What do we do with all those students who, faced with a social injustice, such as bullying, do not act? When there is a situation like this in a classroom, normally the focus is on the person who suffers and the one who attacks, but what about the rest? One of the reasons why the bullying is perpetuated is the lack of action on the part of the rest of the teammates. If only one of them said enough is enough and took a position in favor of the person attacked, the chilling figures of bullying in our classrooms could be avoided.
Wouldn’t it be smarter to intervene with the environment and reinforce empathy and a sense of justice?
In many educational centers they use the mediation methodology as a means to improve coexistence in the classroom. Training students to intervene in conflicts and be the ones to help reach a dialogue is the best way to achieve what we want: a good atmosphere.
Two types of people complicit in bullying
There are two types of witnesses complicit in bullying:
- The silent witnesses: are those children who participate in the actions, mainly because they are convinced that the victim has certain attitudes that justify the actions against her.
- silent witnesses or spectators: People who decide not to intervene in the stalker’s game for fear of becoming his new victims belong to this group. Despite not participating in the game, they have as much guilt as the previous ones for not defending the other person.
These colleagues who are dedicated to observing or are even part of the game are aware, on many occasions, of the unfairness of this harassment, but they do not take action on the matter. They are the same ones that form the framework that promotes and encourages rumors and actions. If they participated and raised their voices, the bullying could not take place because, on the one hand, the bully need public and on the other, the victim needs the support of other people to be stronger.
What can be done from families?
Let us remember that the first place where children learn to socialize, to develop their critical thinking and emotional intelligence, is in the family. We play the most important role of all: giving our children the tools to face life. It is not fair that because they are not direct participants in the harassment they are exempted from their responsibility in the matter. They have the most decisive role of all: to prevent bullying.
From home you have to teach them to raise your voice in unfair situations, we must raise children who are generous, understanding and tolerant. In this case, we must be very careful with the amount of violence that we allow children to visualize. A high dose normalizes their perception of violence and abuse, when the reality is quite different.
fights between brothers
Learning about conflict resolution gained from the sibling relationship can be of great help. Having a brother is a virtue! It is the first context where you socialize and learn to know the other person. If they start arguing, watch what they say, how they say it, and how each one behaves, but don’t intervene. Surely the shouting will increase and they will want you to take action on the matter so that you agree with one of them, but that will not benefit them.
Let them be the ones to solve their problems, trust their criteria to reach a solution, promote dialogue as a means to reach an agreement. They can show us their full potential if we give them enough freedom and confidence to do so.
And what about adolescence?
When it comes to adolescence, communication and critical thinking is the most powerful weapon. Use the news, your daily life or personal experiences to deal with issues of inequality. When they feel heard without being judged, when they feel that two adults are talking, confidence and learning multiply.
Let’s try to avoid phrases like: “What do you know?”, “You have no idea about anything, you’re a kid”, or anyone who exudes condescension or superiority towards them. There you are missing the wonderful opportunity to get closer to your child and increase the trust between both of you. Let’s use the questions as a means of getting them to reflect and come to the correct conclusion.
Bullying is one of the worst situations that can be created in the classroom. That your son is not one of the protagonists does not mean that he is not involved. We have a social responsibility towards the other person, educate in critical thinking and empathy They will be the fundamental pillars to reduce the cases of bullying. The family is the first place where they will acquire their values and tools to face life, let’s make sure that our children are the best citizens.