Conflict can arise among different people in a variety of ways and at different levels of severity. When two or more people, groups, or countries interact, their individual needs and goals may conflict. Conflict normally comes about over the pursuit of self-interests. The way that society tries to prevent conflict is by establishing laws or guidelines that regulate the self-serving behaviors of individuals and groups (Meyers, 2009). One major situation that can cause conflict is when a person feels they are being treated wrong.
As defined, justice is giving out rewards in proportion to a person’s contributions (Meyers, 2009). One instance of conflict that fits this situation is bullying in schools among children. Children are a very impressionable population within society. Peer acceptance and influence is of utmost concern among children in public and private schools. With these needs also comes the need to feel in control or gain attention when he or she feels low on the social acceptance level among their peers. This type of situation can lead to a major conflict in our schools called bullying.
Although bullying continues to be a consistent issue in the schools, steps to learning how to recognize and prevent bullying situations can lead to peacemaking capabilities among the children affected. Conflict of Bullying Bullying is one of the most difficult conflicts to resolve among school leaders, teachers, parents, and those children involved. The effects of bullying can be detrimental to the victim. Some children have gone as far as to take their own lives because they were constantly being bullied. The problem escalates when nothing is done to stop the bully or the punishment does not work.
Most school systems today have anti-bullying programs to help children better understand why bullying is wrong and what actions they can take if they are a victim of bullies. However, even with these techniques being taught, the bullying typically does not stop. Most bullies learn their behaviors young while at home. Unstable and abusive homes can encourage children to think being violent is normal and expected (Stop Bullying Now! , 2010). Good parenting is one key to preventing one’s child from becoming a bully.
Some children that have a harder time understanding coarse work or have slight learning disabilities may use their behavior to act out and gain attention and respect in other ways that is wrong. Bullies can pick out their easiest victims quickly. A bully may be the loud troublemaking student who comes from a harsh home life or he or she may be the popular student who feels a need to remain superior among their peers and gain approval by belittling others. The only way for the bad student or the popular student to feel comfortable is by demonstrating some sense of control over others.
The bully will use threats to invoke fear into his or her victim. Most of the time victims are afraid to tell on the bully. There are instances when telling on the bully does not accomplish any changes and can even make matters worse for those being victimized. The victim may begin to feel like the bully is just being rewarded after a while, and he or she may feel that their situation is hopeless Educating for Peacemaking Strategies Reaching some point of peace between the bully and his victims is a crucial goal for school personnel and parents.
It is also important that the bully understand why their behavior is wrong so they can learn to prevent it from happening again. The place to start educating children not to bully or to protect themselves from bullies is at home. Parents need to be attentive and be role models for their child. Teaching their child from a very early age the importance of sharing and caring is a first step to preventing them from later exemplifying bullying behavior. Establishment of appropriate discipline and moral background is another way to help in prevention of rearing a bully as well.
The schools can help to educate parents to recognize signs of bullying and introduce measures of prevention (Stop Bullying Now! , 2010). Parents need to become aware of the signs that their child may be a victim of bullying. Some of those include coming home with damaged or missing belongings or having bruises, scratches or cuts that they cannot explain. The typical bully victim may have few, if any, friends that they spend time with. They may suddenly fear going to school, riding the bus, or taking part in organized activities at school. The victim may lose interest in school work and his or her grades may suffer.
They will begin to be moody, sad, and even depressed. A bullying victim may also complain of aches and pains or have trouble sleeping (Stop Bullying Now! , 2010). Teachers and school officials should watch for signs of persistent teasing, extortion, insults, or the child being excluded from social interactions within groups. Intimidating facial gestures and body language can also be a sign of bullying. The victim will usually try to stay close to teachers and make frequent visits to the school nurse. They may be tardy or absent a lot and withdrawal from others.
A teacher can recognize if the student lacks concentration and has poor academic performance. Schools need to develop workshops to help inform teachers and staff about bullying and signs to look for, as well as what to do if they suspect a child is being bullied. The school should have a no zero tolerance for bullying and punish accordingly. Most students that witness bullying will side with the bully for fear they will get picked on as well. So it is not often that the victim has a chance of escaping punishment themselves in some situations. Achieving Peace with Bullies and their Victims One way of achieving harmony is through contact.
Contact has been one proven way to resolve conflict (Meyers, 2009). Although contact would seem more harmful in cases of bullying, sometimes it can have the exact opposite affect one might expect. If a bully is forced to remain in close contact with their victim and display friendly behavior toward the victim, a friendship could actually develop over time. However, contact is not the most reliable form of peacemaking when it come to bullying situations because it can either turn the victim into an ally of troublemaking behavior with the bully just so they are not the ones being bullied anymore.
Another step to peacemaking is cooperation. Interventional school services may be offered to help focus on academic and social development. Involving the child that is a bully in cooperative group work and peer tutoring can help improve not only academic achievement, but more positive social skills as well. The victims are frequently those that do not make friends easily and tend to do things alone. Introducing them into group activities and drawing attention to them may help them to become more sociable and cooperative with others (Hornik, 2010). Communication is something that tends to be lost when it comes to victims of bullying.
Bullied victims are the silent sufferers. Parents should keep up daily communication with their children and discuss school. Parents also need to suggest more social activities for their children to become involved in. Teachers need to have time provided to communicate with students to help express their fears and emotions (Hornik, 2010). Communication is the most valuable peacemaking strategy in bully situations. Conciliation, or working with opposing parties with the intention of bringing them to reconciliation, can also be an effective form of peacemaking with bully situations.
Once the bully is aware that their behavior is wrong and willing to stop, he or she should work to reconcile with the victim or victims they have came in contact with. The importance of finding a way to deescalate the tensions involved in the conflict will help bring about resolution and understanding (Meyers, 2009). Instructing the bully on proper social skills and setting up counseling with the bully and his or her parents would be one step to finding conciliation. Bullies seem to lack the ability to empathize and put themselves in the victim’s place.
Helping them understand what it would feel like to be the one being victimized could clarify why bullying is wrong. There will always be conflict arise whenever two or more people or parties are within contact on a consistent basis, but learning how to deal with the conflict effectively can keep the situation from getting out of control. Peacemaking strategies can be implemented to help stop the conflicts from occurring or escalating to the point of bad consequences. Bullying is one such conflictive situation that could be brought under control with the right education and peacemaking strategies put into effect.
Hornik, C. (2010). Dealing with bullying. Teachers Network. Retrieved from http://www.teachersnetwork.org/ntny/nychelp/manage/bullying.htm Myers, D. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. Stop Bullying Now!. (2010). Signs of bullying: Warning signs that your child is being bullied. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Warning_Signs_that_Your_Child/