schools the students are told to report these behaviors when they happen... what happens when they go unheard or nothing is done to address the issue? How can we increase our own vigilance to help make schools a safer place, so that our students are growing up and helping us "adults" to make the entire world a safer place?

    Again, thanks to everyone for the great conversation. I greatly appreciate it!
  • Mar 14 2013: There is only one serious way to address bullying and that is a fundamental reform of education to include social development foundations, imperatives and integrated working models which result a balance or competition and cooperation. As long as western education is predicated solely on competition and is almost 100% neglectful of social development i.e. the manners in which students understand and transact authority and facilitate their hidden academic potentials into assets and socio-political capital, social defaults will remain as they are with much of the younger generation only achieving a veneer of civilization while acting out animal territorialism and dominance and submission behind authority's back.
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      Mar 14 2013: You know ZX, while I had trouble reading the first part of your comment, your second half made it all come together.

      I agree too that training kids extensively to stand up for themselves can really help.

      Do you know of any online or off line programs that educates individuals who are the victims of bullies (children and adults alike)?
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      Mar 14 2013: ZX Style,
      I agree that empowerment is one way to help stop bullying, and the bully needs to be genuinely empowered as well. We do not stop bullying simply by educating the victims. We also need to educate the bullies, who generally lack self esteem and confidence. When a person is genuinely empowered, s/he has no reason to bully others. A bully, is simply showing us that s/he lacks self esteem, confidence and genuine empowerment. I do not agree with your idea that we "must not stop the bullying".
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          Mar 14 2013: ZX Style,
          It depends on what you mean by "helping". Educating the bully regarding the underlying elements of bullying may help....don't you think?

          There is a difference between playfully bantering with friends and bullying to the point of hurting someone emotionally.

          I agree....bullying is not genuinely empowering. In fact, one of the underlying intentions with bullies, is in creating fear in another person, and it is often used as a protective mechanism to keep people away from them. Sometimes, if the bully understands this concept, it may change the behavior. I learned this while co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions with men who were incarcerated.

          The key is educating all people regarding this question.
      • Mar 15 2013: I have to say that, although I understand your perspective, I'm not quite sure that it would work. You are only educating one side of the issue. I do strongly believe that we can stop bullying behaviors. In the end... that's what they are: behaviors. With education on both sides of the spectrum we can help to curb these behaviors and help increase every person's level of confidence.
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          Mar 16 2013: Michael,
          Where did you get the idea that I would like to only educate one side of the issue? I clearly write..."The key is educating all people regarding this question"...."We do not stop bullying simply by educating the victims. We also need to educate the bullies, who generally lack self esteem and confidence".

          I agree bullying is a behavior, and I wholeheartedly believe these behaviors can change.
      • Mar 18 2013: My apologies Colleen. As this is the first I've done, I am still trying to figure out certain things. For example... I am not able to reply directly to the comment you posted on my reply (I'm not quite sure why). My response was to the initial post by ZX Style.

        I agree with most of what you have posted and thank you for being such an involved member of this conversation. I will start, as I've seen you already do; addressing the person who has made the comment that I am replying to, so that there isn't any confusion in the future. Again, my apologies.
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          Mar 18 2013: That's ok Michael....thanks for letting me know:>)

          You cannot comment directly to my comment because it is a 3rd level comment. See the 3 little arrows in the upper left corner of the comment....and there is no "reply" in the upper right corner? So, you figured it out and went above that.....good job:>)

 helps to put a name on comments indicating who you are responding to, so if the sequence gets mixed up, which it sometimes does, we may have a clue who the response is for.....looks like you figured that out too:>)

          Again...thanks for letting me know:>)
    • Mar 16 2013: yeah, bullying is not a throughgoing bad phenomenon. it can be regarded as an natural selection, where the weak get to learn how to defend them verbally. Without bullying, the weak will always be the weak and has no access to aquire the skill of defend them in mouth rather tham hand.
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        Mar 16 2013: Zeng,
        The weak do not always learn from being bullied. Are you aware of how many teenagers have ended their lives because of being bullied?
        • Mar 16 2013: But, is it a good choice that let the weak lacks the ability to protect themselves verbally? it is similar that kids are urged to study hard in their youth in order to be more excellent in the future. Can we say it wrong to urge kids study hard because they dislike studying?
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        Mar 16 2013: No Zeng, I do not see it as "wrong" to encourage kids to study. There is a difference between studying and bullying.

