“Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all took a stand against this.” –Katherine Jenkins
Visit StopBullying.gov to learn more about this epidemic in our schools and how you can help kids’ better stand up to bullies.
Giving bullies what they want (an angry response or cowering under their abuse) only fuels the fire and gives them the power they crave. Standing up to bullies takes practice. Talk with kids about bullying regularly and role play at home to prepare them with positive responses, and equip them to stand tall in the face of adversity. Provide kids with the tools that will keep them from being a bully’s target.
- Teach kids how to be socially confident. Shy kids are almost always a target for bullying. Give them tips on how to introduce themselves to other kids and make friends. Role playing is a good way to do this.
- Instill in them acceptable responses to bullying; being firm and confident when telling them to STOP without yelling. Using humor (“Oh I know, I’m such a dork sometimes. You should see me when I ….”); then laugh and walk away. To never cower down, or fight back with bullying tactics; this gives the bully exactly what they want. To look them straight in the eye, stand tall, and speak with a non-reactive tone of voice. Show no fear.
- Safety in numbers. Teach kids the importance of ‘running in packs’ or at least in two’s. To stay in supervised public areas on and off campus, sit in the front of the bus, and by cafeteria overseers.
- Let kids know they will get help if ‘telling’ when they fall victim to a bully or witness bullying at the very first incident and not wait until the bullying worsens. If they do not stand up to bullying at the onset and report it, it will escalate. Bullies tend to ‘test the waters’, if there are no consequences to his/her actions up front, that is a green light to carry on with the abuse. Parents and school administrators need to act immediately.
- Build confidence and self-esteem at home on a regular basis
The best defense against bullying is to be prepared. Practice verbal and non-verbal reactions to bullying at home often enough to put kids on auto-pilot. That way when they are faced with having to stand up to a bully, they will have all the tools they need.