Dealing with Bullies Resources — Imagine you are at the office one late morning when you suddenly received a call from the school principal. There has been an incident involving your seven-year-old son and another kid in school. It turned out he was bullied by his classmate and ended up crying so hard that he just wanted to go home and never come back.
For a parent whose kid got bullied, we often feel that the bully must be punished. What we don’t realize is that bullies, most of the time, are victims, too.
To properly address this kind of abuse, the school or the parents needs to look at the issue from both sides. During therapies, the bully and the victim are sometimes asked to write what they feel after the incident and surprisingly, it appears that one has the same sentiments as the other.
Before we tell our kids what to do, it is important that they also understand why bullies tend to hurt others. Kids that are emotionally unstable are the ones that usually end up being a bullying.
Dealing with Bullies: Why Compassion is Key
An effective and humane way to deal with a bully is by showing them compassion. Instead of punishing a child for their unpleasant behavior, understanding why they act the way they do is the first thing we need to consider.
According to Deborah Calla of the Huffington Post,
This is what we need to teach our children.
How to Teach Kids to Deal with Bullies Compassionately
Teach your kids that hate or fear isn’t the answer. They need to stand up for themselves without having to be rude or creating more tension. Remember that more than anything, bullies need compassion.
1. Talk about your own experience.
If your kids got bullied or even if they weren’t, share them your experience. Tell them how you survived bullying in the past and what you learned from it.
2. Help them understand.
Let your child know that bullies get hurt, too. That although it is not appropriate, there’s a deeper reason for their actions.
3. Not all bullies are bad.
Children need to understand that not all bullies are evil and not everyone who is mean to them is a bully. It is important that they know people sometimes are having a bad day and that they should not treat someone as a bully in times where they are mean to them. Sometimes, sad kids tend to be mean even to their friends.
4. Bullies are unhappy people.
Teach your kid the right way to react when someone tries to bully them. In this situation, they should not fight fire with fire. Tell them to compose themselves and confront the kid who is being mean to them in a calm way. Sometimes, a statement like, “You don’t have to be mean to me,” can do magic. Letting the mean kid know they are not allowing themselves to be bullied without having to be mean back can make a difference.
Tell your children that if the person continues to bother them, letting the authority know can be a wise decision. It can be a teacher, a guidance counselor or someone they trust. The earlier an adult gets involved, the better. While bullies can easily make them feel angry and scared, teach your kid that it is best to show bullies compassion and kindness (see infographic below).
5. The power of compassion. Parents are the role models of their children. So where would they best learn about compassion if not from them? In this social experiment by Brain Games, they showed how a little compassion can change a person’s reaction to someone who just did something mean to them. As parents, it is imperative that your kids learn to be compassionate towards others from you because learning starts at home.
Asking your kids how their day has been in school can be your best way to get a hint if they have been bullied or not. It’s also a good way to let them know that you are always there to listen and so that it won’t be difficult for them to share in case something like that happens.
Encouraging them to write down their experiences and feelings in a journal could also help them express things that they are not yet ready to discuss. That way, you know they’ll have something to hold on to when you are not around.
Teaching students to deal with bullies can be challenging, but you can always encourage them to write in their classroom journal to explore ways that they can help be part of the solution. Use these writing prompts to teach your students about dealing with bullies!
Writing Prompts to Help Kids Learn How to Deal with Bullies
- Have you ever witnessed a classmate being bullied? What did you do in that situation? What do you think that you could do better the next time you witness bullying?
- In your opinion, what actions constitute bullying? What are specific things you can do to address these actions?
- Where do you feel most bullying takes place? Why do you feel this is?
- What do you think that persistent bullying does to a person? How would it feel to be bullied for weeks or months on end?
- Why do you think it’s important to intervene when bullying? Who are some people that you could go to if you have witnessed or experienced bullying?
- What is an ally? Do you know anyone personally who has stood up for you and advocated for you? How can you be an ally to someone who is being bullied?
- In many cases, a bully will demean a person because they are different. It’s important to remember that being different is a good thing! Write about three ways that you are different from other people in your school. In addition, write about three ways your differences benefit your school community.
- A bully not only impacts their victim, but they also have an impact on anyone who witnesses bullying. If you have witnessed bullying, how did it make you feel?
- Why do you feel that some people become bullies? What are some ways you can help a bully feel better about themselves?
- Have you ever heard someone tell a joke at school at the expense of another student or of another group of students? Did you laugh? Write about how jokes can quickly become a form of bullying at school, and then write about three actions you can take to prevent jokes from being mean.
- Bullying doesn’t always have to take place in person. In fact, cyberbullying has become a bigger problem in recent years than schoolyard bullying. Have you ever experienced cyberbullying? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
- Write down three rules you can follow online that will help you keep the conversation productive and kind.
- There are ways that you and your friends can help address bullying, even if you are not witnessing bullying firsthand. Write down three actions you can take to help prevent bullying both in school and online.
- It’s normal not to get along with everyone, but you should still treat everyone with respect. Think about three people who you do not see eye-to-eye with. Now, write down one nice thing about each of those people.
- Imagine that a classmate begins to bully you by saying unkind or untrue things about you. What could you do in that moment? What could you do after the fact? Who is someone you could rely on to be an ally?
More Bullying Resources
Until next time…journal on!
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