Many bullying experts believe that empowering bystanders to step in is the key to improving bullying situations. This makes great sense but it’s still very complicated and not a “one size fits all” or “one size fits all ages” answer.
Just as the “gang mentality” of bullies works for them, enlisting the support of all students in a school to step in seems like an effective way to go. Basically, you educate a “gang of supporters.” Kids, rightfully so, feel intimidated and ill equipped to step in to certain situations on their own. If whole classrooms are taught how to recognize bullying and given easy tools like simple things to say and ways to intervene, kids might not feel so nervous about doing the right thing.
Last week, I had an experience where a group of socially popular adults were bad mouthing others that weren’t there to defend themselves. I was very uncomfortable and felt like if I said something, they would laugh at me or start talking about me when I left the room (which was very shortly after). Sound like middle school? It felt like middle school, and after all the research I’ve done on the issue of bullying, I still wonder why I didn’t step in. It really made me empathize with kids faced with these tricky situations.
Here’s an article from GreatSchools which helps focus on this debate and gives a few tips to parents.
What do you think? Any tips for kids? (Just go to the right and click “Not So Easy for Young Bystanders” under “Blog Archive.” Simply scroll down a bit and leave a comment. All feedback and suggestions are important.)