Children need kindness to be modeled

Dr. Jacqueline Y. Smart

Who is the bully? First, bullies can and do come from all walks of life. Bullies come in different packages: They come to us as an adult, young or old, any ethnic group, as a teen or a preschooler. People who lack social problem solving skills are most at risk of becoming bullies, and in some cases they could also become the victim, or both.

Some people become a bully because it is easier for them to hide their insecurities when bullying others. The unfortunate truth is that most bullies have not learned how to deal with their anger or emotions, or how to solve their life problems. When problems do occur, they find someone to take their frustrations out on rather than deal with the issues.

Passive aggressive bullies enjoy the mental control they believe that they have over others. They usually control others through verbal abuse and insults, oftentimes with a smile. Bullies conquer their targeted victim by making them feel small while inflicting negative and crude remarks.

Bullies use aggression as a way to support their lack of social skills. They learn to solve problems by causing hurt and pain to others. In other words, they don't have to learn how to get along with other people they learn how to control them through intimidation.

During the developmental stages of life, we should look for ways that will stimulate and encourage a child's physical, intellectual, psychological and social growth. This is the time when children should be finding ways of solving conflicts and building social skills.

Children must be taught to have concern for the welfare of others. Tolerance, goodwill, kindness and a sense of justice toward others are necessary values in creating a humane society. It is necessary to help children develop a sense of time and chronology and to help them acquire a sense of place and space.

These are the areas of importance: attitudes toward self, i.e., a balanced self-concept; a concept of truth, honesty and integrity; attitudes toward others respect for the dignity and worth of every human being regardless of race, color, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, economic status or social status; and the appreciation of variety in people whose opinions, actions or aspirations might be different. In providing our children with a sense of balance and knowledge of positive social values, we are providing them with the tools necessary to not only be a part ofthe world, but to work alongside others and be a team member.

The criminal justice system is indisputably full of bullies who, among other things, never learned how to resolve conflicts and behave appropriately in social situations. We should desire that our children grow into positive and productive citizens of our society. Therefore, we must spend time to model and teach the appropriate behavior now. 

Jacqueline Y. Smart is a middle school teacher and has been employed with the Savannah-Chatham school system since 2000. She has earned her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Cambridge College School of Education. Send your questions and comments to getsmartaboutbullying.blogspot.com or jackiesmart89@gmail.com.