OPINION: Tony Volk discusses strategies to deal with Vladimir Putin’s bullying

Brock University Professor of Child and Youth Studies Tony Volk had a piece recently published in the Hamilton Spectator about strategies that could be used to contend against the bullying tendencies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He writes:

“It has been one year since Vladimir Putin ripped a page out of the classic schoolyard bully handbook and employed it in the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian President saw something he wanted and used force to try and take it from a weaker peer — like an international shakedown for lunch money.

Tragically, that bullying has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people and injured and displaced countless more. And it’s showing no signs of slowing.

While the consequences of Putin’s actions go far beyond the scope of the schoolyard, his behaviour was, and remains, a clear analogue of what bullying researchers like myself study in schools across the world.

The bad news is that we know bullying is hard to stop. Ignoring the problem rarely works.

Bullying is goal-driven. Most bullies won’t stop until they get what they want.

Bullying also thrives on power imbalances, meaning victims often have less power. Thus, relying on them to win an uphill battle is a bad idea. Unfortunately, unlike what Hollywood movies may have you believe, the underdog rarely comes out on top without help from others.

Instead, we can employ what works in the schoolyard to help impact the outcome: empower victims, raise the costs for bullies and encourage bystanders to get involved.”

Continue reading the full article on the Hamilton Spectator website.

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