Bully to Superkid Power with Self-Help Skills
The bully leader was in third grade. He was a smart guy but had a need to push others around and be the head honcho. He happened to have friends who enjoyed group bullying others. The week I taught the concept of how to say “NO” to negative peer pressure which included internal mind/body/emotion awareness to the class, I demonstrated the feeling of being tugged at by others with 3D learning. I used a rope around a student’s waste, pulled it as I said things like, “Come on, you don’t need to go home. Let’s go bother Seth and make him cry.” By feeling the tug physically with the rope, each student became aware of the control and manipulation of someone else on his/her being. Taking slow, deep breaths to stay centered and grounded, the student could slip the rope off himself and not be impacted by the other person’s ploy.
The following week the head honcho bully stood up when I asked about success stories from the prior week’s theme. He beamed as he stood tall and straight, beginning his sharing. “Janai, my friends really wanted me to bully “X” because we have done that before to him. But I remembered what you taught us. I felt a bad feeling in my stomach. So I said “NO” to negative peer pressure. When I did that, nobody else went to bully “X.” We went someplace else and played ball. I felt really good that I didn’t bully. I don’t want to do it anymore because it makes ME feel bad inside.”
WOW! How powerful was that! I congratulated him, knowing the other bully followers were in class listening. His own internal resources signaled to this boy. He knew he was hurting himself, not just the potential victim. And he felt GOOD about himself for his choice which made him feel more confident like a superkid rather than a bully. He also planted a seed with his followers.
Bullying is a control issue at its roots. The bully cannot control her/his impulses to want to hurt someone else without skills. Controlling the bully becomes a control issue because the victim often does not assume a leadership role. Bystanders can feel compassion, fear, anger, sadness but may not opt for attempt at controlling the situation. The bully, in turn, is controlled by her/his own hurt and anger that uses the bullying act as a release valve for internal pressure relief. While skills may add a degree of control in this situation for bully and or victim, the fact remains that the culture we live in has holes in its safety net for children who are hurting. Some of the bystanders may be empathic and feel the intensity of the harm being inflicted on the bullying victim. Some may feel the desire to be able to bully another to feel powerful and have tension release.
Injecting an entire system or unit such as a school, family, group or community with the same skills would have potential to strengthen its individual members which, in turn, strengthens the whole system. Communication skills that provide a format to express, listen, hear and understand build an empowering bridge for all members. True prevention for bullying can impact society with a potion for mutual respect when skills are taught at the preschool and kindergarten level. Imagine a society where families and organized institutions shared the same page of concern and implemented an excellent form for educating with clear communication and a basis of mutual respect at the foundation’s core.