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Bully-Proofing Our Kids - Teach a bully proofing strategy

Written by Michele Borba Ed.D.

Teach a bully-proofing strategy. What may work with one child may not with another, sobully proofing your kids it's best to discuss a range of options and then choose the one or two your child feels most comfortable with. Here are six of the most successful strategies to help kids defend themselves:

1. Assert yourself. Teach your child to face the bully by standing tall and using a strong voice. Your child should name the bullying behavior and tell the aggressor to stop: "That is teasing. Stop it" or "Stop making fun of me. It's mean."

2.Question the response. Ann Bishop,who teaches violence prevention curriculums, tells her students to respond to an insult with a non-defensive question: "Why would you say that?" or "Why would you want to tell me I am dumb (or fat) and hurt my feelings?"

3. Use "I want."Communication experts suggest teaching your child to address the bully beginning with "I want" and say firmly what he wants changed: "I want you to leave me alone." or "I want you to stop teasing me.?"

4.Agree with the teaser. Consider helping your child create a statement agreeing with her teaser. Teaser: "You're dumb."  Child: "Yeah, but I'm good at it." or Teaser: "Hey, four eyes." Child: "You're right, my eyesight is poor."

5. Ignore it Bullies love it when their teasing upsets their victims, so help your child find a way to not let his tormentor get to him. A group of fifth graders told me ways they ignore their teasers: "Pretend they're invisible","Walk away without looking at them," "Quickly look at something else and laugh," and "Look completely uninterested."

6.Make Fun of the Teasing. Fred Frankel, author of Good Friends Are Hard to Find suggests victims answer every tease with a reply, but not tease back. The teasing often stops, Frankel says, because the child lets the tormentor know he's not going to let the teasing get to him (even if it does). Suppose the teaser says, " You are stupid."  The child says a rehearsed come back such as: "Really?" Other responses could be: "So", or "You don't say," "And your point is?" or "Thanks for telling me."


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