8 Strategies for Standing Up to Bullies

I stumbled on a very useful article by Amy Kuras, giving advice for standing up to bullies.  I hope you find these suggestions very useful.

DO victim-proof your child. Kids who are different in some way tend to be targets, whether they have trouble learning, look goofy, or even are seen as being “stuck up.” It’s a fine line to walk between not stifling their individuality and making them feel like there’s something wrong with them. Help them develop social skills and enough confidence to deflect the bullies. If your child has a learning problem, enlist the school to help you help him. A counselor can teach better social skills. And if your child is kind of funny-looking, remember that everyone spends part of childhood in an “awkward phase.” Remind your kids of this if anyone picks on them for their appearance — and don’t forget to say you think they are perfect-looking the way they are!

DON’T mistake normal ebbs and flows of friendship for bullying. Bullying is behavior that is intentional, repetitive, hurtful, and comes from an imbalance of power between two kids or groups of kids. Someone not inviting your child to a birthday party isn’t necessarily bullying; someone announcing to the whole class who they invited and didn’t invite may be.

DO teach them assertive behavior. Teach your child how to take calming breaths, look the bully in the eye, say, “Stop doing that,” and walk away — or maybe they can turn it around on the bully and laugh, as if their behavior is just too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Bullies expect their victims to just roll over and take it; most won’t keep it going if they face resistance.

DON’T tell them to fight back. This is likely to backfire on your child in a big way … a classic bully move is to goad someone until they lash out, at which point the bully goes running to the nearest authority figure and plays the wounded party. As satisfying as it would be to punch that mean kid right in the nose, it’s just going to make things worse and will bring your child down to the bully’s level. And, um, this goes for you too, Mom.

DO encourage them to seek help from others. Make sure they know you’re proud of them for telling you about it. It takes a lot of courage for a kid to admit he’s being victimized. Talk to the teacher, the principal, and/or a school counselor. Most have finally gotten the message to take bullying seriously. It might also help your child to “buddy up” with a friend in the hall, the lunchroom, or the bus; if the bullying has isolated them to the point that they are socially radioactive with their peers, ask an older kid not involved in the drama to keep an eye on them. And stay on school administrators if you’re not getting satisfying results.

DON’T tell them to just ignore it. Saying this is like saying to them that you plan to ignore it too. And if your child could ignore the bullies, he would. Bullies want a reaction and will escalate their behavior until they get it.

DO talk to your child about bullying before it starts. Even if your kid never is victimized and never picks on someone, the bystander has an important role to play by letting the bully know that behavior is not okay. Encourage your child to stand up to bullies, even if he doesn’t like the kid being victimized. After all, bullies make life harder for everyone.

Most importantly, DO make sure your home is a place where your children can feel loved and accepted for who they are. Encourage them to pursue their passions through after-school activities that can help them meet more like-minded kids, boost their self-esteem, and gain confidence. That’s the best way to stop your kid turning into a bully’s OR victim.

Click on the link to read my post about the mistreatment of a girl who stood up to bullies.

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4 Responses to “8 Strategies for Standing Up to Bullies”

  1. barbganias Says:

    These are all important steps to “bully-proofing” your child. The New York Times had an article on the effects of bullying on academic performance, which I wrote about yesterday on my blog. It is a multi-layered issue.

  2. Carl D'Agostino Says:

    All these things are excellent suggestions. But you don’t try to negotiate with three big boys that will hold your face in the toilet and enslave you as their pigeon and there are repercussions for “telling”. So the thugs have superior strength and they often have weapons of some sort. If Miami Dade system averages 125 weapons incidents/confiscations a year even with random searches. This encourages “good” kids to bring a weapon to school for protection or retaliation. I would estimate that half the girls in my 11th grade class had a single edge razor blade secured somewhere in their belongings. I do not have any answers. Violnt places stay violent in inner city schools.

  3. Shaira Leah Gomez Says:

    As parents, you can’t be with your child every second to stave off bully attacks. But experts say that you can teach your children how to effectively handle themselves and the situation if they become victims of bullying. The idea of my children being harmed, bullied or taunted is not something anyone wants to consider. I was scanning through a few blogs and found this article on a Safety Service for my children. It seemed interesting so I checked it out on Facebook and actually got 15 days free. Here’s the article:http://safetrec.com/

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