Monday, December 8, 2008

Ezine Question Corner

We had an enormous response to the Question Corner segment of the ezine last month. So large we cannot post all of the Q & A's in the ezine. So we will be including some of them in upcoming blogs. This is the first - with questions on bullying. For Dave's answer scroll down.

Hi, David
I really appreciate the succinct information about bullying.
However, what I really need are strategies for penetrating
the lack of empathy that seems to grow in students who
get away with bullying

PS. What do you do when you work with someone in the
mental health field who is a bully? Her needs tend to get
met at the expense of everyone else, but no one seems
to recognize it as bullying.
(Subscriber in the USA)

Hi ....
You have keyed in on an essential element of bullying ie. the inability to emotionally connect, in a mutual beneficial way, with others.
Bullying to a very large degree is due to a lack of emotional wellness. A motivating force for bullying is to secure or maintain a sense of emotional survival. Students and adults alike who feel personally unworthy, unattached, frustrated by lack of success, fear of risking to succeed etc are all likely to be a bully in one form or another.
In book The Bully Around the Corner I probably spend 75% of content dealing the emotional aspects of bullying and strategies to enhance emotional change. Then in the past six months I have written a complimentary piece called the Road Map which deals with meeting with the bully and dealing with his issues on a feelings level.
The problem one encounters when dealing with dysfunctional emotional memories (leading to dysfunctional behaviours) is that change is slow
BUT it is the only way to affect change.

If you go to you will come upon the information- order page. The Canadian Dollar is about 82 cents US right now so the price is even better than it appears. Book price today is $33.58US, the Road Map is $16.35 together they are $46.65US

As to your last comment. Bullying is without doubt the most misunderstood and misinterpreted behaviour that frequents our work places, families and communities. I just had a retired University President comment about the amount of bullying that goes on between faculty and between faculty and students particularly graduate students.

I believe very strongly that the
basis of all bullying is fear. For children and adolescents the fear is that they will not attain status. For adults the fear is that they will lose status. It is sad in the brain development arena which is our education system that there people who are bullies. In the The Bully Around the Corner book there is a section on Adult Bullies in the School. I wasn't going to put this in the book but when giving seminars and workshops the participants kept raising the issue.

Adult bullies in the workplace are at best tolerated, most often feared and are, almost to a person , the most incompetent, most inflexible and most destructive people in the system. They are however not without guile and know exactly how to finesse their way into the thinking of senior administration.
If you are willing to put your ego on hold and are able to bite your tongue there are some things you can try for the benefit of your students.
* Don't pressure her.
* Create scenarios which she can accept and run with, as her ideas.
* Try not to get yourself isolated. Such bullies are good at dividing and conquering.
* Try to get her dependent upon you, such as having her take a leadership/speaker role on some thing that only you have the expertise.
* Be her friend. Say Mildred I know you are really swamped with XYZ , could I help you there or with the ABC program that is vital to the Superintendent is promoting. Means more work for you but it also may allow you to get some of the things, you need to have, done.
* You can pray for certain things to happen. A new administrator may see through her and take administrative action, her husband will get transferred, she will retire, a university will believe her resume and take her on staff. I had an senior administrator who saw through my bully boss and had him transferred.
* Don't be afraid of being creative. These are not rational folk so there fore do not spend all your time thinking rationally.

I hope this info helps. Please write or contact me again. David Halstead, MEd.