The bully cycle: Who is responsible for keeping kids safe?
Editor’s Note: Every day on patrol, officers across the country have a positive affect on thousands of America’s children. And whether your “weekend” takes place on Saturday and Sunday or some other days throughout the week, many of us spend that off time striving to make our own kids safe and happy. Through their work with the Better Kids Institute, PoliceOne columnists Gary Klugiewicz and George Thompson have begun to provide us with articles designed to deliver critical information in the areas of Life Skills, Safety & Defense, Fitness & Wellness, Bullying / Active Shooter, Internet Online Security, and Child Predators.
This is a new resource for PoliceOne members who have kids of their own as well as any officer who has had friends, neighbors, or contacts on the street with problems related to children. Our aim is to give you information that will help you as you face challenges from the children, teenagers, and young adults you encounter every day.
On occasional weekends, we’ll post articles from Gary, George, and the Better Kids Institute so watch for those features, presented with the permission of the people at BKI, in the future.
Bullying is a complex event. Since my undergraduate work was in sociology, I usually look at systems when dealing with problem-solving. So it was only natural that my examination of the bullying problem focuses on system failures rather than the action of the individual bully. It is important for us all to understand that if we have a bullying problem in our school, social group, or workplace, we have a bigger problem than just one person, the bully, acting badly.
A bully doesn’t operate in a vacuum. The problem encompasses the entire group whether that is a school, a social group, or a workplace.
The Bullying Cycle is made up of:
A key point is that bullying continues in any setting only when the group permits it through a sick sort of co-dependency.
In order to disrupt the Bullying Cycle all three of the following components need to be addressed and mobilized.
Bullying occurs because we (the bully, the bullied, the peer group and persons in authority) allow it. We need to practice the same type of Ethical Intervention that Dr. George Thompson of the Verbal Judo Institute (www.VerbalJudo.com) trains police officers to use when a member of their group acts badly. Who is responsible for keeping members of our school, group, or workplace safe from bullying? We all are. We need to establish a “Caring Watch” of each other to keep us all safe from inappropriate, intimidating, and possibly physically threatening behavior.
Remember bullying doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It occurs within a system and therefore a systematic approach is needed to manage the problem. We all need to do our part to keep everyone safe from this kind of misbehavior. Most people who become abusers were themselves abused. Let’s stop the Bullying Cycle now by managing bullying one incident at a time.
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