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The Power to Stop Bullying Forever

Bullying. The word means something different to everyone. To a child who is terrified of the students on the playground, it means every day one of them will threaten and harass her. To another young person who feels powerless in a home filled with conflict, it means dominating his classmates violently just to create a sense of control in his life. The teen who logs into her social media account to find that for the second week straight, her peers have sent her daily hateful, insulting messages, knows what bullying means to her. Bullying means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to these children and teens, the experience of bullying means deep, personal pain.

Bullying has only recently come into the arena of public discourse, so there remains confusion over exactly what it is, what causes it, and why it is harmful. Mass media focuses society’s attention on instances of large-scale violence, and consequently the public’s awareness of small-scale violence like bullying is minimal. This lack of clarity makes bullying prevention programs in schools inconsistent and ineffective. The importance of education and early intervention, however, cannot be understated. What is needed is a simple, clear message.

Bullying is abuse. This is the simple, clear message education and intervention programs must focus on communicating. This abuse can cause victims to experience lowered self-confidence and other issues later in life. The abusive behavior’s origins vary from having low self-esteem to having a very strong self-concept but looking down on others. When bullying is viewed as abuse, its harmful effects can be understood, and it becomes intolerable in our children’s schools. When parents and educators are able to see through the eyes of the child who is frightened of the students on the playground, then they can work together to help stop bullying in the lives of their kids. The young person who dominates his classmates violently can become a rallying cry for school administration and teachers around which to coordinate effective, proven anti-bullying programs. Education is the first step to cultivating an environment of tolerance, healthy conflict-resolution, and heavy consequences for bullying. Education finally empowers people to face bullying head on.

Teaching young people to resolve conflicts peacefully and stand up for themselves is possible, and requires communicating a clear, simple message to school administrators, teachers, parents and students that bullying is abuse and will not be tolerated. Knowledge is power in the fight against bullying!

Bullying is a common problem in schools. Post a comment about an experience you had with bullying, and how you faced it. Did you tell a teacher or parent?

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