The Best Bullying Prevention Solution Is Preemption
by Margaret Ross
The locations may vary, work place, neighborhood, Internet, school or bus, but the bully’s weapon of choice remains constant. WORDS. Causalities are mounting.
Bullying School Causalities: The National Education Association reports that every day 150-thousand kids miss school due to fear of attack, peer intimidation or bullying. A 2001 study by the American Association of University Women found that 83% of girls and 79% of boys report experiencing ridiculing/harassment at school. One in four reported that it happens “frequently.” Dreading going to school impairs a child’s ability to learn. Dreading going to work impairs an adult’s ability to earn.
Bus Bullies: Educators agree that having children arrive at school in a positive frame of mind and ready to learn is critically important. It’s not happening. Here’s why. Kamaron Institute researchers found that half of America’s school children step off a bus where negativity and name-calling is a daily occurrence. Prevention of bus bullying is critical.
Bullying’s most frequent face is verbal-- teasing, taunting, threatening, name-calling -- or more subtle through malicious gossiping, spreading rumors, and intentional exclusion. Violence can and should be stopped at the name-calling level. The most effective way to do this is to proactively replace it. We need to move beyond bullying prevention to bullying preemption.
Beyond Bullying Prevention - The Life or Death Impact: Violence follows a predictable escalation pattern. Words always precede blows. It doesn’t happen in reverse. Bullying behaviors tend to peak during middle school, a time when peer pressure can be crushing. The Secret Service reports that of the 41 youths involved in school shootings since 1974, 66% said they had been “bullied at school and that revenge was one of their motives”. Replacing the name-calling habit with an affirming word habit removes a primary trigger for physical violence.
Word Weapons Are Used By Bullies: Do you remember the mean girls and bullying boys from middle school? As adults, many of us are still wearing negative labels assigned to us as children. As you read this, can you still hear the verbal assaults launched in the cafeteria and hallways? “Nerd” “Fatty” “Metal Mouth” “Looser” “Clueless” “Pizza Face.” Of course you do; proving wounds inflicted by word weapons can last for decades.
What happens to the mean kids? Do they grow up and develop relationship skills? Can age provide automatic bullyng prevention? Sometimes. But they are just as likely to get a few wrinkles, gain a few pounds and work in the cubicle next to you. One might even be your boss. Researchers from Wayne State University estimate that one in six US workers is bullied. We deal with sarcastic, difficult, people daily.
Mean Screen: Unfortunately, no security detectors can ‘screen for mean’ like they do for metal at airports. Imagine what it might look like if companies could install a mean screener technology in the front lobby. Picture someone stepping in the front door and approaching the word weapon screener. If word weapons are detected, lights would flash, a klaxon would sound and employee satisfaction agents could rush to disarm the serial fault finder before he ruins someone’s day. They do ruin the day and cost your company good employees. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they do not feel valued and appreciated.
30/30 Rule: If you want to keep your staff, help your home life and bully proof you kids, something much more significant than cessation of name-calling is required. The 30/30 Rule is an example of positive preemption. For the next 30 days, say words of affirmation or appreciation within the first 30 seconds of encountering family members or co-workers. I guarantee the 30/30 process will profoundly change you and will shock them. If you miss a day, go back and start your 30-day count again. The first time I attempted to live the 30/30 Rule, it took me 90 days to get 30 days in a row. Too long? How about a two-minute commitment? Send one Good Finder Message email to yourself. If you like reading it, send one to someone else.
It Works: Positive environmental behavior change has proven to increase job satisfaction and work productivity. The Gallup Organization reports that 9 out of 10 people are more productive in a positive environment. Kamaron Institute found teacher and bus driver job satisfaction increased from 40 to 72 % after implementing “Only Positive Words Allowed” environment. Employees who feel valued and appreciated have a better safety record, fewer accidents and receive higher satisfaction scores from their customers.
It is not enough to survive. You can thrive.
About Author This Beyond Bullying Prevention Article : Margaret Ross, president of the Kamaron Institute (www.kamaron.org), has authored four books about building successful work and life relationships. An award winning speaker and author, Margaret Ross’ new book, Casey and The Amazing Good Finder helps adults and children succeed in life, school, work, and relationships.
© 2005 =2009 Margaret Ross . All rights reserved.