This video is about nine minutes long, but it’s time well spent!
These are real kids and their reactions to seeing kids get bullied. Whether you agree or disagree, you can’t deny that what these kids have to say is compelling.
One comment in particular got my attention.
There was an assembly last year. Everyone was crying afterward because it was so like… Powerful… But nobody got the message.
As someone who provides anti-bullying school assemblies this grabbed my attention.
We take a unique approach to school assemblies. Most people preach at the kids. Right here is proof that it doesn’t work. Everyone cried a little, left, and continued as normal.
There’s a reason for this. It’s why our assemblies are radically different from what everyone else is doing.
A while back one of the leading psychology professors in the field of bullying spoke out.Here’s a key point from his article:
“Bullies, he said, have a strong need to dominate other people and some have a family background that creates the pattern. They also get “a certain amount of prestige” for being tough, aggressive kids who are able to control others. Bullies also have little empathy for others, particularly their victims, he said.”
“Dr. Olweus said earlier perceptions about bullies indicated that their behavior was rooted in low self-esteem. But he said his research has shown that bullies generally have very high levels of self-esteem and confidence.”
The realities of bullying are very clear to our kids. They don’t need hammered over the head about why bullying is bad.
All that does is make the targets of bullying feel worse and remind the bullies that they’re succeeding in making people hurt, sad, and afraid!
We Use a Different Tactic!
We make our assemblies FUN! Instead of making the kids feel bad, we make them feel good. We introduce a character, Gus the Rubber Chicken, and use his story as a springboard to talk about bullying behavior.
Our assembly has three main goals:
1.) Empower kids who are the targets of bullies to take a stand, realize that they don’t have to be victims, and take steps to resolve the problems.
2.) Teach kids what bullying behavior looks like. Prevent bullies from riding under the radar by saying they were “just joking” or that their target is being “too sensitive”.
3.) Reduce opportunities for bullying to occur by teaching kids how to control the bullies access to their life. (Examples of this include blocking the bully from their Facebook profile, making new friends, and sticking together in a group.)
We have a 45 minute opportunity to make a difference.
We can either spend that time trying to get a bully to change, or we can empower the targets of bullying to stand up and make a difference.
The people best equipped to change a bully’s behavior are their parents.
I don’t care how powerful your message is, you can’t get make someone make a major behavioral change in 45 minutes.
…But empowering their targets? That’s extremely feasible. That’s where we focus our attention.