Do anti-bullying programs turn kids into wimps?

As parents, we want our kids to be able to stand up for themselves, to be resilient when faced with problems, and to overcome obstacles. A Rhode Island school psychologist says that, instead, we're teaching them to be easily hurt by words and to be dependent on parents to solve their problems. Isreal Kalman believes that school systems are bullying the bullies... by doing so, they turn bullies into criminals and other kids into victims. Kalman estimates that 90% of bullying is verbal - name-calling and insults. Most of the other 10% is pushing and shoving that causes no actual hurt. Kalman believes that aggression can't be entirely eliminated from schools, and that punishing bullies for minor behaviours fosters a dislike for other students, teachers, and the school system that leads to a negative spiral. Punishing the bully teaches the victim that people deserve punishment even if they didn't hurt you, and turns minor upsets into major crimes.

The first question Kalman asks students following name-calling is, "Do you believe it?" If the answer is "No," then there's no problem. If it's "Yes," school staff needs to work with the victim to address self-esteem issues.

You can read more here. [UPDATE: Link repaired]

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