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Bullying Prevention Skills and Techniques for Children

Child bullying is a big problem in our schools today. The maindifference between child bullying today from the past is the nature ofthe bullying and the violence that occurs in the aftermath.Cyberbullying is becoming a popular and more destructive form ofbullying than traditional bullying. More children today are bringingguns to school to seek revenge on others. Child bullying has beenaround and will probably remain for years to come. Unfortunately, wedo not have the power to rid the world of bullying. The answer to theissue of child bullying rests within us, especially the victims ofbullying. Victims of bullying are never responsible for being bullied.On the contrary, victims of child bullying have the power inthemselves to think, behave, and react in ways that limits oreradicates bullying. As a society, we spend much of our energyidentifying and punishing the bully that we fail to spend adequate timeempowering the victims of child bullying. We should spend more of ourenergy on the things that we can control rather than the things that wehave limited or no control over. We need to teach children about thepower that they already possess. Let me elaborate on a few issues thatparents should teach their children regarding bullying prevention.

Let’s first talk about the characteristics of child bullying.Typically, bullies and their victims share the same characteristic –low self - esteem. It just depends on whether they internalize orexternalize their feelings that will determine if they will become abully or a victim of bullying. Typically, negative situations andevents in the child’s life can trigger low self - esteem. Externalizingfeelings can cause some children to become bullies as they attempt tocontrol their environment to compensate for their lack of control intheir family. For instance, if the parents of a child are divorcingand the child is very upset about the divorce, he/she might feelpowerless in his/her ability to keep his/her parents together. As aresult, the child might take out his/her rage on others for purposes ofseeking control to compensate for his/her lack of control over theirparents’ impending divorce.

Given the same scenario (parental divorce), some children internalizetheir feelings by not talking or acting out how they feel. Instead,they become depressed and withdrawn feeling like a failure. Often,they develop a negative image of themselves and their physicalappearance. They look at others and the world around them with shadedlens. When a bully validates this child’s feelings about him/herself,this child often reacts negatively to the validation because he/shefeels the bully is correct in their interpretation.

Often times, children with high self - esteem do not respond negativelyto bullies because they already know that negative personal statementsmade by the bully are untrue and therefore are unworthy of attention.

As human beings, our behavior, thoughts, and feelings are neverdictated or controlled by others, situations, and events unless weallow this to occur. Simply said, others, situations, and events cantrigger a reaction based on what we think. For example, if I do notwant to go to work today and my car has a flat tire, I might experiencehappiness because I do not want to go to work. On the other hand giventhe same event (flat tire), I might want to go to work today to takecare of some unfinished business. Because the flat tire might delay oreliminate my chances of getting to work, this situation might cause meanger. How could the same event in both situations cause two differentfeelings? It was not the event at all that triggered the feelings. Itwas what I thought about the event that triggered my feelings.Therefore, manipulating the way we think can alter how we feel. Wehave the power to take ownership and control over our thoughts. Wehowever have limited or no control over specific events, situations,and the behavior of others. Sometimes, we attempt to control events,situations, and others but become frustrated when our attempts fail.

Now, how does the paragraph above apply to the issue of bullyingprevention? The main goal of bullies is to get their victims toexperience fear, anger, or sadness. Once their victim demonstratessigns of these emotions via the words he/she says, body language, oractions, the bully has complete and total control over him/her. Thebullying will continue until the victim no longer verbally and/orphysically displays fear, anger, or sadness in response to thebullying. The bullying will end once the victim responds the oppositeof what the bully expects.

How do we get children to react the opposite of what the bully expects?This is where role - playing comes in handy. Parents should regularlysit down with their children helping them learn to react the oppositeof what bullies expect. Often times, this task is much easier when theparent knows what hurtful words or phrases bullies say that makes theirchildren feel fearful, angry, or sad. Using these hurtful words and/orphrases in role - plays will emotionally prepare children when they areapproached by bullies.

It is also important to teach children that they have the power tochange or affect the agenda of bullies by the words they use. Forinstance, if a bully calls a child ‘stupid’, the child could defuse thebullying by stating to the bully, “That’s nice”, “How about that”, “Oh,well”, and so forth. The worst thing that the child could do isrespond by telling the bully that he/she is stupid or make othernegative statements. A negative response will only inflame thesituation encouraging further bullying.

In addition, parents should teach and role - play with their childrenspecific forms of body language that differentiates a child with highself - esteem from a child with low self - esteem. Body languagecommunicates feelings more so than spoken words. If a child yel

Author: Mark Lakewood, CEO
Website: Building Strong Families

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