What would you do if you saw someone being bullied?

This week we worked on What would you do if you saw someone being bullied?  There were a lot of good comments, but our practice was on speaking the words “In our school we do not treat people like that.”   These are not easy words to get out, especially in front of your friends.  Hence the reason we must practice them.  So we did some role play with our students.

What do you think? There are many ways of reacting, this is just one.  The most important one is being careful not to go along with the aggressor by taking part in making fun of another person or laughing at them when others are making fun of them.  Start with that – but then find the courage to step up and say – In our school we don’t treat people like that.

What do you have the courage to do when you see bullying?

This week in our self defense class we are working on the question,

“What would you do if… You see someone being bullied?

There are many ways that you could react – but the real question is what do you have the courage to do?

  • Do you have the courage to avoid joining in with the name calling or laughing at the target of the aggressive behavior?  Or is it easier and feel safer to be a part of the crowd?
  • Do you have the courage to report to an adult?  Or are you afraid of being called a snitch?
  • Do you have the courage to tell the bully to STOP!  Or are you afraid of being turned on and becoming the target?
  • Do you have the courage to request your friends to stand up to the aggressor?  Or are you afraid of being made fun of not going along with the group?
  • Do you have the courage to support and befriend the target or victim of the bullying? Or are you afraid of losing other friends?friendship

All of these actions require different levels of courage.  All of the parent’s or teacher’s we must remember that, all of these actions are doable if there is a culture in the classroom and school or in the family and community that requires kindness be shown to each other.

Balanced Life Skills  is teaching our students to say:

“STOP! In our school we do not treat each other like that!”

We could also say, “In our family” or “in our community”, or “on our team we do not……”

The practice of kindness, the recognition of the value of each other is what respect is built on.  Respect is the ability to see and celebrate the VALUE in ourselves and others and behave accordingly.  We should not be demanding “behaviors” if we are not also helping all in our community and families to see and celebrate the value of all people.

Whitney Kropp: Bullied Teen & Community Show Courage

Can you imagine being the person who was nominated to be Homecoming Queen only to be told that it was simply a prank by the ‘popular’ students. The boy that was nominated to be her escort withdrew from the court.

In this case the community came forward to help and to support her as she decided to attend the homecoming no matter, to stand up to the bullying. This took a great deal of courage from a 16 year old. But lets not ignore the others around her that have given support and demonstrated that when a community comes together they can turn a bad situation into one that is supportive.  See the Town Rallies Around Bullied Teen

Everyday in our own community there are many young people who are targets of bullying. Will our community work together to support all of our children? Are we willing to create a culture of peace in the community, starting with our own education about the subject and helping our children learn to focus on friendship?

I invite parents to attend one of our Parent Workshops on Bully Prevention.   They are free and our sole purpose is to bring awareness to what we can do as parents in regard to this issue.


Parenting a leader – not a bully

Of course we want to believe that our child would never be the ‘bully’.  But what if your child really is a bully?  I believe that if we were to be honest when we examine ourselves,  that each of us could find times in our lives that we have been the bully.  The reasons that we, or anyone uses their power over another person to get their way (bullying), can be varied. 

Bullying may begin because we feel powerless in another situation or that we do not have any choices.  Or it may be that we are angry about something and we are taking it out on someone else.  Or it may be that we even may have a certain amount of jealousy or contempt. 

The author of the book “ The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander” believes that it is about contempt and suggests 5 ways that we can prevent our own child from being a bully.  I have listed them in bold and then commented on them from my own experience.

Watch your own behavior. It is very easy for us to send a message to our child without even realizing the message they are receiving or how they may interpret  how they can use  the message.  The way we treat others, joke about them or comment on them can say to our child that it is ok to have ‘fun’ at another’s expence.  The use of racist’s jokes or poking fun at the  looks of another person may give our child permission to do the same to people that they meet.

Nurture empathy and sympathy. Even as adults we can be unaware of the affect our behavior or comments are having on another person.  As we carefully monitor our own behavior we can also point out when our child does a kind deed, the emotion that they feel as well as the emotion that the other person feels.  The more we can demonstrate the consequences – good and bad – of our behavior and words on others, the more we are nurturing empathy.  On the other hand, voicing or getting pleasure from another persons feeling bad or distressed does not nurture empathy and may give permission to our child that it is OK to make someone else feel uncomfortable.

Monitor TV, video games and music. I do not believe that games, music and other forms of entertainment cause mean behavior, but they can jade us to that sort of behavior and make it difficult for a young person to determine what is right and wrong.  From my personal experience I know that over the years as I studied the subject of peace and reduced the amount of movies and television shows that I watched that contained violence, I found that I was not able to tolerate it as much.  While I do not suggest that we delete media from our kids lives – I do believe that we can be sure to have discussions with our children about what is right and wrong and help them to see the affects of those acts on others – even if they were in a form of entertainment.

Teach friendship skills. One of the number one ways I like to teach victims of bullies to  overcome this is to make the bully your friend.  Unfortunately many times bullies do not know how to be a friend.  Teaching our children to be a friend can be done both by socializing them with their peers and demonstrating and point out to them our own behavior.  In addition I would suggest that providing opportunities for them to serve others in their community and discussing and letting them see the affect on the recipients of their kindness can really drive home how to be a friend.

Engage them in energizing activities. Challenge your child in activities that require them to exert energy.  I am not a believer in “if you are angry go home and take your frustration out on the pillow”, as I believe that this is only teaching us to react with violence on our pillow and one day it is possible that we could give our selves permission to do the same on someone else.  But I do believe if we are not getting enough physical challenges that have to do something with that energy and it could come out in ways that are not appropriate.  

The points that we have outlined above are good for all of us as parents whether our child or ourselves are bullies or not.  All of us can use reminders on ourselves to be kind to others and be aware of the consequences of everything that we do and say in the course of our day.

For more information about bullying go to Mr. Joe’s site – Stop Bullies.  Mr. Joe is available for Bully Prevention seminars for all age groups in your school or at his martial arts studio.