        One reason some people are bullied, is because the one who bullies can perceive those who are less stong in themselves. Both the bully and the victim in bullying situations lack self esteem and confidence.

        With your suggestion to let it happen, we would be encouraging and reinforcing the idea that the bully can become stronger by bullying, while weakening the victim. Bullying is generally a learned behavior, so with your idea to let it happen and everyone will learn, we would be encouraging the cycle of bullying and abuse. There are many levels of bullyiing, abuse, and violation of human rights. Why would we, as a global community want to continue to encourage that cycle?
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    Mar 13 2013: We have had conversations on bullying many times here on TED.

    If you type "bullying" in the search box on the top right corner, you will be able to link up and read some previous conversations. Some have dealt with bullying in general. Others have dealt with workplace bullying (because sometimes little bullies, become big bullies...ARGH)

    I have never watched any of the programs you mention in your introduction.
    I don't know anyone around me who has watched them either.
    When I have watched reality shows (i.e. Survivor) usually the bully gets voted out first.....because who wants a bully around?

    As an educator, we are given information and strategies to use in the classroom to prevent bullying from occuring.
    It takes a dedicated teacher to talk to the bully and try to get to why he/she chooses this way of interacting with others.
    Sometimes you succeed in helping the bully change, sometimes you don't.

    Sometimes children, and also adults need psychological help with this issue.

    Here is a link that I ran across recently on how to deal with bullying. Enjoy
    • Mar 15 2013: Thanks for this link... I'll be sure to watch this and utilize it. Thanks again!
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        Mar 16 2013: Hi Don,
        You are too kind, thank you so much.
        I think alot of the contributions on these conversations are wonderful.
        The fact that different TEDsters have brought bullying up in conversations shows that alot of us really are concerned with the mean spirit that is prevalent in today's world.

        Let's hope that our two cents worth of ideas and links can help somebody out there.
        I really do think that people can change Don, sometimes the justice they need is alot of love and empathy, which might have been lacking during their formative years.
  • Mar 20 2013: We know that the light of the sun is not selective on who it shines on, a part of the connection that shows this would be a very single step in that direction. If in kindergarden through 3rd grade wouldn't it be more impactful to have a dedicated hour to teaching the single most important thing about connection in this way. Stories that spoke about how we are not to be disconnected based on differences that we may have. This could range from size, speech, race, etc. You see when it comes down to it, the human heart is the one in unison we have. Not speaking about it and allowing a potential thought process to harms others seems to be ok with how far we have come with all the avenues of life we all encounter. What violence is out there is seen whether we try to control it or not, we give no explanation. Any child feels something inside only to individualize during times of experiencing what this world offers during that moment.

    A child will always show you the greater intelligence in you that you already possess. They know they are full of life and not trapped inside of mind dominance yet early on. A child is acquiring content in the mind to experience the world for they are told to. How connected the child, depends on the circumstances they are faced with. It will matter not, bully or bullied doing this very thing gives connection instead of disconnection where none is present currently.

    It won't need religion or spirituality to help guide them on the search for wholeness yet it will connect them to show that no matter who they are, they are not alone and not disconnected from anyone else, never to invoke violent or hurtful behavior. If we never create a thought pattern early in this existence, aren't we still waiting for a parental unit to give this by design. Some parents will and have never experience this because they were bullied, or the bully themselves. Making this cycle creates this love we miss and the experience every child should have.
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      Mar 20 2013: Don,
      If Carolyn is an artist and wants to think like an artist, it does not, in any way make her perception "not very useful".
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          Mar 20 2013: Don,
          Your words from your comment...

          Don Wesley
          1 hour ago: Part One of Two. @ Carolyn.
          "My many ways of thinking, include and go far beyond thinking like an artist. Artists do more than paint or play music, dance and so on!
          I suggest that you are following a line of critical thinking which is not very useful for the question being asked. It doesn't provide more useful information"

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      Mar 20 2013: Don,
      Carolyn is very clear. It is YOU who is not clear. When a person says "I completely agree with you", s/he is probably agreeing......NOT delusional, in denial, or lying.
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          Mar 20 2013: Don,
          You have posted this same comment twice.

          If Carolyn is an artist and wants to think like an artist, it does not, in any way make her perception "not very useful".
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      Mar 20 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Carolyn...there are various levels of bullying in all segments of our society, and if adults cannot deal with it, how can we expect children to be able to know how to deal with it?

