Stop Bullies

We need to stop bullies. Bullied children need support and strategies, bullies needs counseling, teachers need in service programs, the school Board needs effective policies, the administration needs to enforce the policies and the community needs to be involved.

Prevention skills are necessary to stop bullies. They are best learned through hands-on practice. Students need to have the training and opportunity to rehearse how to handle situations as they arise. They need coaching using positive role play to stop bullies.

Bullying takes the fun out of school, the setting for most bullying. A simple walk down the hall, to the washroom, or locker is a frightening event that can worry a child all day.

Children who are bullied may experience low self-esteem and depression. Those doing the bullying can go on to more destructive and antisocial behaviors as teens and adults.

Bullies, who often have been bullied themselves, may pick on others to feel powerful, popular, important, or in control. Often, they antagonize the same children repeatedly. It’s clear that we need to stop bullies.

Bullying is widespread. According to a U.S. 2004 poll of children, 86% of more than 1,200 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls polled said they've seen someone else being bullied, 48% said they've been bullied, and 42% admitted to bullying other kids at least once in a while.

If your child is a victim of bullying, you can help reduce intimidation and fear by listening and offering to help. If your child is the bully, you'll need to emphasize that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. You’ll need to find out the reason for this behavior and develop strategies to stop bullies.
For help to stop bullies, go to Effects of Bullying and The Bully.

For specific help with bullying, go to —
What is bullying?
Bullying Statistics
Bullying Facts
School Bullying

For support with building child self esteem go to Child Self Esteem and Building Child Self Esteem

Helping Young People Stop Bullies

    Show Children how to —

  • 1. Walk with Awareness, Calm, and Confidence

    Kids are less likely to be picked on if they walk with calm and confidence, keeping their heads up, back straight, taking assertive steps, looking around and moving away from other kids who might give them trouble.

    Show your child the difference between being passive, aggressive and assertive in body language, tone of voice and choice of words. Have your child walk across the floor, modeling this behavior. Be positive as your child gets it. Coach your child through the process. Say, "That's great!" "Now take bigger steps", "Look around you" "Straighten your back." And so forth.

  • 2. Leave in a Powerful, Positive Way

    Coach your child to veer around the bully in order to move out of reach. Remind your child to leave with awareness, calm and confidence, glancing back to see where the bully is.

    Practice saying with your child a normal tone of voice statements such as, "See you later!" or "Have a nice day!" while calmly and confidently moving away.

  • 3. Set a Boundary

    If a bully is following or threatening your child where she or he cannot escape, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary.

    Role play a scenario. Pretend to poke your child in the back. Do this gently. Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front of the body like a fence, palms out and open, and say "Stop!".

    Coach your child to use a calm, clear voice and polite, non aggressive words. Model this for your child and give praise during the process. If your child is being bullied, he will have some emotional trauma. The role modeling may be difficult for both of you and for your child could trigger unpleasant feelings and memories of the actual bullying.

    Children need support to learn these skills. The idea is that your child takes charge of his or her space by moving away and, if need be, setting boundaries as soon as a problem is about to start. You want to have your child prepared to stop the bullying before it happens.

  • 4. Use His or Her Voice

    If your child does get into a situation where somebody is trying to push or hit his head, you could practice by holding your child gently and acting as if you are going to do the action gently. Coach your child to pull away and yell loudly, “NO!”. Coach him or her to say "STOP! I don't like that!"

    Coach your child to look the bully in the eyes and speak in a firm voice with both hands up and in front like a fence. Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help. To stop bullies is absolutely possible.

  • 5. Protect Feelings From Name-Calling

    Show your child how to turn mean comments into positive ones. For example, if someone says, "I don't like you," your child can throw those words away and say to himself, "I like myself." If someone says, "You are stupid" he can say, "I'm smart." If someone says, "I don't want to play with you," he can say, "I will find another friend."

  • 6. Speak Up for Inclusion

    Isolating and shunning is a major form of bullying. A child can pretend to be a bully who wants to exclude. Have your child walk up and say, "I want to play." Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.

