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How To Stop Bullying

Here is a marvelously successful idea to stop bullying. The approach can be used to prevent bullying in classrooms, reduce bullying school-wide, and can even stop bullying behaviors in homes. The key is to approach the motivation of bullying which prompts people to bully others.

Start with sharing the Levels of Development that explains the differences between external motivation and internal motivation and also between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

Note that choosing bullying behavior is operating on Level B—bothering/bullying.

Here is the procedure I used as a teacher and which can be used in any circumstance to reduce and even stop bullying behavior completely.

The Stop Bullying Procedure – Step One

Use a ruler, yardstick, book or anything that can be seen when held horizontally so viewers see only the thin edge. Announce that it is like a teeter-totter or seesaw, and this is how it looks when it is balanced. People who are getting along and making responsible choices keep it in balance.

However, when a person starts to pick on or bully someone, the teeter-totter gets out of balance. The person who is picked on usually starts to feel “lower” than the other person. This is a normal reaction. However, if you reflect on the motivation of the bully, it is the bully who initially feels sour because of a desire for attention, for power, to feel superior, or to be “above” the other person. Otherwise, there would be no reason to bully.

So, it is the bully who is the first one to feel bad and wants to gain power. The bully has a problem. The bullying behavior is actually an attempt to pull the other kid down to the bully’s level—to try to bring things back into balance from the bully’s perspective.

This discussion opens the eyes of the bully because it explains that person's irresponsible behavior. But most important, no one wants to be known as someone who has problems. Students who bully have never thought about their bullying behavior in this way.

The Stop Bullying Procedure – Step Two

To help students refrain from bullying, have them take a piece of paper and crumple it up. They then unfold the paper, and try to smooth out the wrinkles. People quickly observe the impossibility of their efforts.

The point is quickly made that the scars never go away no matter how hard the attempt to try to erase them.

Tip: When a person bullies another person, the bully may apologize to the bullied—but the scars still remain, and it is the bully who initially has a problem.

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