      We have the opportunity as a global community to change the behaviors of bullying, and they CAN be changed when a person is willing to evaluate their own behavior. The cognitive self change sessions I co-facilitated with incarcerated men, simply encouraged them to ask themselves some questions and explore their own thoughts and feelings.....what are you feeling? What are you thinking? Why do you want to do that to another human being?

      Bullying behaviors are often knee jerk reactions of learned behaviors by insecure people. It may help a person feel superficially dominant, superior, smarter, stronger, etc. in the moment, but in the long run, the behavior actually disempowers the bully and the victim. It may not look that way to an observer....but....think about it......can a person continually abuse, belittle and demean other people and feel good about themselves? I don't honestly think so.

      There is a psychological term and concept called "leveling". People will often try (consciously or unconsiously) to bring another person to his/her "level" of security or insecurity. Generally, if a person feels secure in him/herself, s/he will try to bring others to that same level, whereas, if a person lacks confidence and self esteem, s/he may try to bring others to that level of insecurity. A person who behaves in that way is telling us a lot about him/herself.

      When we are truly aware in ourselves, we know where our words and actions are coming from.....we know our intention.....we choose what words and actions to use in any given moment. Being truly empowered in oneself is beneficial to ALL people......know thyself.....that process can begin with each and every one of us as individuals.
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    Mar 19 2013: Thank you:)
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    Mar 19 2013: Change the structure of learning to help increase education?

    I would argue that changes will occur when we regard education from the human point of view. In other words, our attempts to "humanize" the education system (the sense of being a human) will change the structure of learning. Point: human beings are a living, breathing, growing organism touched by the divine. Given this premise, the activities we undertake ought to be structured from this core principal: education must be organic.

    Consider the current education system: we are categorized by age, pushed along by the conveyor belt of an industrialized system, considered defective if standardized measures go unmet, and spit out at the factory's exit - expected to be a model citizen.

    However, we are not a cog in the production's wheelwork. We are likened to any kind of plant that grows organically, needing its own degree of soil, sun, food and water. We too, as individuals, grow better in certain environments, under various conditions, and at differing rates. We, as humans, have an innate sense of wanting to grow; we are naturally curious as well. Thus, we ought to let students grow at their own rate, mastering each level of skill, to their desired level of interest. This then humanizes the education effort and upholds the sense of what it means to be a human being. People are rewarded for their own accomplishments at their own rate - thus, they are intrinsically motivated to succeed and then seek to achieve the next level. Structure will follow - we can only imagine what that will look like. I venture to guess that it may not be the brick building that so many of went to school.

    For the bully: he gets rewarded just the same as anyone else for his academic achievement. Of course, if he breaks the code of behaviour against his fellow student, he will suffer the consequence - healthy boundaries must be maintained. Beyond this, give the bully positives when positive behavior exhibited!
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    Mar 19 2013: My comment got deleted so I will try again as I have no idea why it was deleted the last time.

    Simple you have rules when they are violated there is a punishment this is called the rule of law. A kid bullies he might be warned, he does it again he is given detention, he does again he is given swats by the Vice Principle who "enjoys his work" Done deal. But the idea that the police are called in on this is asinine. If lawyers get involved this is even more asinine. At this point I would be inclined to teach the underdog how to fight?

    Why so much yik yak about this?
  • Mar 18 2013: Have more programs like "bully beatdown" but implement it in schools .
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    Mar 18 2013: There is a good quote which I would like to mention here - If thieves realize to stop only then robbery will end.

    Similarly there is possessiveness in all humans, we can never change it but can control it but not always...
  • Mar 18 2013: yeah,i hope so too.
  • Mar 17 2013: You've got me, I'll do the same.

    That's why I want a role model who is is modest in manner and frugal by habit, all those good 'ol Christian virtues without the superstitious bull****.

    What i don't do is call out the school bully and give him a trashing. He's gonna follow you round like a puppy for the rest of the term.
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      Mar 17 2013: Hi Aja,
      The way your comment is written, I'm not sure if you are serious or not, and I will respond thinking that you may be serious. I'm sure you'll let me know if that is not true.....thanks:>)

      One reason it seems to be gaining in strength is cyberbullying. Bullying has been going on in many forms throughout history. Used to be if a kid was bullied at home, s/he might be able to escape to school.....if bullied at school, home may have provided safety...etc. With cyberbullying, it is EVERYWHERE, and a kid may feel like s/he cannot escape at all. That seems to be one factor that is causing bullying to be more noticed, and more of a challenge....what do you think about that?

