We Must Treat the Cause and Not Only the Symptoms of Bullying

Well-meaning people are making progress in confronting the student-bullying problem across the world…..and yet most of these professionals are not looking closely enough at the real problem to find the best solution.

Here is one example: An educator encourages the bullied students to find ways to calmly stand their ground when being bullied. This can be a way of diffusing the bullying behavior. It seems to work at least in the short-term, but the one bullying could start the mayhem all over again in the next week or two.

Here is a second example: A graduate student finished a masterful review of the bullying literature in the psychological sciences. She reported that a key research topic presently is to examine the coping strategies of those being bullied. Those who seek social support from friends and teachers cope better with the effects of bullying than do those victims who cry.

Help the victim, yes, but what about those who bully? How can we help them and what help do they need?

We suggest the untried—untried—theme that may seem counter-intuitive today, but will appear obvious to many in the future: Yes, help the victim, but also help the one who is bullying to get rid of his or her anger, which is fueling the bullying.

Those who bully have been victimized by others. Help them to reduce their resentment toward those who were the victimizers and the bullying behavior will melt away. Why? Because wanting to harm others comes out of a position of profound woundedness within. Angry people are wounded people and angry, wounded people are the ones who lash out at others, even when these “others” did nothing whatsoever to provoke the verbal or physical attack.

We point principals, teachers, and parents to our anti-bullying forgiveness program intended to melt that anger in the one who bullies…..so that victims are no longer victims…..because the one bullying has no need any more to throw his wounds onto others. Forgiveness heals those wounds.

Who is ready to give this a try?


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Categories: Anger, Bullying, Children, Counseling, Our Forgiveness Blog


  1. Nathaniel says:

    We need to expand the vision of bullying. Right now the focus is too narrow. I am an educator and so I understand the need for healing the anger in the heart of those who bully. Well done.

  2. Samantha says:

    This is important and at the same time it runs counter to the established thinking in education. It is time to change the established thinking.

  3. Penelope says:

    Samantha, I am with you on this one. Schools could do a lot of good by consider a change in their anit-bullying approaches which are too narrow at present.

  4. Brian says:

    It would seem so simple to add this to a school’s program of anti-bullying. I think it will happen. It just takes time to change institutions’ thinking

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