9 Character Traits Associated with Bullying Prevention

The most important character traits students need to learn to avoid bullying

iStockphoto

When character education is part of a bullying prevention program, students are taught about good values including everything from being kind to other people, to showing respect and exhibiting self-control. The goal is to instill traits that help students become ethical and responsible while building a respectful and kind climate at school.

Building character at school not only helps students become better students, but it also helps prevent bullying.

Students are learning about empathy, gaining a sense responsibility to others and learning how to do the right thing.

While there are a number of character traits that are important to a student’s development, there are nine traits that are essential to a school’s bullying prevention program. Here is an overview of the traits most needed to make bullying prevention a reality. 

Respect. Respect is the cornerstone of a solid bullying prevention program. When kids are taught to treat others with respect, they are less likely to engage in bullying behaviors. But if they do not learn that everyone deserves to be treated respectfully, then they are more likely to engage in name-calling, mean girl-behavior and cyberbullying. They also are more likely to spread rumors and gossip as well as ostracize other students.

Kindness. If you want kids to refrain from bullying others, you have to instill the desire to be kind to others no matter the circumstances.

Sometimes the best way to do this, is to provide community service projects that give students the opportunity to exhibit kindness. The thought is that once kids practice kindness toward others, they will get hooked on the good feelings that come from being kind. Kindness also increases a student’s ability to form healthy and bully-proof friendships.

What’s more, kind teens enjoy greater peer acceptance and are less likely to bully other students.

Self-Control. Many times kids bully others because they lack self-control. As a result, it is important that schools incorporate lessons on managing anger and other negative emotions. It is also a good idea to teach kids how to control their impulses. When students lack impulse control they often have trouble regulating their emotions and controlling their actions and they are more likely to be bullies. When kids discover healthy ways to deal with negative emotions, they are less likely to be ruled by their emotions.

Friendliness. Healthy friendships are at the root of bullying prevention, both for bullies and for victims of bullying. For instance, research has shown that if students have at least one solid friendship, they are less likely to be bullied. And if they are bullied, they will recover much more quickly if they have the support of a good friend. Meanwhile, bullies are less likely to engage in bullying behavior if they have healthy ways of relating to others.

As a result, it is important for schools to develop lessons on what it means to be a good friend.

Self-Confidence. Kids who are lacking in self-confidence are more likely to be targeted by bullies. Likewise, some bullies tend to bully others because they too are suffering from low self-esteem. As a result, it is important that schools provide kids with ways to build their self-esteem. This may mean getting them involved in activities that help them use their talents. Another way to build self-esteem is to acknowledge students’ good behaviors and accomplishments.

Assertiveness. One of the best ways for teens to ward off bullying is by being assertive about what is acceptable and what is not. Unfortunately though, many students have a hard time distinguishing between assertive behavior and aggressive behavior. And most err on the side of being aggressive. As a result, kids need to learn to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas in a calm and respectful manner. Assertive people can defend themselves against bullying without resorting to aggression.

Empathy. When kids are empathetic, this means they have a high emotional intelligence. In other words, they are more than just nice or kind. They not only understand their feelings, but they understand how others might feel as well. As a result, they are skilled at managing relationships with others. Teaching kids to be empathetic involves getting them to take their eyes off themselves long enough to reflect on how someone else might feel.

Gratitude. Instilling gratitude in students goes a long way in preventing bullying. When kids are able to be grateful even in difficult times, they are less likely to engage in victim thinking or feel entitled to certain things. This in turn drastically reduces the likelihood of bullying. It also goes a long way in improving school climate.

Perseverance. Teaching kids to persevere in difficult situations helps them learn how to move beyond difficult situations like bullying. This character trait is especially important for victims of bullying, but it can be useful for bullies as well. Sometimes kids bully others because they are unhappy with their situation or circumstances. If kids are taught how to persevere instead of lash out at others, schools will effectively reduce a great deal bullying. They also will equip victims of bullying with the skills needed to overcome a bullying situation.

Continue Reading