Bullying, like Self-Harm, is a challenging topic that I am not sure we are dealing with in the best way, at the moment.
I have actually written to the Pink Shirt Day campaign, because I feel they have taken the Pink Shirts in the wrong direction.
When kids wore Pink to show someone who teased a child for wearing pink that this child was supported and not alone, it created an us verses them scenario and demonstrated another form of bullying - bullying by numbers.
This is not an example we want to set for our kids. When a child feels so badly about themselves, or when they misunderstand the impact of their actions, making them feel ganged up on does not resolve the issue. It just makes them feel more alone, more unsupported, and more angry!
When the whole school wears Pink, we lose our ability to see where the problem is. I feel Pink should be reserved for people who feel they need help. Then the professionals know where to go to resolve the issue.
What does resolving the issue look like?:
It looks like taking whatever the incident may be and turning it into a teachable moment.
School is often where bullying happens. School is a social experiment. You have kids, parents, and teachers from all different backgrounds, and if something happens in the schools, its a great opportunity for kids to voice how they feel, and for the adults to discover what the kids misunderstand, and what their true goals and needs are.
There is no need to prove that something is happening, or to find the truth, before you take action. The opportunity to have a discussion is there as soon as the issue is raised.
Why is someone bullying?
What need are they trying to fill?
How can they meet this need in other ways?
How does the person who is being bullied feel?
How does the bully feel?
How do the by-standards feel?
What is the best way to support people who need help? (this includes the victim, the bully, and the by-standards)
How can adults provide a better example of what it means to respect others?
I have pointed out, on many occasions, how often schools (and parents) use Guilt, Shame, Pride, and Desire to motivate children, even though research shows that these methods only breed further illness, unhappiness, and unemployment, see table at the bottom of this article: Defining the levels of conscious parenting.
Although bullying is not directly related to the services I provide, I feel it is an important topic that I can address, because I know there is good in all and there is a reason for all. And when we go down to the individual, I can show understanding and acceptance for where the person is at, and guide them on how they can adjust their behaviour (or perception) to arrive at a healthier outcome.
A bullying situation, especially when you are working with children, who do not have years of regret and being stuck in their ways of thinking to work through, is an opportunity to show that there is a misunderstanding happening, everything can be forgiven, and there is always a way to self-correct, and feel good about who we are.
This is our job as the adults, to be the adults, to engage with the problem, and support our kids to find a solution.
If you or your child are exposed to bullying (from any angle) go here to book a free no obligation 15min consultation.
My most recent thoughts on the topic of pink shirt day are available here
And, here are some older articles that I have written on this subject: