It is estimated that three out of every four children are bullied at some time in their lives, a situation made worse in the 21st century by social media and its ability to spread cyber abuse 24 hours a day. For the more vulnerable and sensitive, bullying can be life changing, but there are things that can be done to mitigate any damage, according to Michael Younge, Founder of Powerful Positive Thinking.
Teaching professionals are faced with an almost impossible task trying to police bullies and protect the vulnerable. It’s not always cool to “snitch” and even the best of teachers and parents are not always aware that there is a problem.
Yes, most teaching professionals have had the training and are on the lookout for the telltale signs indicating that a child has become withdrawn, sullen or appears to suddenly have anger issues, but in a busy working day it is easy for vulnerable youngsters to go unnoticed.
For most children, learning how to deal with bullies is all part of growing up, a skill they will use over and over again when they become adults, but for others they need to be taught and to understand what’s possible.
There are plenty of courses out there that deal with bullying – we include sections within our own modules – but if they are to be successful it involves completely changing the mind set of victims who have become traumatized, or in exceptional cases suicidal as a result of being targeted.
We are never going to turn timid youngsters into warriors overnight and nor should we try, but they have to know that bullying is not their fault and to understand that they are unique. Bullied people usually suffer from low self-esteem and confidence, which makes them an ideal target and if you can address that situation you are half way towards dealing with bullies.
We recommend that teaching professionals encourage students to tell an adult and when they gain more confidence to say out loud to their tormentors to stop doing whatever is causing the upset, but more importantly we concentrate on helping young people be more positive so they are better able to deal with these situations.
It is of course more complicated that this short news story will allow but like everything else to do with feelings of self-esteem and self-worth, positive thinking plays a key role which needs to be learned in childhood. It will then be the gift that keeps on giving and what better endorsement can any teacher have.
Michael Young is an author and founder of Powerful Positive Thinking. Visit: www.powerfulpositivethinking.org/courses