Bully-Proofing Our Kids - Anti-bullying ideas

Written by Michele Borba Ed.D.

Rehearse the strategy with your child.

Once you choose a technique, rehearse it together so your child is comfortable trying it. The trick is for your child to deliver it assuredly to the bully -- and that takes practice. Explain that though he has the right to feel angry, it's not okay to let it get out of control. Besides, anger just fuels the bully. Try teaching your child the CALM approach to defueling the tormentor: 

  • Cool down. When you confront the bully, stay calm and always in control.Don't let him think he's getting to you. If you need to calm down, count to twenty slowly inside your head or say to yourself, "Chill out!" And, most importantly, tell your child to always get help whenever there is a chance he or she might be injured.
  • Assert yourself. Try the strategy with the bully just like you practiced.
  • Look at the teaser straight in the eye. Appear confident, hold your head high and stand tall.
  • Mean it! Use a firm, strong voice. Say what you feel, but don't be insulting, threaten or tease back.

Like it or not, most kids are bound to encounter children who are deliberately mean. By teaching kids effective ways to respond to verbal abuse, we can reduce their chances of being victims as well as helping them learn how to cope more successfully with future adversities. Of course, no child should ever have to deal with ongoing teasing, meanness and harassment. It's up to adults and kids alike to take an active stand against bullying and stress that cruelty is always unacceptable.

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Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally-recognized consultant on increasing childrens' self-esteem and achievement and is the author of 18 publications. This article is excerpted from her latest book, Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing (Jossey Bass).

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