From this journey she developed an innovative, empathetic, and very effective way to deal with bullying.
One very unique aspect of Karen’s methods is that they acknowledge the humanity of not only victims of bullying, but of the bullies as well. She does not simply paint the person being bullied as the hero of the piece, while labeling the bully as a villain. Instead she examines the pros and cons of both domineering and submissive behaviour, and puts the power back in the hands of the victim to do something about it.
Karen’s methods take blame and shame out of the equation, and instead of people who are bullied internalizing and trying to avoid the conflict or ‘walk away’, she gives them the tools to better communicate their needs, and assert their sense of self. “Why me?” is not a helpful question, “What can I do?” is what we should be asking.
Her methods also give parents and children the tools to avoid engaging in overly pushy behaviour that can be interpreted as bullying. She does this without blame and shame as well. The key is in communicating to those who might be participating in bullying behaviour how their actions impact others.
Friendships and partnerships with bullying are unhealthy, but does that mean that the bully is a “bad person” or that they need to be cut out? Or can children (and adults) learn to develop better methods to communicate, assert their self-worth, and sympathize with each other in order to improve their relationships? Can we build better relationship skills just like we build muscles? As long as there isn’t physical assault or abuse going on, Karen asserts that, yes, we can build those skills and improve our connections.
Watch the interview to learn more about Karen Clarke’s tried, tested, and true methods to prevent bullying once and for all.