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Imbalance of Power Leads To Bullying In These 5 Ways

workplace-bullyingOne of the signs that an aggressive act is bullying and not just bad behavior is if there is an imbalance of power – the aggressive party has either the perception or reality of being ‘greater than’ in some manner.  This sense of power can come in many forms.

  • Power can be demonstrated economically.  In an adult relationships if one person makes and controls all of the money, that may be an imbalance of power.  In and of itself that is not a problem, unless they use the threat of that power to control the other person.
  • Power might be demonstrated physically.  If one person is larger, stronger, more aggressive – this imbalance might be shown if the weaker person is afraid of them.  They might be afraid of being hit or pushed around.
  • Power might be demonstrated mentally.  There are many ways this may work out, but many times we will see one person who perceives themselves as smarter or more capable and will be very pushy about getting things done their way.  This is true in kids or adults.
  • Power might be demonstrated emotionally.  Many times manipulation of feelings and actions will be done, based on one persons perception of themselves or the other person.
  • Power might be demonstrated even online.  If one person is showing up anonymously and is saying mean things about another – they have an illegitment power over the target.

While this list is not exhaustive – it is easy to see how one child might be able to bully another, or a spouse may bully their partner or even their child.  Even teachers can sometimes use their ‘power’ in a way that is damaging to a child or fellow teacher.

When we have power in some manner, empathy for others will help us to be thoughtful and careful about how we use it or even how it is perceived.  Check out more information on bullying at the class on September 27 @ 10 AM at Balanced Life Skills.

You are invited to come to the first of a series on “The Truth About Bullying”

 

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2 Lesson Learned From Aggressive Behavior In Children

HidingWith so many news events that make us shake our head and wonder how a human that grew up in a ‘civilized’ society could act in such horrific ways – creating a culture of kindness / peace becomes more important to us as parents and educators.  I believe like many of you that culture change is difficult to affect on the big scale – in fact impossible to affect unless it is also achieved on the individual and family scale.  Really is “the world” at peace if we personally have turmoil, difficulties, and heartache in our lives?

Aggression that takes place between children usually happens out of the sight of adults and caregivers.  Isn’t that interesting? Because the same thing is true with adult aggression.  A child may pull their pranks of aggression in the bathroom at school, or on the bus or a corner of the playground – adults try to hide their aggressive acts too.

I heard a story one time of an adult who waited till their target was alone in the file room of an office before they showed a side of themselves no one in the office had ever seen or at least talked about before.  Pushing a co-worker against the cabinets – they told them to never ever do “such & such again” or things would get worse for them.  Now while this one incident would not in and of itself be bullying – this aggressive act had a major impact on the target, a young employee with no seniority.  She eventually quit the job and moved away, as her fear overwhelmed her desire to work for this company.

There are two lessons here.  The first lesson is that children who are aggressive can and will take this with them into adulthood.  The ramifications of that are huge.   The second lesson that is not seen as easily is that the effects of aggression – of bullying others – is devastating to the perpetrators too.

Did you know that those with higher rates of aggression when they are young also have higher rates of traffic violations, drunk driving, domestic violence, and depression.  Of those identified as being aggressive when they are young – 60% of them have committed one crime by the age of 24.

The effects on those who are the target of their aggression and on those who have observed it are devastating as well.   Ignoring or denying that bullying is perpetrated by a child or student or a child is a target of aggression,  is damaging to them and our society in the short and long term.  We must not ignore this behavior or go along with those that might see aggressive behavior as a part of growing up or who have a “my child is a leader” mentality.

The damage being done now will affect their life and that of others in the future.  One of my goals is to help our community become aware of and build a culture of kindness, peace and compassion in our families, schools and communities.

On September 27 at 10 AM I will be addressing the issue of bullying in a class titled, The Truth About Bullying.  This one hour class will not only discuss the definition and effects of bullying on children, but also why children wait so long to tell authorities and the six skills every child needs in our efforts to build a culture of kindness.  These skills are meant to help a child from becoming the target of bullying and to help those inclined to be aggressive.

This link will give further details on this class as well as the follow up classes to help every parent.

http://balancedlifeskills.com/anti-bullying-support/parents

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The Truth About Bullying

Joe Van Deuren

Joe Van Deuren

First I have to say that I, like many of you, probably do not like the use of the words BULLY or VICTIM.   I prefer the terms – Aggressor and Target.  There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is, that it is very easy for a child or even an adult to be labeled and have it stick for a very long time, and even learn to be that person.