    Try to find out from your the reasons kids give for excluding him or her. Use those reasons in role modeling practice. For example, if the reason is, "You're not good enough," your child can practice saying "I'll get better if I practice!" If the reason is, "There are too many already," your child might practice saying, "There's always room for one more." If the reason is, "You cheated last time," your child might practice saying, "I did not understand the rules. Let's make sure we agree on the rules this time."
  • We need to stop bullies with many strategies.

  • 7. Be Persistent in Getting Help

    Children who are being bullied need to learn to be persistent in telling teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening clearly and calmly even if these adults are distracted, even if asking for help has not worked before. Learning how to use polite firm words, strong body language and voice tone even under pressure is a learned skill. We can all learn how to stop bullies.

  • 8. Using Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

    Children need to know when they have the right to hurt someone to stop that person from hurting them. Fighting is a last resort when your child is about to be harmed and cannot leave to get help.

    Involve the school with your home life skill coaching and if you are coaching your child to defend him or herself, send a note to the school to this effect. Ask that your note be kept in your child’s school record.

    Learning physical self defense helps children build confidence. A more confident child is less bullied. Have your child practice self defense moves such as kicking someone in the shins, pinching someone's leg or upper arm, or hitting someone in the chest. You can practice in the air or by holding a sofa cushion.

How Adults Can Stop Bullies From Hurting Others

Bullying can be prevented and stopped if enough adults take action. Everyone deserves to feel emotionally and physically safe at school, at home and in the community.
  1. 1. Address Bullying

    Bullying behavior — physically hurting, threatening words or gestures, physically hurting, name-calling, mimicking, harassing, or shunning is destructive behavior.

    Being the victim lowers self esteem. Being the bully allows a child to build socially hurtful behavior. Witnessing bullying creates an upsetting environment for working, learning and enjoying life.

    Potential bullies, victims and witnesses can learn assertiveness rather than aggressively in dealing with problems. Passivity and ignoring the problem is no option either.

  2. 2. Make Bullying Against the Rules

    Make sure that your child's school has a clear written Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy that everyone agrees to uphold. Work on preventing bullying behavior at home and at work.

  3. 3. Teach Kids to Act Aware, Calm, and Confident

    Bullies target kids who act frightened or defensive. Alert, assertive attitudes help victims and witnesses stop most bullying before it starts.

  4. 4. Help Kids Target Denial Skills

    Target denial is an official martial arts technique that means, "Don't be there!" Target denial means not giving a bully a physical advantage by being too close. For example, kids can move away from someone who they know is a problem.

  5. 5. Show Kids the Protective Power of Words

    Kids say that trying to ignore something hurtful doesn't work. Stop serious name-calling with the same commitment you use when stopping serious hitting. Teach kids to protect themselves from hurtful words by imagining throwing them into a trashcan instead of allowing them to enter their hearts or their heads.

    Show kids that insults and rude behavior need not intimidate them. Kids need to learn how to avoid letting what others say alter their opinion about themselves or affect their choices. Teach kids how to set clear strong verbal boundaries in a respectful assertive way with people they know. They can stop bullies this way.

  6. 6. Help Kids Learn How to Defend Themselves Physically

    To be effective in using other bully prevention tactics, kids need to know that they can protect themselves physically. As a last resort when they cannot leave or get help, kids need to know if, when and how they can hurt someone else to stop that person from hurting them.

  7. 7. Teach Kids to Get Help

    Be the person your kids can come to with problems. Be calm. Avoid overreacting and belittling. Don’t lecture. Children need safe havens and a positive non judgmental adult to listen to and advise them.

  8. 8. Give Kids the Chance to Practice

    Kids learn more by doing than by being told what to do. Let them practice avoidance skills at home or in a school program. This is a way to stop bullies.

More school supervision reduces bullying. Bullying festers where teachers, parents and other authority figures are less present. Some schools with bullying problems have helped reduce the issue by adding Closed Circuit TV cameras.

Unfortunately, bullying behavior is part of the human condition. With parents, teacher, school administration and community sensitivity to the issue and strong action on the part of all players, we can stop bullies now.

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