Liberty Christian students in 5th through 8th grade, as well as parents, faculty and staff recently had the opportunity to participate in The Protector’s “Freedom From Bullying” program conducted by organization Founder and President Paul Coughlin. This unique program provides kids the tools for living lives of courage, character and freedom from bullying.
According to Mr. Coughlin, the American Psychological Association estimates that 90 percent of fourth through eighth graders report being victims of some form of bullying. Bullying is defined as unwanted, agressive behavior involving a real or perceived power imbalance and occurs repetitively over time.
The Theater of Bullying
The Protectors program is based on the premise that bullying needs a conducive environment to exist and thrive. It needs a theater. The Protectors strive to dismantle the theater by getting the “four characters” to change their role.
Bully - The number one reason someone becomes a bully is because they think they are more important than anyone else. In most cases, bullies don’t want to physically hurt others, they want to control them.
Target - Children who are fearful, timid, weak or not liked are prime targets for bullies.
Bystander - The audience of children and fellow classmates. These individuals have the potential to become accomplices by either failing to act or worse, by encouraging tormentors.
Authority - The audience of instructors, administrators, coaches and anyone else who works with youth.
Transforming Bystanders into “Alongside Standers”
Since studies show that Bystanders possess the most potential power to transform the “Theater of Bullying” into a theater of character, freedom and justice, The Protectors focuses primarily upon the potential strength, heroic desire and rescuing capacity of Bystanders by transforming them into “Alongside Standers.” By intervening on behalf of Targets, these Bystanders have the potential to help create safer and happier schools as well as character within themselves.
The Protectors also provide assertivness training for Targets, help Authority dispel the many damaging myths about bullying, and inspire children who bully to employ their power in life-affirming directions instead.
Raising Bully-Proof Kids
In addition to the programs and training available to the “characters” in the Theater of Bullying, The Protectors also offers resources for parents, including Mr. Coughlin’s book, Raising Bully-Proof Kids. This ground-breaking book in the field of parenting explains how with the best of intentions an alarming number of parents are raising fragile, passive and even narcissistic children due to over-parenting, creating prime candidates for bullying throughout their school years. The book offers a faith-based approach to raising assertive, confident and strong children who grow in courage, character and leadership. Here are some key points from the book:
- Contrary to our assumptions, kids who receive constant parental protection don’t do better in life.
- In many ways, what happens to kids at home is far more likely to enhance or destroy their safety than what happens elsewhere.
- Bullies tend to come from parents who bully.
- Children who have become fearful and timid are prime targets for bullies.
- Most bullying would not take place if it weren’t for the display of power they want others to witness.
- Courage is not optional.
- Children learn far more about courage from behavior than our words.
Ultimately, this engaging book offers stories, insights and instruction that show parents how to raise assertive (not passive or aggressive) children who are able to live abundant lives and are better able to love God and others as they love themselves. Kids of character.
Please visit The Protectors website for more information and resources.