Kids and teens who bully need our support, help rehabilitating and compassion, not thoughtlessly doled out punishments. If we want to help them grow up learning to interrelate with others without manipulation, harassment and abuse, we need to commit the resources and attitude to make that happen.
Because schoolyard bullies grow up to be workplace bullies. Or abusive parents and spouses. Or the person on the PTA or city council or condo co-op who makes life miserable for everyone else.
We all know people like that.
I recently enjoyed the privilege of working with CTV’s wonderful Cindy Sherwin on her excellent two-part investigative report on bullying, called The B-Word. This week’s installment (called “Putting an End to Bullying”), aired yesterday (March 15th) and focused on the ways schools and parents need to reframe their attitudes about bullies so we can make a difference.
We need to remember that kids and teens who are bullies are still growing up, and when we help them, we are also by extension helping all those who they have targeted (and those who might otherwise have been bullied by them in the future). We also need to think about the power we’ve given the word “bully,” and how this might undermine our best efforts to stop kids from hurting other kids (or adults).
Watch the full report here. You can also view Part 1 of “The B-Word” (which aired March 7th, 2012) here.