Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bullying Hard to Define, but Still Must Be Tackled

A recent blog in the Washington Post looked at how society has a hard times defining bullying among young people, especially in schools. “Though we can all agree that bullying is wrong, we can’t agree on exactly what it is,” wrote Janice D’Arcy. But stopping bullying doesn’t involve identifying and punishing mean kids, wrote psychiatrist Stuart Twemlow, M.D., in Psychiatric News.

Bullying is a social process, not a personal one, said Twemlow, a professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and co-author with Frank Sacco, Ph.D., of Preventing Bullying and School Violence (American Psychiatric Publishing). “Shaping the child's behavior with social-skills training won’t effect change in the system until group dynamics, often unconscious, are discussed and resolved,” he said. “All schools need to take steps to mold a set of ideas or an approach to prevent bullying, adapt it to their cultural context, and get very high buy-in from staff and parents. Then a school can truly become a creative social, emotional, and intellectual learning environment.”

For purchasing and additional information see Preventing Bullying and School Violence.

Stuart Twemlow’s comments on bullying are published in Psychiatric News.

(Image: Morgar/


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