Proxy Problems and Bullying

First, let me explain what a proxy problem is. A proxy problem is the problem you think is your problem, but isn’t really your real problem. It’s standing in for your real problem.

Anti-bullying work tends to focus on proxy problems. A lot. Here’s why it’s a problem.

a person wearing a suit and tie

Proxy problems don’t yield good solutions. As Henry Ford said, if he had asked people, they would have said they wanted faster horses. Faster horses is a proxy solution to a proxy problem.

I have an online learning program and book devoted to how to avoid proxy problems and proxy solutions.

Basically – the technique is to ask yourself why. Why do you want faster horses. So we can get their quicker. That’s the real problem.

Back to bullying and the proxy problems associated with bullying.

People focus on proxy problems. The thing they think will work to fix their problems. In the anti-bullying field, convening victims to try and figure out what they want and need – is similar to this. They want faster horses. Or, rather, they want bully to stop. But they don’t know how to make it stop, so they talk about what they think will work, but unless they are an expert in how to make unwanted behaviors stop, their suggestions probably won’t work. They are searching around in the dark, hoping for anything that shows promise.

What we should be doing is figuring out – how to stop unwanted behavior.

Clearly, our existing approaches – aren’t working. Asking victims of bullying what they think would help, is like asking people what they want for transportation. They are going to ask for faster horses. Which is fine, but it’s not really a real solution.

It’s time we try something different and – look at a different field of science. In the case of bullying, how to stop unwanted behaviors – which is something that is well researched and known in the field of behavioral psychology and operant conditioning.

Apply the science, that most people don’t know – and suddenly- you have a radical solution that looks nothing like what has been tried before, because – up to this point, people have been making assumptions about a) what the problem is and b) what will work to fix it.

There is great value in empowering victims to speak up and increase awareness about a problem. But creating awareness to a problem doesn’t fix the problem. It’s not enough.

This website is free. You can sign up for free and access all the materials on here to learn about the behavioral science behind how to make unwanted behaviors stop. If you want bullying behavior to stop, this is the knowledge you need.

If you know others who want to make bullying behavior stop – share this website with them.