When we are ready to deal with bullying from either perspective, we will be ready to accept and use the Three R’s.
Knowing how and when to say you are sorry, and MEANING it is tremendously important. There are essentially two ways to come to repentance. A person can get caught, and feel sorry they’ve been caught. This repentance is self-centered and tends to be less effective in the long term. It is not based in understanding. It is important to try to move from self-centered repentance to other-centered repentance. This happens when you accept your own behavior and begin to understand the other person, and why what you’ve done is hurtful.
The second way of coming to repentance is feeling sorry that you have been involved in something that has hurt someone else. A person feeling this other-centered repentance is able to quickly identify when they need to apologize, and mean it. A person feeling other-centered repentance is more likely to be able to work through “the three R’s” , restitution, resolution and reconciliation.
When your child is involved in bullying situations, whether as the primary child using bully actions, or as one who has been co-opted to support the bully, you must help them to understand how their action has affected the other person, and regardless of whether or not they acknowledge the hurt they have caused, they must still work through the consequential three R’s.
Repentance will often lead to an apology, but without sincerity and a change in behavior, apologies are not terribly helpful. Restitution, resolution and reconciliation may lead to sincere repentance. The following descriptions of the three R’s, and how to facilitate them are based in Barbara Coloroso’s work in “The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander” .
1. Restitution: This means fixing the problem that has been created. If an item has been damaged, it must be replaced, if damaging rumors have been spread, the offender must step up and admit to spreading untrue rumors. Physical harm is more difficult to fix, and the regaining of trust is a process that takes time. Trust is earned over a period of time of changed behavior.
2. Resolution: This means preventing another incident from happening. There are three steps to this, accepting what happened, understanding why it happened and your own emotions around it, and learning something positive from it.
3. Reconciliation: This is the process of healing alongside the person you have hurt. Because safety of the person who has been harmed is so important, they cannot be forced to be involved in a reconciliation process. This does not preclude a reconciliation process for the other child. A great question to ask is “What can I do to help the person I have hurt have a better time?” or “What can I do to help other people in general?” Coloroso identifies that this helps a child to “be good and do good”, providing an opportunity that is the antithesis to bullying actions.
To gain a fuller understanding and for ideas about how this could be applied to situations currently in the media, go to http://nosuchthingasabully.com .
When your child has used a bully action, working through this process allows your child to understand that he is just a person who did something wrong, and can fix what he has done wrong. It is not WHO he is, rather, it is simply what he has done and can repair.
Something to note, is that when you are in a situation where you are working well with the other guy, and you are creating the opportunity to be involved in good works, a Serotonin Response is created. Basically, instead of producing a lot of fight or flight adrenaline, the body is increasing its production of serotonin, the feel good hormone that keeps us from falling into a depression.
Bringing this down to a level for younger children means that you parent consistently, and use the three R’s with your children when you see bully actions. They still must go through three steps, and work through them with your help.
1. How can you fix this?
2. How can you stop this from happening again?
3. What can you do that is being good and doing good and helping someone else?
- This material is from Barbara Coloroso’s “The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander”.