Why Teaching Kindness Prevents Bullying

Discover why teaching kids to be kind is effective in bullying prevention

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In today’s society, it is not uncommon to hear phrases like “kindness counts” or “random acts of kindness.” In fact, these sentiments are growing in popularity. Aside from encouraging people to be kind to others, these ideas have gained momentum because people are discovering that it actually feels good to be kind to others. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that kindness has many physical, emotional and mental health benefits.

For instance, the good feelings people experience when they are being kind are produced by endorphins. These endorphins activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure and social connection. What’s more, these feelings are so pleasurable that they often lead people to engage more kindness. As a result, teaching kids to be kind can go a long way in bullying prevention.

How Teaching Kindness Reduces Bullying

Too many times, bullying prevention programs focus on the negative aspects of bullying. The programs simply inform kids what is considered bullying and encourage them not to engage in these activities. But researchers are discovering that effective bullying prevention programs actually teach kids how to be empathetic, kind, respectful and grateful.

The thought is once you get kids engaged in doing kind things for others, they will become hooked on the feelings they get in return and repeat the kind behavior.

As a result, the positive behavior that is expected from students becomes a way of life. And schools find that they have in turn reduced bullying, changed school climate and created a warm and respectful school.

Research also has shown that kindness increases a student’s ability to form healthy and bully-proof friendships.

What’s more, kind teens enjoy greater peer acceptance because they are well liked by other students. And, when teachers foster inclusive and kind environments in their classrooms, kids perform better academically. There are also fewer issues with popularity and cliques.

Being kind also improves a child’s sense of self-esteem and belonging, which can reduce the chances that she will be bullied. Even the smallest acts of kindness can improve a child’s sense of wellbeing, increase energy and promote optimism. Kindness to others also can reduce the likelihood that kids get stuck in victim-thinking after being bullied. Instead, they are so focused on helping others that they no longer focus on the bullying their experienced.

Other Benefits of Kindness

Being kind to others who are less fortunate than them, allows kids to put things into perspective. They learn to appreciate the good things they have in their life. And suddenly, what they are experiencing doesn’t seem as horrible as it originally did.

Kindness also helps kids feel good about who they are and it can boost mood, ward off depression and reduce stress. Studies have shown that kindness increases serotonin levels, which impacts a number of things in the body including learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and even digestion.

What’s more, the positive feelings kids get from being kind enables more creative thinking, which in turn impacts academics. And, there is some research that suggests that acts of kindness can serve as a natural antidepressant in some cases.

Why Schools Need to Incorporate Kindness into Learning

Countless studies show that social and emotional learning is just as important, if not more important, than academics. The most successful students often are those with the highest emotional quotients.

As a result, if schools want to prevent bullying and prepare students for the world around them, they need to be addressing matters of the heart just as much as they are teaching math and science. It is the only way to turn out students who can make a positive impact on the world around them.

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