A Bullying Experiment you CAN Try at Home

Have you seen Ikea’s “Bully a Plant” experiment? Try it yourself with your children or students with this great lesson plan and see what you learn.

“Bully a plant”, a live experiment with two IKEA plants and with thousands of children, was held to help to raise awareness around Anti-Bullying Day on May4th in the Middle East.

The live experiment involved IKEA taking two of its very own plants and installing them at the school, where one plant was fed compliments and words of encouragement, while the other was verbally bullied with hateful words. The students were encouraged to record their own voices to share their love with the first plant and give words of criticism to the second, either first hand or via social media interaction. After 30 days, the results spoke for themselves – while the complimented plant continued to thrive, the bullied plant was visibly struggling, and looking dull with droopy brown leaves.

Both plants were treated strictly the same: with the same amount water. Exposed with of sunlight, water and fertiliser. The only difference being, we said words of criticism to one plant, and words of encouragement to the other, for a span of 30 days. By the end of the experiment, the impressive results spoke for themselves.

More info: youtu.be

What would happen if you bullied a plant for 30 days straight?

IKEA decided to test it out to help raise awareness around Anti-Bullying Day on 4th May in the Middle East

They placed two of their plants in a school

Where one plant was fed compliments and words of encouragement

While the other was verbally bullied with hateful words

Both plants were treated strictly the same

They both received the same amount of water, sunlight and fertilizer

The end result speaks for itself

Watch this video to see the experiment in detail:

Here’s what people had to say about the project

Source: IKEA Asks People To Bully This Plant For 30 Days To See What Happens, And Results Are Eyeopening


Discussion Questions: Chapter Twelve

“Social and Emotional Learning”

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a concept teachers use, because you can’t teach academics if kids don’t know how to get along. If your school speaks frankly about SEL, that is great news. Here are some discussion questions for parents.

“When children have learned social and emotional skills, they experience fewer negative emotions, are better behaved in school, can pay closer attention to academics and manage themselves better, have more quality friendships, and are happier.” (p. 192)

Q: Can you recall the five core groups of social and emotional competencies listed on page 193? (It’s okay to peek!) Which do you think are most important?

“Building emotional skills is a positive psychology technique. It involves identifying strengths and building upon them, rather than focusing on weaknesses and berating or excusing yourself. (p. 194)

 Q: As a child, who taught you how to identify your emotions? Did anyone? Do you have a high or low “EQ?” Do you talk easily about your emotions and those of others, or is that difficult for you?


“The practice of mindfulness can improve attention and develop emotional regulation. Mindfulness has been used in hundreds of hospitals around the United States to treat stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and AD/HD.” (p. 198)

Q:Parents and teachers often complain that children are not paying attention. Has anyone ever told you to “pay attention?” Did anyone ever teach you how to do that?

“Pro-social skills refer to positive ways in which people interact with others. Children with pro-social skills … can make friends and maintain healthy relationships; they do not bully others.” (p. 201)

Q: What do pro-social skills and behaviors—social intelligence—look like? Give examples. Do you agree with Corinne Gregory (p. 49) who says we focus too much on ‘anti-bullying’ when we should be focusing on ‘pro-social skills’?

Every parent must also help their children with emotional intelligence—managing emotions. “Parents who have trouble accepting their feelings can have a hard time accepting their children’s feelings. The process of parenting awakens us to all of our lost feelings and gives us another chance. Getting comfortable with all of your feelings can help you re-parent yourself as you parent your child.” (p. 206)

Q: What does the word “re-parent” mean to you?

“Emotions can be viewed on a continuum. At one extreme is an emotional desert of numbness or apathy. When emotions are blocked, unprocessed, unheard, or stuffed inside, kids can lose their ability to be caring; yet those who don’t care may become destructive—to themselves (e.g., cutting or suicide) and to others (violence). At the other extreme is emotional flooding, having tantrums and meltdowns.” (p. 195)

Q: As a child, did you experience either of those extremes? Do your children? Talk about a time when something like this happened. Try the “Emotional Coaching” techniques on page 208 on your child.

@Kristen Caven from Beyond Bullying workshop

@Kristen Caven from Beyond Bullying workshop

Putting feelings into words puts brakes on upsetting feelings. It’s hard to talk about anything without nouns, so the first thing to do with feelings is name them. Naming feelings weakens their power and keeps you from getting lost in them.” (p. 207)

Yelling at or punishing kids who are acting out may quiet them down, but it doesn’t change their emotional state. The feelings get stuffed inside; they will remain there until something triggers them to come out.” (p. 207)

Q: What happens inside you when you talk about feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or a counselor?



This question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

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