Bullying and Emotional Intelligence

We need to join the dots!

Two seemingly unrelated articles on separate pages in, The Sunday Age, caught my eye this morning and as I stopped to think for a moment and join the dots the link became blindingly obvious.

In the first article Brodie’s law to be used to cut out school bullying, the Victorian Government states that it ‘will use Brodie’s law – which amended the Crimes Act to allow  10-year prison terms for workplace bullying – to protect principals, teachers, and students who are subjected to severe cases of online abuse.’

Why has it got to a stage where we need to be threatened with dire legal consequences if we are not nice to each other? Is it because there has been a breakdown in the willingness to maintain even simple standards of ethical behaviour – (just think of the recent London riots)? It seems that some people, not just teenagers, think that they can do or write anything and get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for it.

Adults as well as teenagers often cite: ‘it was a joke’ or ‘I didn’t really mean it’ or ‘he did it first’. These explanations are given as if they are a legitimate defence but worse still as if they are a moral vindication. It is now rarer that the response is ‘I am sorry, it was the wrong thing to do’.

And so when I read the second article, The case for decency, written by the highly regarded Australian team, Patricia and Don Edgar, the following sentence leapt off the page :

‘What the world needs now is more emotional intelligence and an ethical base for  intelligent behaviour.’

It sounds so simple and it is simple. Educators and parents together must unite and ensure that our children reflect on their own behaviour. Emotional intelligence is a combination of insight, self-control and empathy. No matter what the other person has done, it does not, except in extreme cases of self-defence, warrant the child responding in the same manner. Thinking before we act, restraining our impulses and doing unto others as we would like them to do to us is the essence of emotional intelligence and not too hard!

Our parents said it more succinctly: ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’.

About Renata Rowe

Deputy Head of Campus/Head of Secondary, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus This blog is the School's way of helping our parents and teachers understand and experience the cyber world that their children live in. We post stories about the latest cyber safety issues, and the latest social mediums that their children and teens might be using. We believe that teaching children and teens to be good Digital Citizen from a young age will protect them and their reputations. Our parents have been delighted and have subscribed so that they can receive our updates - we post about once or twice a week. So subscribe - its easy to do, just enter your email address in the box in the top righthand corner of the home page and posts will automatically be delivered to you.
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