By now, you know that empathy lies at the heart of bullying prevention. Empathy opens communication and understanding while building strong relationships. Being able to empathize though is just the first step. The real goal of practicing empathy is to get people to actually care about one another. The idea of caring about others takes empathy one step further. The goal of your bullying prevention program is really to get your participants to truly care for one another. Let’s take a closer look at how you can achieve this and the kinds of things you’ll need to teach to your students.
Understand Right and Wrong
Understanding the difference between right and wrong can be complicated. Sometimes right and wrong are simple. For example, everyone knows that stealing from a store is the wrong things to do. But everyone has been in a situation where they weren’t quite sure what to do. Often times people act and then feel guilty about the way they acted after the fact. This feeling gets to the heart of right versus wrong. Guilt is what tells us as humans that something isn’t right with the way we behaved. Bullying is one of these behaviors. Bullies generally don’t feel good about their behavior when they examine it after the fact. Work with your students to help them understand the feelings they experience when they are dealing with a bullying situation. Often, their intuition will tell them the correct way to act in the future.
Everyone is presented with opportunities to help people every day. To some people, helping others is just second nature. You see someone in need and you feel the need to help them. Other people need to be conscious of these opportunities and work to develop this behavior. An important part of empathy is recognizing when someone needs help and then listening to one’s conscience about the right thing to do. Helping others is at the heart of caring, and should be a consistent message in your program that everyone is in this effort to stop bullying together.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
This is a bit of a cliche but it’s completely true. Saying that your program is going to do something about bullying is only half the battle. Following through on this promise is where the real work gets done. Saying that you care about someone doesn’t mean much unless your actions back up your words. Think about it, what shows that you care more – saying, “I care about you,” or staying up late on a work night to help someone with a problem? If you really care about someone, your actions will speak for themselves. Demonstrating this consistent behavior as a teacher or administrator is a great way to send this powerful message. Your student will emulate your behavior. Make sure that what you do matches what you say.
Appreciation, or thankfulness for others’ efforts, is an important part of empathy. Showing gratitude is a way of reciprocating another person’s caring attitude. Taking the time to acknowledge the empathy of others is a powerful way to practice empathy. As your program works towards bullying prevention make sure that this small gesture is recognized and encouraged.
Altruism is doing something nice for someone just for the sake of being nice. You don’t expect the other person to return the favor and there is nothing in it for you. Altruism is the highest form of caring and is what your program should be aspiring to. When you notice your participants doing things for one another because they care about the other person you will know that you are on your way towards bullying prevention.
We hope you enjoyed this post about Bullying Prevention and the act of caring in relation to empathy. If you would like to see how our Bullying Prevention Program can work with your population click the free trial link below.