      I agree with you that emotional arguments are often counter-productive when problem-solving. Can you think of any other way to speak about the fact that a lot of kids are ending their lives because of bullying? I certainly am open to your suggestions:>)
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          Mar 18 2013: Hi again Aja,
          Yes the information you provide means a LOT! Sounds even worse than the statistics I've seen. I don't know how the APA can say that the publics perceived cases are over-stated. In my humble perception, even ONE kid being bullied is too many.
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          Mar 18 2013: I agree Aja, that vulnerable youth are susceptible to the influence of reports of suicides attributed to bullying in the media. If there were no suicides, they would not have anything to report. It is also through the media that we learn about the extent of this practice.

          In my humble perception, the "correct path" is education, and discouraging the bullying. I would not catagorize a discussion of a well known challenge in our world as a "feeding frenzy". It appears that you entered this conversation simply to criticize those of us who genuinely want to contribute to changing bullying behaviors.
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          Mar 18 2013: Aja,
          "Resist thinking with your feelings...." Are you kidding me??? That is terrible advise! Thinking and feeling work really well together:>)

          Schools are a social experience as well as an educational experience...a PERFECT place (as well as lots of other places) to contribute to social changes.

          Schools are one place where bullying happens, and schools can be one place where bullying is discouraged. You're right...schools are located in every community and willing to take on new issues. What better place to discourage bullying behaviors....good point Aja!
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          Mar 18 2013: Aja,
          I am aware of the edits to your comment after I posted a reply to you.

          You know, it may be coincidence, but there was a "troll-type" person on TED once, who had the same name and face as yours.....amazing isn't it???
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          Mar 18 2013: Aja, I think your point is valid, and the research you report from Stanford is also valid, that schools can be part of solving a variety of problems but are often not up to the task of being the only vehicle for creating change.
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          Mar 18 2013: No shame on my part Aja. I've been following your contradictory conversation with respect...same as I did before:>)
  • Mar 17 2013: i have no reason to object that some bad impact will appear if let it happen, but i don't have any reasons to support that no negetive impact will appear if prevent it happening. I have emphasized for times that if we don't let them experience the delimma, it will be impossible for them to learn how to protect themselves. then, them must face similar delimma in the future.
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      Mar 17 2013: Some will "experience the delimma" Zeng, and maybe go on with their life. Unfortunately, many teens have ended their lives because of bullying. I sincerely hope you, and anyone you care about, never has to experience the ramifications of bullying.
  • Mar 17 2013: Encouragemeng means we expect such situation, while my point is not to expect but to ignore them, that is neither encouragement nor ban. the bully bullies not only because they can perceive those who are less strong in themselves but becsuse those who are bullied are not strong enough. then, how to ptomote them? pressure works. Giving them a push, they have no choice but to strengthen themselves, which accounts for my suggstion to let it happen.

    in additon, about your another point that that cycle is not apropriate, i have some different views. we human get evolved through competition. without fierce fight, we can not evolve into what we are now. to make sure our progress, we need competiton and selection. from this perspective, bullying is not so unbearable as we usually think.
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      • Mar 17 2013: Don,

        I cannot agree with your statement. --
        "Most bullies, if not discovered as children, go on to bigger crime as adults."
        It is just a tat overdone.

        Bully's come in many types and degrees, not necessarily criminal bullying.
        Zeng's comment about evolution, something no one can control,
        or understand fully. tend to be an over-reaction --
        His comment,
        ".. without fierce fight, we can not evolve into what we are now.
        to make sure our progress, we need competition and selection."

        To discuss values placed on competition and selection is better
        left undone as this topic is about bullying.

