Article 2


Parents: Is your child being bullied?


This is the second in a series of articles that I hope will be helpful to parents, youth and children  


Last article focused on why a child would bully a fellow child. From the bully’s perspective it is about, at least temporarily, feeling good in one way or another. Their objective is to get a reaction, often in front of peers. This reaction is expected in one of two forms, flight, which looks and feels like cowardliness to both the bully and bullied or fight. The bullied child fights back either verbally (yelling, screaming) and/or physically (push, hit, kick or worst). 


With either reaction the bully gets what he/she wants and feels powerful, in control, and in one way or another, good.


The best action is to make the bully’s very 1st efforts feel futile, and awkward. The victim needs to give the bully an unexpected reaction that makes them feel uncomfortable and in one way or another, bad. Children, just like adults, do not like to repeat experiences that make them feel bad.


This is not the same as ignoring a bully. Ignoring a bully looks and feels like flight to the victim, to the bully and to peers.


Fights usually lead to more fights, and escalate the problem. Both the bully and the victim usually receive consequences from; injury, to school suspension, to action by the justice system.


Flight, (ignoring or being demonstrably “hurt”  ie running away, crying , complaining to teachers, parents etc.) often leads to the victim becoming a magnet for more bullying, often by observers of prior bullying.


Over and over we have tried this with kids, both bullies and bullied, and all agreed that, while not perfect, it works. We call it right.  

Right involves using the skills* below the very second the bullying starts.

(ie the minute the bully stands too close or uses any tone that implies intimidation of any sort). And it takes practice in advance.  Parents should role play with their child over and over looking for skill development.



·         Expressionless face. Do not smile or laugh

·         Maintain eye contact (longer than usual, but not too long)

·         Calm, slow, controlled voice          

·         State a very clear message- not in response to the bully, but a statement of what you want. (ie Go away. Get lost.)

·         State message, long silence, state message, long silence 3x’s (Be directive)

·         Do not be drawn into what the bully is saying.  Do not respond to insults.

·         Stay with your message and when ready (not while being goaded) walk away.

·         Use a lot of silence and intermittent eye contact

·         Use a well-balanced physical stance, incase pushed or punched. The less the reaction to any physical contact the better.

·         Children: Tell an adult you trust about the problem. Not necessarily

for them to take action, but for them to give advice, practice the skills with you and give emotional support


By doing the above your child will be giving the bully a surprise The bully will feel uncomfortable for engaging with your child and your child will feel less intimidated.              



The next article will concentrate on prevention, do’s and don’ts for parents wanting to support their child.  In addition how to create a culture in our schools of; non-violence, non-intimidation, and respect for others. 


Questions may be emailed to: bully_back_off@yahoo.com or check outthe web site:  www.bully-backoff.zoomshare.com