Building Resilience in Children to Prevent Social Aggression: The Principles of Behavioral Sciences

*Corresponding author: Percival Longworth*, Israel Kalman and Jennifer Peluso

Abstract

Most anti-bullying programs today are punitive. They rely heavily on schools enforcing procedures based on reporting, investigating, punishing, and labeling bullies. This paper challenges the notion that bullying behavior can be regulated effectively by legislative bodies and policymakers. Schools are communal ecosystems featuring unique social norms and behaviors. For example, in school, a student reporting a classmate to authorities may be labeled a ‘snitch’ because ‘tattling’ violates accepted social norms. Furthermore, the current legal definitions of bullying are confusing and complicated. In many cases, even trained lawyers have difficulty identifying acts of bullying. We suggest, the better approach to preventing bullying in schools, even the workplace, is to ground interventions using psychological frameworks to strengthen children’s social and emotional competence. We contend that social development models provide the psychological frameworks society needs to develop emotionally stable children and

adults while providing them with the internal fortitude to bounce back effectively from adverse situations like bullying.

Keywords

Bullying prevention; Social-emotional learning (SEL); Social development; Emotional strength; Social aggression; Anti-bullying; Self-awareness; Social-emotional competence; Power imbalance; Intentional; Columbine; Intervention.