“Even although children will make friends in school, they must learn that they are their own best friend.” ~Dr Ishmael Tetteh: Growing the Empowered Child.
Parents and educators in today’s world have a fundamental understanding of the importance of a child’s emotional well-being. We understand that a child’s self-image impacts the child’s success in all areas, academics; social interaction; sports; the arts and so much more.
Confident is defined as: (Webster’s)
- 1: full of conviction:certain
- confident of success
- confident that conditions will improve
2: having or showing assurance and self-reliance
- a confident young businessman
- a confident manner
Today’s market offers many many confidence building systems to teach our children, and here is the United States, there is an abundance of evidence of how well they have worked.
Our children today display a very high degree of self-confidence, which leaves me asking:
- Why do we still struggle with problems associated to bullying?
- Why are we still losing kids to drugs because of peer pressure?
If we take a closer look at bullying, we can see that the act of bullying is actually a highly confident behavior. The bully is confident of his ability to demean the victim. This tells us that confidence is not the problem.
The bullies need to gain confidence over another person, stems from a foundation of powerlessness. He/She feels powerless in some area of their lives, (it could be from an overly emotional parent, a mean older sibling or any number of occurrences that may be taking place.) so he/she feels the need to disprove that feeling by overpowering another. This creates a feeling of power in their psych, and the bully feels better.
The problem with this remedy is that it is false and therefor temporary. Once the effects wear off, the bully feels the need to do it again. This becomes a vicious cycle causing damage to ALL parties involved, The Bully; The Victim and The Bystander.
Now that we understand that the problem is an underlying sense of powerlessness, and we have discovered that confidence building is not the solution…..What Is?
Empowered is defines as: (Webster’s)
- 1: to give official authority or legal power to
- empowered her attorney to act on her behalf
- 2: enable
- 3: to promote the self-actualization or influence of
By empowering the bullies core identity, the bully will no longer feel powerless, and no longer feel the need to gain power over another, and will therefore stop the bullying behavior.
By empowering the victim’s core identity, the bully will no longer achieve the goal of ‘stealing power’ and will therefore move on to find another victim.
By empowering the bystander, we erase the fear experienced by him/her and avoid the problem of second victimization which is experienced by them. This also has an added effect of generating more support for the victim.
Generating confidence in youth gives that child the courage to go out and do whatever they choose to do.
Generating empowerment in youth ensures that they are in alignment with their core identity and therefore the child will choose creative solution over destructive patterns.
Empowering youth immunizes them against bullying; victimization; bystander fear; peer-pressure; poor body image; entitlement and so much more…
If we can raise one generation of empowered children, we move exponentially closer to a more peaceful world.
For more info on the problem of bullying and the bystander effect, please see the blog:
The Bully The Victim and The Bystander