Bullying Prevention: The Power of Empathy

But we seem to be missing something here. With all of the focus on how individuals can combat bullying, we have forgotten the power of context and the social norms that set the precedence for bullying behaviors to emerge in the first place.

We can’t just focus on turning kids from bystanders to “upstanders” whenever bullying occurs: We also need to focus on changing social norms and school climate so that bullying doesn’t occur. Rather than simply asking children to go against the tide, we need to change the tide itself.

One of the best places to start is in schools. The critical role of school climate in reducing bullying has been well supported, but recent findings pinpoint specific dimensions that may have the most impact on student interactions and experiences in school.

One powerful way of changing social norms is by building empathy — at home and in school.

by Jennifer Kahn