Anti-Bullying Week: It’s not just about school

The theme for this year’s Anti Bullying Week is ‘Choose respect.’ I don’t think there’s ever been a time when we’ve needed this message more than we do right now.

Respect is the bedrock of a civilised society. We don’t have to like everybody – we may not be able to help disliking some people – but respect is a choice. We can always choose to behave respectfully.

Most people have always made that choice because incivility was not seen as socially acceptable, but the social norm is slipping because those at the forefront of public life – politicians and the news media – are no longer modelling respectful behaviour.

Leading politicians on both side of the pond are deliberately stirring up and sanctioning the abuse of minorities and the weak for their own ends. Leading news reporters aren’t interested in hearing reasoned argument, but instead choose to bombard interviewees with interruptions and aggressive questioning.

This is the culture our children are growing up in, but if we want them to turn away from bullying they need role models – rules are not enough.

Bullying isn’t just a problem among children in schools. It’s increasingly a social problem for us all, and the key to tackling it is not just focusing on bullying incidents but nurturing a non-bullying environment by making a positive decision at all times to behave with thoughtfulness, kindness and civility towards other people, irrespective of our differences.

I hope the theme for this year’s Anti Bullying Week will be a timely reminder to us all.

My latest book is included in the new Books for Topics bullying list
Respecting other people is an important aspect of self-esteem


5 thoughts on “Anti-Bullying Week: It’s not just about school”

  1. I love the 2 titles of your books that sit side by side. I totally agree that if we had more self-esteem we wouldn’t want to put other people down. It will always amaze me how people in power have so little self-esteem and are always look for more.
    But then to a point I blame – maybe blame isn’t the right word but … – the adults in their lives. For the powerful they more than likely have a parental figure that is pushing them to “try harder” and for most bullies it is because they have been bullied. I think as adults as well as modeling respect to each other we should be boosting each others self-esteem, self-confidence etc.
    My daughter has started a new job today and I sent her with the words “remember you’re amazing”. With my son, who does some things that maybe I would prefer him not to I spend a lot of time telling him too how amazing he is.
    Great post. Didn’t plan to write so much in response 🙂 X

  2. As a victim of bullying from grade school into adulthood, this will always be a weighty and timely topic for me. I’m glad that people are taking this subject more seriously now, from the school yard to the work place. I finally learned to stand up for myself and not be so willing to “turn the other cheek” or try to understand the bully’s perspective (e.g. perhaps they suffered a death in the family, they’re sick, etc.). Some people just don’t seem to comprehend that their problems are not other people’s problems or that diplomacy is the best route. Occasionally, in a work place setting, business professionalism isn’t the only solution. It’s not necessarily good to get mad or snap back at others, if they’re rude or disrespectful to you. But at times, you may have no other choice because the offending individual won’t understand any other way.

    I’ve always hated getting angry and losing my temper, as it serves no real purpose, except to inflame tensions. But it happens. Human nature is too flawed to expect otherwise. The best thing we mature folks can do is highlight the problem, as the anti-bullying movement attempts to do. It is a battle that will never be won, but it is a matter that can no longer be ignored.

    1. I do agree – it can never be won – it’s a human nature thing and part of life. My concern is that suddenly it feels we are socially sanctioning bullying and that provides a context where it’s much harder for the poor or weak or marginalised individual to stick up for him/her self. I agree with you that the idea we should try to look at it from the bully’s perspective is deeply unhelpful and problematic but I guess I feel we can do much more, as mature folk, than highlight the problem – we can be role models for the young in the way we behave towards others.

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