        I hesitate to do this, but --- always a but...
        There is an island in the Pacific Ocean where, when discovered
        first by Europeans, was found to have a tribe of natives that had
        no word in their language for "want". Interesting?
        A non-competitive tribe, they quickly died out, due to diseases
        brought to them by the Europeans.
  • Mar 17 2013: You/we have to create a culture in which bullying is recognised and is not accepted. There has to be a discussion about this phenomenon, in order to generate a shared language for identifying and discussing it. Obviously, the language should be descriptive and objective, so as to focus on the behaviour and not the personality of the bully, assuming it is an individual and not a corporate identity. This sounds rather abstract, but it works with teenagers, in my experience, It goes without saying that punitive responses are counter productive.
  • Mar 17 2013: Bullying, like murder, like theft, like all the bad stuff you get along with life, is not that much of an "evil manifestation' that is resulted from all these hurt little souls or legal restrictions. It's a phenomena, in a world of natural selection our mindset has never really evolved out of the jungle. Bullying is everywhere, only that when it comes to kids we always go awww aren't they so cute...... the question isn't how do we stop bullying, since that is the to ask us to stop being human, the question is how do we face it properly. In fact when we do, bullying is actually a good thing since it gives children some exposure to the hazards of the real world.
    And for that I stand undecided honestly of the "right" way to deal with it, the "an eye for an eye" method sounds very appealing, but then again, what happened to the virtues of "turn your other face?"
  • Mar 17 2013: Don,
    Justice is not "always" a good thing.
    Today, I got my hair cut.
    The fellow in the chair ahead of me was a retired Los Angeles policeman.

    I was relating a story about the deplorable conditions in Watts (Los Angeles County)
    when I collected money at night from people to whom I had made small loans.

    Watts had a dismal atmosphere of a people filled with hate.
    Homes without grass lawns, unpaved streets, and streets with potholes never repaired,
    every car with dents on the sides.

    Inadequate or non-existent City and County, Fire, Police, and Sheriff Services.
    The county Banks "red-lined" Watts completely, and made no Business or Construction Loans.
    (A practice the Banks did then, and now is supposed to be against the law.)

    The County Politicians that were responsibility for Watts, never did a dimes worth of work there.
    Watts had a Deplorable School District, Dangerous to both Students and Teachers.
    The retired policeman then related his story.
    He was there during the Watts riots.
    He told of taking down looters, and giving them to other officers who took them to jail.
    He said the place was full of hate.
    Men, women, and children burning, looting, and stealing anything they could carry.
    We were both veterans of Watts.
    I was there during the earlier1960's. Making loans and collecting from delinquent borrowers.

    He from August 11 to 17, 1965, during the five-day Watts Riot that resulted in 34 deaths,
    1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and and over $40 million in property damage.
    I agree, as most minorities can attest, Justice does not exist in America.
    The American system of Justice is for the wealthy.
    Only those who can afford to defend themselves get Justice, the others get Jail.
    Watts is still a black community.
    I am white.
    The retired policeman is white.
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      • Mar 17 2013: Gosh Don,
        You are right in your assessment of history.
        However, we have lost our ways of yore.

        There is no going back.
        And time marches on, leaving us, older than dirt, behind.
        If we only could, but we cannot.

        It is frustrating...
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    Mar 17 2013: I feel like the most generic response to this kind of question somehow revolves around the 'bully' being hurt at home or hurt by something, and then taking it out on others at school. Im in high school, i know what bullying is and what it looks like. Ive been bullied, as has everyone, and ive bullied others, as has everyone to some extent. Now no i dont go around bullying and im a nice person, but every once in awhile im sure ive said something mean.

    But in almost all cases, kids dont bully other kids because of their home life, or because 'theyre sad insde' or 'they want attention' its because the person being bullied is doing something wrong in their own mind.

    For example, a bully isnt going to bully a random kid who is acting in the way he perceives as normal. But he will bully a 'weird kid' or someone that is doing something wierd. In my opinion, bullying is a normal thing and to some extent is necessary. You could argue that we should never be bullied and allowed to act however we want, but i think bullying acts as a sort of 'unspoken rule'. When you get bullied for wearing a bright floursecnt green hat to school, you probably wont wear it again, which is a good thing. You have just learned a lesson, a good thing. Yes it may have made you feel bad for a little bit, but its a good thing in the long run.

