7 Must-Do Actions for Kids Who are Being Bullied
Resolving conflicts can be very difficult for children, and their parents. Here are Naomi's 7 keys to "Bully-Proofing" your kids.
NOTE: The following steps are for verbal bullying only. If your physical safety is being threatened, seek the help of an adult immediately.
1. Don't believe a word they say. It's more about them than you. Kids who bully do it for power. They're always looking for a target. If it's not you, it'll be someone else. DON'T TAKE THEIR WORDS PERSONALLY.
2. Don't let them see you sweat; fake it till you make it. Kids who bully get satisfaction from making other people feel bad. No matter how bad you might be feeling in the presence of the person who's bullying you, act as if you couldn't care less. Then, talk to someone you trust and let your real feelings out. If the person who's bullying doesn't get a rise out of you, chances are they'll look for someone else to bother.
3. Claim your dignity. Stand tall and walk proud. Practice in the mirror and practice with a trusted friend or adult. Hold your head high, shoulders back, feet slightly apart, and make direct eye contact. Practicing prepares you for standing tall and proud when you're in the presence of the person who bullies. The more you stand tall and walk proud, the more you'll begin to feel that way.
4. Use an exit line like, "Your words are meaningless to me." Then walk away with your head held high. Don't stick around and listen to what they have to say. Remember, your job is to act as if their words and actions really are meaningless to you.
5. Take your power back by confiding in a trusted adult. Save the proof if there's been cyberbullying. Keeping bullying a secret will only make it continue. The more trusted people you have in your court, the greater the message to the person who bullies that he/she can no longer get away with what they're doing.
6. Stick around other kids and adults. People who bully look for kids who are isolated. Being around other people is your greatest protection. Kids who bully generally try to do it where they can't seen by adults or other witnesses.
7. Strengthen your natural skills and talents. Putting your focus there will give you the energy that the person who bullies is trying to take away.Whatever you're good at, do it more: sports, music, artwork, math, writing, singing, gymnastics, helping others. Developing your own special skills and talents builds self-esteem and provides an outlet for stress. Pour your energy into something healthy and life-afffirming that makes you feel strong inside and out.
Watch the video interview.
Must-Do Actions for Parents
If you're a parent, here's how you can be an upstander (rather than a bystander) for your child:
• Listen to what your child has to say. Try your best to determine if he is being bullied, or if it's actually an isolated incident or non-malicious teasing. (By the way, if your child is being teased Naomi can send you a tip sheet on what to do.)
• If it is bullying, give your child the strategies below AND talk to your child's teacher. Ask the teacher to intervene and to keep a watchful eye on the situation.
• If the bullying continues, sit down with your child's teacher and the principal. Ask that an anti-bullying program be instituted in the school. Also ask that a protective eye be kept on your child in the lunchroom, halls, and playground, places where most bullying takes place.
• Talk to other parents and build support for ongoing anti-bullying trainings and activities in your school. The only way bullying stops is when people speak out.
• Share the following anti-bullying resources with your child, her teacher, and the principal: www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov and www.bullying.org.
• Be the squeaky wheel. Keep asking for help until the problem is solved.