Everyone Has a Part in Bullying
You ask a group of kids if they can think of who they know that gets bullied and they could give you a number, if not a complete list of names of those children. Ask that same group if they know who the bullies are, same result. Now ask them what their role is and, generally, they will define themselves as having no role, as being neither the bullied nor the bully. This is a group we call the bystanders – who are by far and away the most powerful and influential of all 3. We illustrate it as follows:
So why do we assert that the bystander, witness, observer is the most powerful person in this scenario? Because, well, it’s a numbers game. The number of bullies in any given situation are relatively few, the number of victims, likely slightly more, but still far from a majority. Therefore the group with the MOST people involved is the BYSTANDERS – those who see and know, but do not do. Bullies need bystanders to stay quiet, to laugh, to stand by and do nothing – and thereby to approve of what the bully is doing. Most kids will say they don’t approve but are powerless to help. We disagree. If the kids who knew got involved and let the bullies know it would not be tolerated anymore, they could significantly impact the situation for the better, for both the victim and the bully.
In addition, many children exempt themselves as being bullies themselves but claim that one of their friends is. Our message to them is – SO ARE YOU! By condoning the behavior by rewarding the bully with friendship, laughter and positive affirmation – friends of the bully are actually participating in it.
“It’s None of My Business” – once you see it, hear it, know of it, it IS your business. You choose to ignore, you choose to walk away, you choose… Choose to help. For more information, please Contact Us.
You too, play a significant role in the behavior of your child on any side of the triangle displayed above. It’s important that children learn to tackle difficult issues such as doing the right thing. Whether they are the bully (treating others as they would want to be treated), the victim (self assurance, standing up for oneself, self esteem maintenance in the face of adversity), AND the bystanders (doing the right thing, being a hero to someone, standing up for someone who may not be able to stand up for themselves).
As community members, we all rely on each other to call for help if our child is injured, our house is on fire or we are involved in a car accident. We all take faith that we will do that for one another – I do it for you because I rely on you to do it for me, should the need arise. That is part of being in a community, being accountable. If we simply passed by a home on fire or an injured child, well, you can imagine the kinds of words the newspaper/tv/media would use to describe that. Why do we expect any less of our children in their school environment? School is their first experience with community, with peer relations – the footholds of their character start here. We hope to teach them to be heroes in their own realms so that we can be assured that our communities will continue to be safe places where people take care of each other.
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