Have you seen someone being bullied? Did you do something about it or were you just a mere spectator? Or worse, were you the instigator?
I’ve recently read a news report about a 16-year-old boy who died from stab wounds, and no one helped him while he was being attacked. Instead, the teens and adults who saw it just stood there and filmed the whole incident. Can you imagine how the boy felt? Is it indifference? Or no one wants to mess with the bullies? Or no one cares? Period.
It is sad to learn about this incident, especially because recent statistics indicate that 70 percent of young adults and school staff have witnessed instances of bullying in school. In all of these instances, witnesses did not do anything to prevent the bullying incident.
What will become of society if this continues? Why is the current society full of uncaring people? Are the Millennials and Generation Z really self-centered people?
People’s uncaring attitude is the very reason why videos showing people doing good deeds get millions of views and positive comments because people who demonstrate care and concern for others are now rare as a gem.
This negative trend must be reversed, and the time to do it is now!
How to Stop Bullying
Every day that we do nothing affirms to young people that their lives don’t matter. Why? Because reports indicate that annually, one of five students suffered from bullying. And there are about 160,000 young people who have stopped attending school at one time or another because of bullying incidents. This in an alarming number l of lives destroyed, and opportunities lost.
It is past time for acts of bullying to stop. We, especially adults, must change things for the better because studies have shown that bullies imitate the bad behavior from adults – parents, teachers, role models. And the media.
So how do we turn things around? Here are steps you can take if you are a parent or other caring adult:
1. Show you care
Talk to your child, and don’t just have a casual conversation. Pay more attention and show interest in what they have to say. If he or she sees you as someone who is approachable and who will listen to his or her concerns, you can then turn things around for your child, and prevent your child from either being a bully or becoming a victim of bullying.
2. Be someone young people can look up to
Young people may admire their peers and get inspired by them, but it is a fact that most of them look up to adults for inspiration. Ask yourself if what young people see in you worthy of emulation. If it isn’t, what can you change and when will you change it?
3. Create a supportive community
Bullies and bullied individuals all belong to a certain community with which they interact frequently.. If a bullied individual feels the community is united on a stand against bullying, it would mean a lot to him or her. It would also give the victim a reason to fight back against the bullies, knowing that he or she is not fighting alone.
4. Empower bystanders
It is likely that bystanders do not interfere when someone is being bullied because they do not know what to do. They may also fear the backlash. So, schools and communities should be taught how to properly respond to such situations.
5. Help the bully
There is no particular profile for bullies – in fact, even successful people who seem to be at an advantage also get bullied. Victims of bullying can also become the bullies. As a matter of fact, some bullies may not know that their behavior towards others is a form of bullying. Gently but firmly explain to them how their actions consist of bullying.
The act of bullying is a complex issue and dealing with a bully requires patience and understanding, and action. If you keep this in mind and employ the five steps above, the horrific acts of bullying can one day be a thing of the past.
Rhonda G. Mincey is an author, award-winning mentor, speaker, poet, and personal coach. She is the CIO (Chief Inspirational Officer) at Great Success, LLC and serves as the Executive Director of Great Youth, Inc. She is the author of the books, A Girl’s Guide to Being Great, which has been used in several school districts, and Poetic Reflections, as well as designed Aspire to Go Higher coloring book for teen and young adult girls.
Rhonda’s commitment to helping people become their best selves is evident by her awards, including Armstrong University’s Service Award and Turner Broadcasting Station’s Pathfinders Award. Rhonda has also been featured in Pink Magazine, The Jasper Sun-Times, and The Island Packet.