There are some great resources out there to address bullying issues
I find that most of them help children identify their own feelings of being bullied and not as many teach children to recognize when they are the problem, not just the victim. I hear of too many class discussions or kids trying to work through hurt feelings where everyone wants to talk about how they have been hurt or bullied but no one believes they have contributed to the problem. I get more frustrated when I see and hear parents perpetuating this - everyone says their child has been the victim and is not able to imagine that at least some of the time, their child has been the bully.
Learning to express your feelings is a skill. I think many families and schools are doing a good job of teaching and allowing their children to speak up and say how they have been hurt or bullied.
I think recognizing and accepting that you have hurt or bullied another is another skill altogether and I don't see as much evidence that this is being taught. This is what I want to find resources for, especially for 10-12 year olds.
I know that children who bully have often been bullied themselves. I am just getting tired of everyone talking about their own victimization and feelings and no one being helped to accept responsibility for bad behaviour.
I am at my wit's end though with my child trying to say, "When you did X it made me feel Y," and the other child always retorting with some version of
"You are so mean!"
"You are such a bully!"
"Don't be such a drama queen!"
and when the situation is addressed by an adult the child starts to cry and talk about how someone else is bullying her and shifts the attention on to herself and her needs and her own inappropriate behaviour gets forgotten.
I do not see my children as perfect angels who never say or do an unkind thing. I expect them to take responsibility for their own words and actions. I know everyone messes up sometimes. I do not see the issue in black and white but I am extremely frustrated at how often I see other parents and children treating it this way - my child is either the bully OR the victim and never both and everyone wants to be the victim.
Does anyone know of any resources out there to help teach children how to recognize the impact of their own behaviour on other people? How about learning how to accept other people's feelings as legitimate and not just a personal attack? How do we help kids move from the important piece of speaking up for themselves to also being able to hear hard truths from other people? Our school is trying hard but from what I hear the bullies are all identifying themselves as victims and nothing is changing.
I really like the book Raising a Thinking Preteen for this type of thing. This book walks you through things to do as a whole family and changes for the whole family to make together. I learned things while reading it about my own responses and I have been excited to use it with my dd. One of the children the author follows in the book was a bully and her style seemed to do a lot for her. She also has a program called I Can Problem Solve that is geared towards schools. This is her website: