The mission of Be a STAR, WWE’s bullying prevention initiative, is to encourage young people to treat each other with respect through education and grassroots initiatives. Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.
Raising awareness about the destructive impact of bullying helps. But it’s not enough.
Sharing research on the benefits of positive climate is great. But it’s not enough.
Anti-bullying programs are well intended and offer important information. But they’re not enough.
Yet it is common knowledge among educators, parents and mental health professionals that bullying is bad for health — physical and mental. So what do we do?
Evidence shows that many bullying programs don’t work to stop bullying because youth lack the skills necessary to navigate the complexities of their lives. Evidence also shows that what does work is building skills and changing the social climates in which youth spend time. This is the work of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
What does Social and Emotional Learning offer?
When children learn how to identify, understand and effectively express their emotions, they have alternatives to aggressive behavior; they build awareness to walk away when someone is mistreating them; they know their own limits and boundaries and can communicate that to another; and they can express and assert themselves when necessary.
With the foundational skills of RULER, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence approach to Social and Emotional Learning, Clubs can do more than intervene — they can build a culture of respect, kind communication and co-regulation, where children are encouraged to be their best selves and where effective ways of expressing and regulating emotions take the place of unnecessary aggression on the one hand or social withdrawal and being frozen with fear on the other.