To understand how to stop bullying, one must have a firm understanding of what is bullying. “A person is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed repeatedly, over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons.” There are three active players in most bullying situations. The bully, the victim and the bystander. In this article we will be focusing on the bully and effective techniques in recognizing and stopping a bully from continuing to be a bully. A bully is a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to those he/she perceives as smaller or weaker. (e.g.: Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another person).
Some effective strategies that have helped work with bullies are the following:
• HAVE A SERIOUS TALK WITH THE BULLY – this should happen immediately!!
• DOCUMENT INVOLVEMENT and participation in bullying.
• Send a clear, strong message that BULLYING IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
• Advise the bully that future BEHAVIOR WILL BE CLOSELY MONITORED
• Non negotiable/Set amount of time for behaviors to stop
• Correct the Bully’s thinking errors
• Give brief, clear description of unacceptable behaviors and consequences (consistency is key)
• Build empathy for the victim
• Remember – it is not the child that is unlikable, only their behavior!
• Expect that the bully will try to minimize and deny their actions and responsibility. REFER TO SCHOOL AND CLASS CODES OF CONDUCT in telling the bully why their behavior was unacceptable.
• Warn the bully that additional NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES WILL BE ADMINISTERED if bullying behavior does not stop. Follow through is critical
• FOLLOW UP IN COMMUNICATING with parents and with other teachers and administrators about the situation, until it is clearly resolved. Send copies of all reports to parents of the students involved and place them in the students’ files.
• CHANGE OF CLASS OR SCHOOL. If anti-bullying measures are in place and the problem persists despite these measures, moving the aggressive student can bring about change. If possible, the aggressive student should be moved before considering moving the victim. This solution should not be taken lightly, and all concerned parents and teachers should plan and consult with each other.
• Teachers should establish a positive, friendly, and trusting relationship with the class and each individual student. This is especially true for aggressive, acting-out students who may have had negative experiences with adults. It is easier for a student to accept criticism if he/she feels appreciated and liked.
• Show the class that you KNOW them – establish a connection!
• Act immediately if you observe or hear of bullying taking place.
• Initiate conversations with students about bullying.
• Be prepared to intervene.
• Don’t expect students to solve things themselves.
• Keep in mind that for the sake of the victim, never bring the bully and victim together.
• This only gives the bully more ammunition and validates the bully’s behavior
• This type of behavior should be handled by the adults– this is not a “kids” problem
Sometimes the bully doesn’t realize that the cause of their bullying stems from them being a victim themselves. Be open and listen. The following is an activity that I use in my “Breaking the Bullying Circle” assembly program. Use either a real life example or create a story about a child that has an older and younger sibling. Tell them how the older sibling bullied the middle child and discuss the emotions that came up for both the older child (the bully) and the middle child (the victim). Typically the bully feels good while the victim feels bad or sad. Explain how as a victim, we do not like to feel powerless so we, as the victim, look for another person to dominate and regain our power ie bully. The victim then bullies their younger sibling and instantaneously the victim changes into the bully. The new victim (the younger sibling) is now having a loss of power while the middle child (former victim) now feels better about themselves. It is the Bullying Circle that exists everywhere in life.
A wife bullies a boss who bullies his employess who bully their family members who bully their children who bully other siblings who bully other children and so on… To ensure that the child understands the conversation, you want to ask the child that you are coaching, “If the younger sibling wants to feel better and stop being a victim, what do they do?” The response should be that the younger child will find someone to bully. To complete the circle, ask them, “Why do you think the older child was a bully?” The correct response is that the older child was once a victim.
The coaching should be geared towards having the bully that you are coaching think about who bullies them that in turn has that child bully others. You may be surprised as to who their bully might be. Help them solve their problems and show them a different way to be. Taking a powerful stand for them will last a lifetime.
If you would like more information about our student bullying assembly programs for your school OR a teacher workshop so that schools can have a better understanding on how to work with bullies, visit http://www.bully101.com or call 732 777 1326 for more information. Be well. SHWAAAAAAAAAAAH!