Stopping Bullying At The Source

Bullying has garnered national coverage after recent suicides by young people who suffered torment at the hands of bullies.

The state Department of Education has always been concerned about bullying, and has formulated plans to deal with the issue and with the bullies themselves.

Actually, it’s a popular educational research topic. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), bullying is one of the criteria of a conduct disorder.

It stipulates that a person with a conduct disorder demonstrates “aggression to people or animals” which includes “engaging in frequent bullying and threatening.”

Generally, these behaviors are displayed at home, in school, in the workplace and in neighborhoods.

People learn bullying behaviors from various sources.

A dysfunctional home setting where abuse occurs might contribute to a child being subjected to bullying and then becoming one. Bullying also can be learned from peers or associates. Even cartoons sometimes characterize bullying, such as in the Popeye cartoons where Bluto exhibited aggression toward Popeye.

These are just a few examples of how people, especially impressionable children, are exposed to bullying.

What can be done to stop bullying and promote better forms of behaviors and problem-solving?

First, the home situation must be analyzed. That is the primary venue in which children can be taught appropriate methods of dealing with others.

Yes, bullying is learned behavior. Parents must exhibit appropriate social behavior within the home environment. Parents need to notice if their children are aggressive toward them or other family members, abusive toward peers or animals, have difficulty maintaining relationships or display other forms of antisocial behaviors.

These are only a few of the “red flags” of bullying behavior.

You can rest assured that schoolteachers, counselors and staff are aware of bullying behaviors in children and, in some cases, even staff members, who revert to earlier bullying behavior to get their way in the office environment. It is a responsibility that all members of the teaching profession must deal with because the “bully” causes unnecessary harm and damage to schoolmates or other staff members.

Sometimes, treatment plans involve outside agencies that can provide services beyond those the schools can offer.

Bullying should not be tolerated, and more people need to spread the word.