October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

How to Stop Bullying at School

How to Begin Stopping Bullying at School

An important finding of research into how to stop bullying in schools is that bullying is a social relationship problem. If this is true, then an important key to reducing bullying is to improve social functioning. The strategies below focus on ways to stop bullying at different levels including the peer, family, school and community levels.

Peer Interventions to Help Stop Bullying

What can schools do to stop bullying?

There’s much that schools can to do stop bullying beginning with teaching kids to speak up and stop bullying. Kids in school need to be taught that even if they’re not doing the bullying themselves, simply watching an incident without informing an adult or doing nothing to help the victim makes them involved. Particularly for bystanders and students that have witnessed bullying, it’s important for them to realize the role they play in helping bullying continue.

A safe school climate is critical before students will feel comfortable speaking up to stop bullying and   reporting incidents they see. This safe school climate is the responsibility of adults to create. Part of this task requires adults to identify and then dismantle the peer groups doing the bullying. This can be accomplished through parent discussions and in-class interventions. Efforts directed at the bully ring-leader such as anger management training and other methods to help them direct their efforts in other directions can also be effective.

Family Interventions to Help Stop Bullying

What can parents do to stop bullying? To get us started, it’s important for parents to admit when their children are involved in bullying. Many parents will not and this stalls progress.

Unfortunately violence and aggression are accepted ways of solving problems in many homes. The relation between kids observing violence at home and becoming involved in bullying is undeniable. Parents that want to stop bullying must first ensure the conditions for teaching bullying to their children are not present in their homes. This means not modeling aggression as a way to solve problems in the home environment. In homes where this is the case, it may be necessary for the parents to learn better ways to deal with their own anger as well.

It’s also critical for parents to ensure that young children in particular do not have unlimited access to violent video games, TV shows and movies.

School-Level Interventions to Help Stop Bullying

What can teachers do to stop bullying? First, teachers must realize that:

  • They are not always great at knowing whose involved in bullying in their class
  • Bullying happens at high rates
  • Bullying happens in most schools and in most classrooms
  • Bullying is not always overt / visible

The question for teachers is not whether bullying is happening in their classes (it is) but how they should go about establishing guidelines for respectful attitudes and behaviours. Sample guidelines include:

  1. Explicit mention that bullying is not respectful and will not be tolerated
  2. The consequences of bullying
  3. Students are expected to help the victims of bullying
  4. It’s the job of both students and teachers to make everyone feel welcome

What else can teachers do to stop bullying? Teachers should also learn about the particular dynamics in their classroom including whose popular, whose not, who’s left out and who’s seen as a leader.

Community Interventions to Help Reduce Bullying

It is a fact that playing violent video games leads to increased aggressive behaviour and thoughts as well as a decrease in positive social behaviour. It’s the responsibility of parents and the community to reduce children’s exposure to violence video games and media.

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