As our Kaleidoscope Connect framework teaches, sometimes kids get labeled based only on their negative behaviors and are seen in “black and white.” Bullies are a perfect example of labeling, where we have lost focus of their positive traits and let the “bullying” define our views of those students.
Instead, ALL kids – including bullies and those being bullied – should be seen and understood in "Full Color." That means instead of looking at what’s wrong with students, we should look at – and amplify – what’s right.
Here are three tips to prevent or reduce bullying:
- Assume bullies need a thicker “web of support.” The more caring and connected adults (Anchors) in the lives of youth, the stronger their webs. Instead of labeling students as bad, you (the adult) can work to understand the webs of support they live upon. You will get more traction with students by focusing on what is right and strong in their webs, and amplifying the positive in their lives.
- Support bullies to see their world in Full Color. You need to have connections to bullies before you can affect their attitudes and actions. So, work to grow a relationship with a bully. When you become one of their Anchors, they will more readily accept your guidance and support. By focusing on the positive aspects of their webs, bullies will begin to see themselves in Full Color, and begin to make small adjustments to grow their webs of support. They will become more caring, empathetic, resilient, and less inclined to bully others.
- Build and nurture relationships with students who are victims of bullying. If students who are bullied have strong webs of support, they will need their webs sustained (making sure the bullying does not erode their webs, or reduce their self-efficacy). If they are thinly-webbed, then they need their webs thickened by adding more Anchors to mitigate and filter the unkind words and actions. As an Anchor, you can work alongside a bullied student to filter, frame, and reduce the negative comments and/or actions. They will then be more likely to catch your strength, and add it to their own.
To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Connect’s Full Color framework, please visit our website.