    I think this is the case for 95% of bullying. The vast majority of bullying incidents really arent that bad and are made out to seem horrible, but theyre not. in my opinion, their usualy learning experiences.
    • Mar 18 2013: I would agree that many people are reacting to pain or anger they are taking from home or someone else, but there are people out there who are simply vicious people, and there is no changing their attitudes towards others. It's possible that its linked to narcissistic behavior, but there need to be legitimate punishments. And just because it's continuing on from previous experiences does not excuse them at all. In my opinion, that should not be used as a get out of jail free card. You are still responsible for your actions, regardless of what they stem from, or what your so-called justification for them is.
  • Mar 16 2013: If we respect each other and listen carefully to children to solve their problems and concern with their quarries.This can change children's attitude which will bring a confidence among the people and children.The parents and our society is a model to our children.They imitate elders and their desire of acceptance their behavior is on the top priority.Creating a helpful environment to learn appropriate actions,interactions and expressions of their emotions,thoughts and actions will be more effective rather to compell them to do everything according to elders' wishes. Every child has his or her capability , talent and doing things in a special manner which makes him or her individual.Regard his individuality will stop for the bulling behaviors .
    We should give a chance them to express their meanness in the elders' presence.If our child misbehaves it isn't our mistake or error because the child is learning the skills which will fulfill the society's requirements. When he or she will not be appreciated for his or her behavior,he will change his attitude and action s which make him or her unacceptable among us. Our duty is to improve children's behavior towards society not to criticize them.Our ability will help them to be a good person who will be perfect in all aspects of life. The development of his personality depends on our choice. If we are aware about children's abilities and society's needs,there will be a creative world.
    Everybody has a power,strength,talent,ability,understanding to change himself according to time.
    Let us take a step for a happy world by doing appropriate behavior and actions with our children.They are a new
    carnations of God who will make us in a happy world. It is very important to channelize their energy in a right direction which will make them a useful cosmopolitan citizen and it will be a gratitude to God,to Almighty,to forefathers,to society who gave these facilities to a man. Respect the emotions and ability of all.
  • Mar 16 2013: I think it should start from families:families memebers,espeically parents' behavior and parents caring for children's growing up.bullying instinct comes from family,and gullying happens probably in children or teenagers.Most of them will be recovered when they are grew up
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      Mar 17 2013: I agree Edulover, that bullying often starts in the home environment. Some will recover when they grow up, and some, unfortunately, will be stigmatized their entire lives.

      I do not agree Don that "they most certainly have other social problems". We cannot say what other people "most certainly" experience.

      If you believe this to be so, please post the "social studies" which "reveal" this information.
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    • Mar 18 2013: First of all, YouTube is not a video communication site. It's a sharing site, so it would be open to everyone. Second, Facebook is not exactly held in high regard, so there really is no way the entire police force of any country would accept that. Third, you're acting as though that's a legitimate punishment. It's like posting a sign on a bulletin board. If parents and teachers would grow a backbone and actually punish someone then maybe it would fix something. In my grandparent's time it was probably at it's best. If you're going to behave like an abhorrent little bastard to people you would be legitimately punished. Now, the kids essentially make the teachers their bitch, pardon my language. If a kid is being a terrible person to someone, and they have the rare teacher who will inflict a small punishment, the kid cries to mommy and daddy who then bail out their ass of a kid. Then the teacher has zero authority over their students, because all the kid has to do is say he's being mistreated. Parents need to not baby their kid. If he or she is old enough to do stupid crap, then they are old enough to learn never to do it again. Instead of bailing the twerp out, say its his damn fault and make him apologize. But they don't. And then it goes generation to generation and before you know it everyone acts like jerks to one another. Fourth, I think you must be unaware of the fact that a majority of kids are complete dumbasses. If they get put on Facebook for doing drugs at fourteen, they'd wear it like a damn badge, and same with bullying. If it became a law and was treated that weakly, every moron would be bullying someone so they can seem like a badass for breaking the law, just like how shoplifting is treated by teenagers.
  • Mar 15 2013: polise cant???
  • Mar 15 2013: This is a deep issue and can not be seriously addressed with remedial action around the edges of education or some token sensitivity training within. In my view, the model of education, which still is largely grounded in the Industrial Age's "factory system" treats humans as relatively uniform "units" to be processed through a system of compromises which make it easier for the institution to get through its processes at the cost of acceptance that many children will fail. The very idea of herding children into this industrial meat-grinder is unnatural, We are not "created beings" that come out of heaven on a conveyor belt all with the same basic ranges of capacity but instead come into the world one at a time in a bag of guts as a result of natural genetic compositing processes which rarely if ever match perfect gene sources. There are also factors called "epigenetics" which relate to environmental differences even in the womb where gender assignment and sexual preference determination result in part from hormonal variation in the mothers. All this adds up to the fact that all human beings are unique. One need go no further proof than nature's vocalization of this in the fact that none of us look exactly the same.