The other part of the whole bullying discussion that always gets to me is that the word has been used so many times that it has lost some of its impact – in fact it is misused and applied to situations that should either be labeled ‘bad behavior’ or ‘assault’.    I have seen both.

There are times when parents are over reacting due to the emotional connection with their child, which is understandable.  There are others times that I have seen a parent or teacher believe that the situation should just be overlooked and the target just needs to “toughen up”.

The definition of bullying revolves around 3 basic rules:

  1. The acts must be deliberate with the intention to hurt someone
  2. Acts of aggression must be repeated targeting the same person over and over again
  3. There is a imbalance of power between the parties involved

These are fairly common, well accepted rules that most school systems and the public have agreed upon as the definition for bullying.  When the act or acts do not meet all 3 of these rules, it is likely that bullying may not be the correct word for the situation, even though the acts of aggression are still rather uncomfortable or even dangerous for those targeted.

parenting-talking-to-childThis does not mean that aggression should be ignored when the acts do not meet the rules listed.  Any behavior that is aggressive either in a physical, emotional or social manner needs to be addressed.  Addressing those behaviors help us to create a culture in the society that says, “this kind of behavior will not be tolerated by the social group.”

How we address the ‘culture we are trying to build’, either in a proactive or reactive manner, says a lot about the our own beliefs of what is important to us as parents and teachers.  One of my goals is to help our community become aware of and build a culture of kindness, peace and compassion in our families, schools and communities.

On September 27 at 10 AM I will be addressing the issue of bullying in a class titled, The Truth About Bullying.  This one hour class for parents will discuss the definition and effects of bullying on children, and why children wait so long to tell authorities including their parents along with the six skills every child needs in our efforts to build a culture of kindness in our schools and community.  These skills are meant to help a child from becoming the target of bullying and to help those inclined to be aggressive.

This link below will give further details on this class as well as the follow up classes aimed at helping every parent.

The Truth About Bullying

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The Similarities of Bullying & Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence and Bully Prevention Month.

abuseEveryone needs to be aware of these two very similar and related methods of ABUSE .  In both domestic violence and bullying, certain behaviors are used to control another person. The behavior may occur in either a married or not married situation, it could be heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or living together, separated or dating. The behaviors may be occurring at school with kids or at home between siblings or even parents bullying kids. It even has happened at time with teachers on students. Here is a list of just some of the behaviors that are abusive that could be domestic violence or bullying:

  • name calling or put downs
  • keeping a person away from friends
  • actual or threatening physical harm
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • sexual assault

Anyone could be a victim.  Abuse that starts as bullying as a child may grow up and either be abused or become the abuser.   It may be male on female, but can be the other way around too or male on male or female on female.

If you are being ABUSED – Remember

  • You are not alone
  • It is not your fault
  • Help is available.

For assistance with bully prevention check out our coaching,  advocacy work, and school workshops.

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Put Downs Are Not Cool at Home or In School!

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There was a little girl in just the 3rd grade who was very active and loved to do things outside. She loved to play ball and ride her bike, climb trees and just have a lot of fun. Her classmates have started to make fun of her and especially of her short hair.  This is Samantha and really she is very cute and loving. However, the taunts of her friends really is starting to bother her and she does not like to hear them.

This is a classroom that needs to learn that put-downs are not cool. They have not built a peaceful and kind culture yet.  In a situation like this the teacher wants to work with the whole class. Building a culture of peace could begin with recognizing that we are the same and different at the same time taunts of her friends really is starting to bother her and she does not like to hear them.

You could start with a game of “I’m Looking For”. The simple version is to make a circle and have one person ask a question, “I’m looking for everyone with brown eyes.” Then everyone with brown eyes comes to the middle of the circle. They can go back out and a new ‘looking for’ question is asked. After everyone has a chance to ask questions about favorite colors, pets, color of hair and eyes, birthday months you can ask what were some of the things you had in common and discuss similarities and differences. To take it further, discuss all the ways everyone around the world are the same including our emotional needs.

Summarize with understanding that sometimes people put others down or make fun of them because they are different in some way. We will focus on the things that are the same and if we do we will be building a culture of kindness and peace in the classroom or at home.

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