Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

If each one of us untangled one string at a time...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bullying: Not Good For Grades

Students who are bullied regularly do substantially worse in school, UCLA psychologists report in a special issue of the Journal of Early Adolescence devoted to academic performance and peer relationships.

Who does their best work when they're unhappy? Once again, we shouldn't need a study to validate this fact but happy there is one. Thanks UCLA!

One more reason as parents to step up and step in when it comes to school climate. Just the fact that kids are being mistreated is reason enough...but it's academics, too. Sometimes bullying can set a tone in a classroom and that means that the majority of kids are not working to their potential.

For those that say bullying is part of growing up, I'll grant you that there seems to be a developmental need to get the upper hand. It's not abnormal that kids will try to be the powerful one. What isn't normal is that adults ignore it. It's a teachable moment. Whether you're a teacher, parent, coach or just over 21, it's your job to correct (preferably with kindness but firmness).

It's a question of balance. If more kids feel safe and secure in the classroom, it's a better atmosphere to do the best work. This is not an impossible dream. It's one classroom, home and soccer field at a time. It's teaching every child in the schoolyard or on their cell phones or computers how to be an upstander. Kids don't let other kids bully. It's that simple.

Once that message is sent, as adults we've done our job...and then they can do their job of doing their best in school.

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