Stand Up Against Bullies

  1. Obedience to authority
  2. Unjust systems
  3. Power & control
  4. Moral disengagement
  1. Anonymity — usually by acting in a group
  2. Group pressure — going along with the group

What Can I do?

First, recognize that it’s more complicated, both socially and behaviorally, than the trite, simplistic slogans we hear.

  • to question authority
  • to politely demand complete, sensible, and fair justifications for things
  • not to be asked — or subjected — to hypocrisy in rules or enforcement
  • to be fully vested with basic human rights: privacy, security of persons and effects, and due process.
  • to exercise the fundamental human right of self-preservation (self-defense), when necessary, and without fearing or being subject to punishment for their survival instinct.
  1. Teach children to disobey authority that is unjust. They must learn to distinguish between authority that is based on expertise and sound justifications for actions and outcomes — and authority based on demands and force. Only through this path will children break from brutish authority or mindless group to do the right thing.
  2. Teach children to appreciate human diversity, and to disagree with stereotyping and labeling — because those things have a de-humanizing effect, reducing our natural inhibition against violence (more details on this in a future post).
  3. Teach children to learn the names of every person they meet. This promotes an environment of connection, spreads feelings of esteem, and raises natural inhibitions against violence. This important social skill offers powerful rewards throughout life.
  4. Teach children to admit mistakes or change their opinion based on new evidence. This helps them learn to break free from a course toward bigger problems merely because they don’t want to admit a smaller error. Adults MUST model this by doing it themselves.
  5. Teach children to value their independence at least as much as they value their belonging to a group — that there are times their own ideas should lead them to leave a group. Teach them that they will always have access to a different group. Model that behavior — for instance by quitting a job where unethical practices are in play.
  6. Teach children personal accountability for their actions and outcomes– even to small things. This is best done by modeling it yourself: Give that extra change back to the store clerk.



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