    Add on top of this the knowledge that each person is not static in capacity but has a neuroplastic dynamism at work which governs capacity growth and the ability to advance much taster than the rate of classroom pace. Experiments in educational autonomy are proving that education could be holding more people back than facilitating the ready and capable. Thus education must be reformed--not just on the social development assertions of my previous post but to embrace neuroplastic dynamism which turns acceptance of a "hit or miss" modality into a potential "no miss" one where each student is a client interacting with a range of age students. Bullying is "mob" behavior. We must cease being the assemblers of mobs and making education easy on ourselves.
  • Mar 15 2013: There is another amazing talk by Peter Diamandis about how any type of info from TV comes?!
    Watch this one:
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    Mar 15 2013: I apologize for not talking about bullies and for not addressing your question in my answer. What I wrote about was my point of view of the real problem here. It is as you said, US, the grown up!
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    Mar 15 2013: I had the pleasure to meet and befriend many American people. And I could clearly see what you mean. I am not saying that my culture is "better", because to each there are the good aspects and the bad ones. In fact the American culture has a lot of great aspects. But when it comes to acceptance and embracing of the other, it fails dramatically.

    Everyone is expected to be perfect according to unrealistic standards. And from my little experience I could see that those who successfully escape this illogical point of view, and who become liberated, join the minority. There is always a pressure on them to become "normal". The issue is has anyone became normal yet?

    I noticed also how the words "weird", "awkward"... etc. are used heavily too in the American culture. In mine we never use it. But due to the openness and influence of other cultures it is becoming more popular here. I noticed how when I started using those terms my tolerance for the situations decreased. Any situation that doesn't go with my poor opinion will become "weird", and this has distracted me from looking into the nature of this situation and analyze it with my mind rather my... hmmm I don't know what it is called, first impression of it?

    I am a believer in the goodness of humans. I don't think that people came up with these judgments to make others lives harder. In fact people who judge others, judge their OWN SELVES. We live under the pressure of avoiding judgement. Low self-confidence, anxiety, dissatisfaction...etc. are things I have experienced myself when I knew that I don't fit the standards. I think this even cause more judgment, as an outlet to these strains.

    I think what made this type of thinking a mainstream are the companies that want to give people a reason to buy things they don't need. To fulfill those needs materialistically. To sell movies, and to make reality shows. To make people eat more and sell them things to reduce their weight. To make us always in need.
    • Mar 15 2013: I appreciate the response... In your words, you have answered the question. You discussed the point of judging others and the dissatisfaction we feel in ourselves and how we often take these out on others. I was (and still am) called "weird." I think people when they say that which I'm sure only solidifies their thought even more. Thank you for your response.
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        Mar 15 2013: Oh yes, I agree with you. Your the most welcome, you got a great question out there!
        And i want to invite you to explore other cultures, not mine or any other in particular, just other places where they don't have terms as weird and where you are highly valued just for being a human.
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    Mar 15 2013: I love the quote by Noam Chomsky: "Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." Of course, terrorism is a form of political bullying which is boiled down to power struggle. Paraphrasing Chomsky's advice for adults to stop bullying, I'd say "Stop bullying your children" with your authority and superiority. Too often adults send the message to kids: "You are not in a position to argue with me, I'm the boss here. Shut up and do as I say, or else... (consequences)". Is it the right thing to say to children?

    I truly don't know. As a father, I say this to my kids almost every day. I realize that it undermines their self-esteem with possibly damaging consequences. But I also feel that I have the responsibility of running the house - paying bills, feeding everyone, doing chores. If I don't exercise my power as a father, there will be consequences for me. Too much "democracy" in the family will, actually, encourage power struggle to the point of endless back-talking when nothing is getting done and everybody yells at each other. I have yet to figure out where the limit is between enforcing discipline and emotional abuse.

    And the children are born with power struggle in their blood. "Rattling the cage" is a part of normal development. My son, when he was just 1-year old and could not speak or walk, already did things he knew he was not supposed to do to test his mom's reaction.

    There is no easy answer. Physically standing up for themselves teaches children courage and ability "to solve his own problems" at the risk of getting an idea that problems can be solved by violence and turning into a bully himself. Snitching is taking path of non-violence, but it often does not stop bullying at all or makes it worse and can ruin the social life of the kid. It's not a simple question.
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    Mar 15 2013: Stand up for yourself. Bullies aren't going anywhere. There will always be people who prey on others. You have control over how you react to bullying.

    Children have two ways of handling bullies:

    1) telling an adult
    2) physically retaliating

    The problem is that when children do as they are told and "snitch", they are shunned for it. Ergo the only alternative left to them is to physically retaliate. If we are to expect children to act responsibly, we should encourage "snitching".