A really cool survey just came out. Youth Voice Project is the first known large scale research project reaching out to kids to specifically pinpoint what strategies work and which ones make things worse when it comes to bullying. More than 11,000 teens in 25 schools have participated.
Kids were asked about the possible ways of handling bullying. If you were ever bullied, you might identify with the following choices:
• Hit Them or Fight Them
• Make Plans to Get Back at Them
• Tell the People to Stop
• Walk Away
• Pretend It Didn't Bother You
• Tell an Adult at School
• Make a Joke About It
• Remind Yourself that It's Not Your Fault
• Tell a Friend
• Tell an Adult at Home
Read Youth Voice Project and find out which one of these works and which don't. Fascinating.
Stan Davis, author of two great books, "Schools Where Everyone Belongs" and "Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention" is co-author of this study. After reading his first book, I thought there's hope to improve this situation. He's never shy about getting down to the misconceptions and telling you what it's really like in a school.
This study is rather brave. It's honest and gives incredibly helpful information. The take away for me is that adults need to know a lot more about handling bullying if we're going to be the ones that kids come to for guidance. Some of the things we've been doing or saying don't work. Plain and simple.
Just one example: after reading this and especially if you're a teacher, you'll never want to tell a child "not to tattle" again. The numbers don't lie. It backfires.