We have been delivering bullying prevention programs, intervention strategies, and postvention counselling treatment services for many years. Some of these involve teaching resilience, social and emotional skills, emotional regulation and conflict resolution programs to children, adolescents, and young people, as well as working to educate professionals and parents in what works and doesn’t work, and testing out the latest approaches. In this time, we have seen a mass of research undertaken by a passionate and committed field of academics and practitioners across the globe, and we have seen a myriad of approaches come and go. There is a massive challenge in taking these approaches to scale to make a sustainable difference in the incidence of bullying. With over forty years of research and practice in the field, the reported rates of bullying has not significantly improved.
Year after year, the same issues arise as an endless stream of kids affected by bullying move through a system designed to offer quick fix solutions when more than just the latest strategies and new approaches is required. As new generations of damaged kids are subjected to this revolving door phenomenon, it has become apparent that even with the latest innovations in evidence based approaches we are not doing enough to eliminate bullying, or even to make a significant impact on reducing bullying rates.
We keep building life rafts and sending kids out into tsunamis. We need to do more than build boats to weather a storm; we need to stop the storm.
It is time for a revolutionary change.
We need more than new strategies, approaches, systems and structures; we need a whole new perspective. It is time to approach bullying from a bigger picture perspective, an understanding that if we step back from the minutiae of prevention programs, intervention strategies, and postvention treatment services, and look at bullying from a revolutionary position of working to create cultural and societal change, a world without bullying is possible. We need to look deeper, and focus our energies on developing environments that are able to sustain change.
Interventions and strategies are obviously important, but they cannot be our first or only line of defence. Wouldn’t it be great if they were only needed to catch the cases that fall through the cracks in a world otherwise free of bullying?
When the right intervention strategies are implemented in the context of this belief, we will begin to see revolutionary change. The belief in this possibility is one of the first things that is missing in the field of bullying.
Last year after our workshop presentation on creating cultural change in the world of bullying at the No2Bullying Conference on the Gold Coast, we were asked to share our approach in a feature article published by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association. (You can read the article by clicking here).
This is part of our vision at The Bullying Revolution: to find and connect with a community of people who, like us, do believe that a world without bullying is possible if we work together to share what works and learn from each other.