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Beyond Bullying

Bullying is a serious issue constantly impacting young people and their families.  We believe Positive Discipline can help people address bullying by creating respectful relationships for individuals to thrive.  We’re proud to have partnered with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff and Dunbar Productions for a video that examines the impact of bullying behavior.


Take a look at this powerful 4-minute video about bullying and how Positive Discipline addresses this complex problem’s root cause.  If someone in you know is experiencing bullying, read more below about ways to find support.  You can also contact us to learn more at or call (831) 476-7284 x107.


Learn more about bullying
Understand the behavior: Bullying is a response to our culture of violence

Our culture perpetuates bullying by sending the message that power over others, whether achieved through violence or coercion, is somehow acceptable.  This kind of violence and control ranges from disrespectful treatment of women, children, and other marginalized social groups, to the demeaning messages found in mainstream music, video games, and other media about what power looks like and how it’s supposed to be used. 


In family settings, we as adults/parents may unknowingly display bullying behaviors, mistakenly believing that it’s advisable to use control and punishment to achieve obedience and order.  We should wonder, though, if obedience is a quality we want to instill in our children, and we should challenge the idea that in order to get people to do better, we first must make them feel worse.  Positive Discipline helps us dig deeper by considering the beliefs behind the beliefs of how we raise our children and what we teach children about using their own power.  PD looks closely at how exerting power over children in disrespectful and/or hurtful ways is precisely what leads to other behaviors like bullying.


Bullying at schools

In local school settings, youth have reported that those who bully others are often regarded as powerful and popular–a clear result of what society has taught them about power.  Bullying, however, isn’t just a local problem.  National statistics now show that 1 in 3 school children are being bullied.  Exacerbating the problem is that in our internet-accessible society, cyberbullying among young people has become a particularly pronounced and vicious form of bullying.  Young people are increasingly using social media as a means to spread rumors and expose personal information about people, and the results of that can be devastating (especially in the cases where bullied children/youth have resorted to suicide).


With a full third of our children facing bullying and experiencing a lack of safety in their families, schools, and communities, there is an ever-growing concern about their ability to learn at school and trust people (including parents and other adults).  

Adults have to take effective action with two things in mind:

  1. Children and youth experiencing bullying are powerless to stop bullying without the intervention of trustworthy, caring, and dedicated adults.

  2. Those who engage in bullying have often experienced bullying themselves, and they, too, need the support of adults.

How we all can use Positive Discipline to stop bullying

We all have a responsibility to children to break the cycle of violence and bullying.  Through Positive Discipline, we can more effectively protect the safety and well-being of those affected by bullying while teaching, guiding, and understanding those engaging in bullying.

Positive Discipline help us adults to address bullying by encouraging us to:

  • Create environments where children/youth feel safe to talk about what’s happening

  • Honor everyone’s need for belonging, significance and influence

  • Know that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child (especially those who bully others)

  • Discover the contexts and mistaken beliefs behind misbehaviors 

  • Focus on connection before correction when attempting to resolve issues

  • Listen to others first in order to help them listen to you

  • Engage everyone in problem-solving ideas

  • Care for and calm ourselves to help others to care for and calm themselves

  • Model mutually respectful relationships to teach what respect looks and feels like



Check out these other resources to learn more about what we can do to help stop bullying:

Other Resources. You can also contact us for more information.

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