Teaching Your Charge to Stand Up to Bullies

No Name-Calling Week
We can teach children that are being bullied to respect themselves by standing up to bullies.

There is a lot of new information about dealing with bullies all over the Internet, journals, and textbooks. The current belief of many child psychologists, teachers, and guidance counselors today is to teach children to stand up for themselves.

The best way to teach children to stand up for themselves is to role-play with the child to practice speaking assertively to the bully. Have the child practice telling the bully to stop.

Here are some things Lois Flaherty M.D. of the American Psychiatric Association says kids can do about being bullied:

1. Tell the bully to stop. You can say, “Cut it out! That’s not funny,” “You are being mean,” or “Don’t speak to her that way!” Children should do whatever they can to let the bully know that what he or she is doing is stupid and mean. Many bullies may not realize their words and actions are mean and once confronted will stop.

2. If you feel like you can’t speak up, walk away from the situation and tell the nearest adult.

3. Make sure to tell your parents and teacher.

4. Involve as many people as possible, including other friends or classmates, parents, teachers, school counselors, and even the principal.

5. Do NOT use violence against bullies or try to get revenge on your own.

In How to Say it to Your Kids, Dr. Paul Coleman says what not to say to kids who are being bullied is:

  • “Just ignore him. He’ll go away eventually.” It is impossible to ignore a bully unless you spend your time in hiding, Fear is best overcome by teaching assertiveness.
  • “But you’re so tall and strong! You don’t have to be pushed around by anyone.” Size and strength are less a factor than [a] child’s personality. Shyer or more sensitive children can easily be intimidated. It is better to coach him in effective responses and praise that performance.
  • “You’re getting older now. I can’t solve all your problems for you. I’m sure you can figure this one out [yourself].” The consequences of being bullied can be devastating. At best, kids are humiliated. At worst, they harbor deep resentments and may take matters into their own hands by finding a weapon. [Children] need your full support, the support of the school, and sensitivity to the feelings of humiliation or anger that can result.
  • “He didn’t hit you, he just called you names,” of “He didn’t tease you, he just stared at you.” Don’t underestimate how intimidating non-physical forms of bullying can be.
  • Best Nanny Newsletter would like to add, “Just hit him back next time.” Violence is never an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with anger or frustration.

What do you tell children to do if they are being bullied?

Comments

  1. A previous charge- 5 at the time who was in K- had a class bully. I saw him in action quite a few times- as I always volunteered to be part of different school functions. I saw all the kids who got bullied run to the teacher and tell. And the teacher would come over and talk to him sternly and make him behave. I felt really bad for the boy- because he got labeld as a bully- and the teacher always be-rated him and many of the parents would talk about the boy and how "bad" he was. So he feel into the "role" of class bully at a young age- and my charge would tell me a story about him and how bad he was almost every day of how he did something wrong to a classmate and got punished for it.A few times she told me- she was the one he pushed- said something mean to, etc.I asked her what she did when it happened- and she said- she told on him- and the teacher made him stand in the corner. I told my charge she had to stand up for herself- and make him see that she was not going to accept being bullied.One day the class was out on the playground -and he would not let a group of girls go up the slide- one by one the girls ran to the teacher- but I just gave my charge the thumbs up while I sat on a bench a few feet away. He was standing in front of the slide steps and kept staring at her while holding his arms out to block the enterance to slide. She looked him right in the eye and said firmly -"Please move"- and gently moved his arm away so she could pass. He was shocked- but did not do anything- after that- he never bothered her again.

  2. A previous charge- 5 at the time who was in K- had a class bully. I saw him in action quite a few times- as I always volunteered to be part of different school functions. I saw all the kids who got bullied run to the teacher and tell. And the teacher would come over and talk to him sternly and make him behave. I felt really bad for the boy- because he got labeld as a bully- and the teacher always be-rated him and many of the parents would talk about the boy and how "bad" he was. So he feel into the "role" of class bully at a young age- and my charge would tell me a story about him and how bad he was almost every day of how he did something wrong to a classmate and got punished for it. A few times she told me- she was the one he pushed- said something mean to, etc. I asked her what she did when it happened- and she said- she told on him- and the teacher made him stand in the corner. I told my charge she had to stand up for herself- and make him see that she was not going to accept being bullied. One day the class was out on the playground -and he would not let a group of girls go up the slide- one by one the girls ran to the teacher- but I just gave my charge the thumbs up while I sat on a bench a few feet away. He was standing in front of the slide steps and kept staring at her while holding his arms out to block the enterance to slide. She looked him right in the eye and said firmly -"Please move"- and gently moved his arm away so she could pass. He was shocked- but did not do anything- after that- he never bothered her again.

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