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Bully/Victim: A Shifting Paradigm
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Bully/Victim: A Shifting Paradigm


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In recent months the news has flooded us with stories of bullying and some disastrous consequences that have ensued. The counselors of Catlin Gabel have been hard at work since this last summer to …

In recent months the news has flooded us with stories of bullying and some disastrous consequences that have ensued. The counselors of Catlin Gabel have been hard at work since this last summer to create a conceptual framework for how we deal with dominating behavior. On October 27th we had the pleasure of hosting a presentation about this framework. In the presentation we spoke about the characteristics of anti-bullying programs that work, the latest research on the topic, the psychology of the bully/victim dynamic and skills we will be teaching to students for handling difficult situations.

Published in: Education

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  • The best way to deal or ignore bullying or cyberbullying is to let every kid know right away that you won’t deal with it. And it's important to educate kids. Kids need to understand the reasons behind bullying. They need to know that they should never blame the victim. They need to know it is not their fault when they are bullied, and how they should handle the bullying if it occurs. I am a parent and I'm worried and I don't want that any kid to experience this. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who still find it quite hard to manage issues like this, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here:
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  • Adults need to teach kids the skills and it is not assumed that kids come “fully formed”
  • The differences between this and old definitions (based on crime and punishment and psychopathology). We use this term for sake of simplicity but it is not a good label.
  • We are using the terms Victim/Bully just for clarification but this not about labeling and bullying is a hot topic
  • Be clear that this is not a tactic to blame the victim Revenge is why victims commit the worst offenses We can not change mother nature but we can work WITH it
  • From Izzy Kalman
  • You can’t monitor all behavior of your children at home either (give examples) Talk about examples of programs that do not work…(zero tolerance, punishment alone)
  • Some kids are more resilient than others although the majority are hard wired for this, but it can be taught Not just over coming difficult experiences but learning from them and how to be stronger
  • Bullies are often times being bullied by someone else or it takes investigation to figure out why they are wanting to dominate Everyone: parent to parent, kid to kid, teacher to teacher, parent to teacher, kid to teacher, kid to parent Non defensive reactions
  • Non defensive reactions (defusing the situation, “ya its true These skills will not work for every kid every time (because of psychological conditions, conditioning home life) Adults can teach kids that they should never let go of any aggression or disrespect which can cause this to fail No Tattling
  • Doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear from you if you have concerns instead it helps us teach the skills
  • Transcript

    • 1. Bully/Victim: A Shifting Paradigm Kate Grant, MEd Kristin Ogard, LPC Jonathan Weedman, LPC
    • 2. Bullying in the Media
      • Media reports on the extreme cases
      • Many of these cases involve mental health issues
      • We are talking about bullying tonight not criminal acts like assault
      • Criminal acts or extreme bullying requires serious intervention and discipline
    • 3. What We Want for Our Kids
      • We want children to be strong, resilient and responsible citizens who can solve their own problems and who are prepared for life
        • Adults need to teach children how to solve their own problems
        • Adults should interview for resilience instead of pain
    • 4. Bullying
      • Bullying is an intentional misuse of dominant behavior with an imbalance of power and/or strength that takes many forms including verbal, physical, emotional, and electronic (Grant, Ogard, and Weedman)
    • 5. The Conceptual Framework
      • Children Need to be Resilient
      • The Psychology of Bullying
      • Understanding the Paradigm of How We Respond
    • 6. The Psychology of the Bully/Victim
      • Dominant behavior is part of mother nature and is inherent in all primates
      • The bully is often a victim in disguise
      • Everyone has engaged in some level of bullying in their life time
    • 7. Motivation Behind Behavior
      • What Bullies Want:
        • Power
        • Respect
        • Popularity
        • The fun of driving others crazy
      • What Victims Want:
        • Power
        • Respect
        • Popularity
        • To stop being driven crazy
        • Revenge
    • 8. Anti-bullying Approaches that Work…
      • Teach children to solve their own problems
      • Discourage children to blame each other but to understand all parties have equal responsibility for solving the problem
      • Understand that punishment alone doesn’t solve the issue
      • Recognize that adults cannot and should not supervise every interaction between students but rather adults should help children learn the skills of good decision making
    • 9. Resiliency is Key
      • There are no “good” and “bad” people just “desirable” and “undesirable” behavior
      • Kids need tools and skills to deal with dominant behavior
      • Resiliency is created from overcoming difficult experiences
      • Resiliency can be taught and learned
      • Learning to problem solve has life long benefits
    • 10. How We Respond
      • Adults need to teach skills to all children
      • Adults need the skills to intervene on behalf of both victim and bully
      • Shift from blame to responsibility and taking positive actions for both children
      • Shift from fear to empowerment and skill building
      • Includes everyone
      • Can be used at home, too
    • 11. What We Do at Catlin Gabel
      • Beginning and Lower School
        • Weekly class lessons in Kindergarten and 1 st grade regarding conflict resolution, problem solving and being a good community member
        • Lessons in second grade regarding resiliency, conflict resolution, and decision making
        • Anti-bullying role plays in third, fourth, and fifth grades
        • Provide coaching for individual students and parents
    • 12. What We Do at Catlin Gabel
      • Middle School
        • 6th and 7 th graders will have one week of anti-bullying skills training
        • Provide coaching for individual students and parents
      • Upper School
        • Will train Peer Helpers in anti-bullying skills
        • Will teach anti-bullying skills in 9 th grade health class
        • Provide coaching for individual students and parents
    • 13. Anti-Bullying Skills
      • Teach victims to respond in a way that is genuine instead of defensive
      • Teach victims how to not give others the power to get them mad
      • Teach role plays for reactions (insults, rumors, exclusion, physical, cyberbullying)
      • Teach resiliency skills
      • Teach positive self-talk and reality checking
      • Empower kids to emotionally self-regulate
      • Coach kids when and how to involve adults to help them
    • 14. How We Teach the Concept
      • The adult invites the student to try and bully them. The student’s job is to keep bullying and the adult’s job is to try and get them to stop
      • The adult gets upset and angry, usually the student starts laughing
      • The adult then asks the student to try it again with the same parameters
      • This time, the adult diffuses the situation and doesn’t get angry and soon the student stops
      • The debrief: the adult asks the student which was more fun and the student always says the first. The adult then talks about how this is exactly how it works with bullies. They keep going because its fun to get you (victim) mad.
    • 15. Cyberbullying
      • Not a big distinction between cyberbullying and other forms of bullying
      • Skills used to combat cyberbullying are similar to other skills used for other forms of bullying
      • A good resource is The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use created by Nancy Willard ( )
    • 16. In Conclusion
      • Our goal is for children to learn skills to address these issues by teaching the necessary skills to students to handle their own problems.
      • It’s important that the entire community be involved in this process (parents, teachers, kids, across divisions)
      • We welcome information and conversation
    • 17. Scenarios
      • Scenario One: Exclusion (Lower School Age)
      • Scenario Two: Rumors (Middle School Age)
      • Scenario Three: Cyberbullying (Upper School Age)
    • 18. Q/A
      • Beginning and Lower School go to Narnia
      • Middle School go to Broxway
      • Upper School go to Middle School Library