Setting an example
With the huge rise of online bullying and with Anti Bullying week, on the theme of “Choose Respect”, commencing 12 November, we need to think about why so many children treat each other with little respect.
It is interesting to see the recently conducted survey by the Anti Bullying Alliance. Their research talks about the worrying numbers of children (41% of 11-16 year olds) who had seen adults bullying each other in the past 6 months – 21% face-to-face, 18% online and 20% in the media. Not only do children recognise that this sets a bad example, but the report shows 97% s would like to see more respect shown between adults.
I have been talking for quite some time about adults embracing positive behaviour and how, if we change this, it could reduce the number of children being bullied. I am starting to believe that, if we started with the grownups, we really could make a difference. I see frequent posts on social media speaking about people in a negative way. I have seen posts calling people “selfish” for parking their car incorrectly; another calling a person an “idiot” for jumping in front of a train and causing mayhem with transport. When our children are being bullied, parents post their frustration online, which I do understand, but this is contradicting the very advice we give children at school; telling them not to respond or retaliate to bullying.
Have we lost the ability to feel compassion and think about why people might act in certain ways? Are we becoming a nation of opinionated campaigners who can’t tolerate an opposing viewpoint or debate an issue without throwing insults? I do believe this strongly and I regularly talk about this subject in my workshops. Adults are worse than children when it comes to posting online. It is no wonder that children have little respect for each other when, in fact, they are just mirroring behaviour that they have learnt from the adults around them.