As an educator who has worked in schools for many years, I’m concerned that anti-bullying policies are doing more harm than good: intensifying hostilities, hurting children’s emotional development, and often turning parents against one another. My latest book, BULLY NATION, is written to show parents, educators, and mental health professionals how to throw out the detrimental Bully Language and help children develop the resilience needed to handle the social challenges of life. I invite you to join the discussion.
Did You Know:
Children Are No More Aggressive Today Than They Used to Be
Despite our current national obsession with bullying, children are no different today than they used to be. They are not meaner or nastier than we were as kids. True, they have technology available to them that we didn’t have–and this technology can amplify their behavior–but the behavior itself hasn’t changed.
“Zero Tolerance” Anti-Bullying Policies Don’t Work
Zero-Tolerance policies and legislation don’t take into account how children learn, and they set kids up to fail. While children should always be held accountable for their behavior, they should not be expected to be perfect. Zero-Tolerance is about punishment and perfection, not education, and it simply isn’t an effective method of dealing with normal childhood aggression.
Labels Such as Bully and Victim Make the Problems Between Children Worse
The terms BULLY, VICTIM, and BYSTANDER are being overused. These labels create a divide in situations where one person’s story is right and the other’s is wrong. Rather than labeling children, we need to teach them coping skills and how to resolve conflict.
The Definition of Bullying Has Become Unwieldy
We have expanded our definition of bullying to include almost any behavior that has the potential to make a kid feel bad: being unfriendly, social exclusion, and name-calling are just a few of the behaviors that have recently found their way into the bully ring. This swelled definition limits our ability to help children deal with the normal and predictable conflicts of childhood, and how to help them develop the resilience necessary to deal with a diversity of perspectives.
Contrary to popular belief, the Columbine shooting was not a response to bullying
The record shows that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold weren’t bullied, but did have serious psychological problems and easy access to guns and bomb making material. In an effort to make sense of the tragedy, the media clung for years to the idea that the boys had been bullied, and this fueled our national fear of childhood aggression.