Why do anti-bullying methods have so little success
bullying and how to handle
For the past thirty years an opinion about bullies and their victims has been created that does not conform with reality. The consequence is that no method has been developed to stop bullies adequately. Follow-up care for the bully and the victims has not been provided either. If a bullied child signals that it is still being bullied it is considered to be caused by the victim itself, and as a result of that the child is labelled as not being assertive enough, having ADHD, anxiety problems and so forth. Current bully experts are convinced that bullying is caused by the appearance or behavior of the victim. In contrast to all opinions on bullying, it is the victim who is accused while the bully is given some form of understanding. A bully, like any other child, needs guidance. It is irresponsible to spare the bully and thereby allowing him/her to search for a new, less troublesome victim. Bullying is undesired behavior and should be corrected because not doing so will lead to more unacceptable behavior.
The only way to stop harassment by the bully is to address the bully. Not as a criminal but as a child whose behavior must be corrected. As long as this is not done it is impossible to stop bullying at the moment it begins, and it will be impossible to unlearn the displayed dominant negative behavior.
Can the damage be undone?
Bullying causes harm and if we want to repair the damage we will first have to take away the cause. It makes no sense to mop the floor when the tap is still open. But can the damage of harassment be undone? I think not! Unless we acknowledge that the damage is caused by an external source, and you know the way this source operates. Is there any physical or emotional bullying? What is the purpose of the harassment and how did the victim experience this? Is it possible to offer a traumatized bully victim a full, fearless life? Yes! But this can not be done in a week, it takes several months and not every therapy is suitable. It only works in confronting the victim with itself within a safe environment, surrounded by people who can be trusted by the victim. The victim needs some physical skills to have their self-confidence and self-esteem grow. It must learn to give and take while it retains full control over its emotions. It has to engage in friendships with peers and commence their own social contacts.
You may wonder why this is not often applied to victims of bullying but the answer to that question is very simple. It’s like stopping bullying, there is always someone (without any experience on bullying) who thinks to know better. And those are listened to.
There is no school that allows bullying. In fact, every school has an anti-bullying program. Despite of this children are being bullied at every school. Although bullying at school is prohibited, this is ignored by the bully. In this way the bully has no respect for the rules of the school and neither does it have respect for the teacher. This makes the bully almost unassailable. The only way to immidiately stop the bullying is to confront the bully with a form of authority. This authority cannot be the school or the teacher because the bully has proven to disrespect them. This is a job for the parents. The school in turn has to offer help, information and / or advice when needed or asked for. But if the parents do not coöperate sufficiently in stopping the bullying, consequences must follow. These consequences are the measures imposed by the law. If the harassment has caused material, physical or psychological damage than the perpetrator must pay compensation. In this way, stopping the bullying can be enforced.
It is very important to inform all parties before any legal action is taken, and it is also very important to give the bully’s parents the opportunity to correct their childs behaviour.
A bully has enforced its leadership by violence and intimidation. It has to be told that leadership is never gained by harassment and abuse. When the bully is forced to focus on an alternative goal, the group will follow their leader and bullying will be stopped. By changing the bad behaviour into positive leadership the former bully is still in control and still has the respect of the peergroup. Blaming the victim for blabbing is useless and can lead to more problems.
What does the school do against bullying?
Almost every school considers bullying as a serious problem and will do its utmost best to counteract it. The results however are very dissapointing. In the 1970’s Dan Olweus initiated the very first systematic research study on bullying. In 1983 the worlds first anti-bullying program was launched. after a trial period of over 2 years, the results were conflicting. Bullying was decreased in one school and increased on the another. The program was refined and renamed but it could not stop the bullying. It could reduce the number of bully-related incidents by up to 30%. But this percentage of decrease is not unique for an anti-bullying method. In fact, the same results were found in schools that gave frequent attention to bullying without the help of an anti-bullying program. Because bullying was not stopped in this way, people came up with alternatives to tackle the problem. Introduction of another approach to bullying gave bullying extra attention causing it to temporarely stop, giving the assumption that a succesfull method was found. But it didn’t stop. As methods failed, the blame fell on the schools for not acting when bullying was reported. By then many households had a computer and the internet was consulted for advice. This led to an ever increasing number of ‘experts’ leading to even more ways to handle bullying. Now the school was no longer asked for advice, it was given advice. Nowadays the number of methods is overwhelming, but none of them is capable of stopping the bullying. As a result of this a complete new approach was made; the victim! The ‘experts’ discovered that a bully victim did not have appropriate social skills. Programs were made to adjust the victims behavior despite of the childs personality. Bullying was given the well known attention and again it was assumed that the problem was solved. But ofcourse, this didn’t stop bullying either.
Bullying was considerated to be a school problem rather then a pedagogic problem. The focus was on the victim and thereby leaving the bully unattended. This being under the persuasion that a child is bullied for being different. Bullying for that matter gave the assumption that is was legitimate, almost deserved. But this is because the victim is asked why it is being bullied, and not with what it is being bullied. This question suggests that the victims behaviour or appearence is the cause of being bullied instead of the behaviour of the bully.
How to stop bullying
There are many ways to combat bullying and there are many methods that can help. But the main method is regular attention. It is very difficult to find the right balance between attention and whining and therefore it should not be done during class. If the parents make sure that their child does not bully, or will be stopped immediately when it does, then the problem is solved. After all, they do react when bullying occurs between siblings. It is absolutely ridiculous to have so many people involved in a matter that can be solved within minutes. The only way to stop bullying is to stop the bully! Nothing more, nothing less. And if the bully doesn’t stop when asked to do so the parents will be asked to make their child stop. And if the parents don’t do that, they will be forced to pay for the damage. Why do we hold a child liable for kicking our car and not for kicking our child?
The Bully-note is an anti-bully program based upon the above. It is protected by international law on both copyright and intellectual rights.