This week, I want to explore a male perspective on bullying. I decided to interview one of my staff to learn more about his perspective. As Bulldog Solution increasingly begins working in more schools, my staff and I gain insight on what is really happening and how we are actually addressing it. Below is staff member Bobby Hickson's perspective on bullying.
Kortney: What have you learned so far on bullying?
Bobby: I have learned what bullying looks like amongst today’s youth compared to what it was like when I was in middle school and high school. Social media has completely changed “the game”. Adolescents reveal so much of who they are through their Facebook accounts. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does provide more opportunities for a bully. Bullies have access to victims’ pictures, statuses, comments, etc.
Kortney: Yes, I agree with you. Students also like to post videos on you tube. I have seen my fair share of disturbing stuff; from cries for help to recorded fights, students apparently do not comprehend the power of the Internet and how it can be used to harm.
Kortney: What advice or ideas would you share with the community?
Bobby: Embody the change you want to see in everyone else. We are all role models for each other, and we are all constantly learning and adapting to each other. We have no control over other’s actions, but we do have control over ourselves. Model the behaviors you want to see in everyone else. Eventually, people around you will adapt.
Kortney: This is so important. As adults, we often just tell youth what to do and we don't have them think about their actions or teach them how to problem solve. Having them learn about how their behavior impacts others and how they have the power to choose gives them some fresh perspective. I like how you said people around you will eventually adapt. Students are used to instant gratification and immediate results. That is often why some of the bullying strategies don't work. We need to start taking the time to teach youth about using different strategies and how it will be a positive impact over time. That is something I still try to get through with our groups. As I say after every program, "Our job is to plant a seed and hope that we have them think a little differently".
Kortney: What thoughts do you have as a male staff member working for Bulldog Solution?
Bobby: More males need to take a stand against bullying. Adolescent males are naturally drawn to male role models. I have connected with many of my male students through sports. They recognize that I enjoy the same activities as them, so they are more receptive to me as a role model.
Kortney: You are right, and often the boys that bully do lack of some male support at home. The worst is when the father figure encourages aggression or does not respect women; this creates a resistance with that student towards the female staff members. So connecting to youth is probably the first step to establish trust and respect. I would say that in any program a connection to the students is needed to start creating some change.
Bobby Hickson is completing his Masters in Counseling Psychology, and has been with Bulldog Solution since the Fall of 2012. He runs anti-bullying and anti-violence programs in grammar, middle, and high schools for Bulldog. He often jokes that he is like a big kid. That is one of his endearing qualities that assist him in connecting with students. Bobby also really loves to learn - his famous quotes are " Why don't you teach me something" or "Teach me what you know". He is truly passionate about helping youth develop strong leadership skills and social skills. Bobby is all around a great guy and we are lucky to have him on our team!
The purpose of this interview was to learn more about how as adults, female and male, we understand and perceive bullying. Everyone has different experiences and it is when we share our stories that we can connect and learn from each other.
Until Next Time...
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