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By Mahasin

Standing up to bullies

Slumped shoulders. Becoming distant toward family and friends. Avoiding any interaction with classmates and peers. The day to day dread of not wanting to attend school. These are just a few of the many signs of a child that is being bullied. It’s unfortunate that children would even have to endure such ordeals, but bullying is all too common. Some parents may feel helpless or simply not know what steps to take in order to help a child deal with or even stand up to a bully. There are a few easy steps that can be enforced that a child can use in order to put an end to being bullied.

Teach assertive behavior

Bullies are like smaller forms of predators, specifically those that feed off of fear. As long as the victim allows the bully to continue with their behavior without asserting themselves, the longer that victim will be a bully’s target. Children that show assertiveness and respond with comebacks that are aggressive will throw the bully off track and break down their defenses.

Maintain awareness

Kids often feel as if adults will not bother to listen or fully understand what they may be going through when they are being bullied. They may feel as if their parents don’t care. Parents should make it their priority to talk with their child. Be clear when teaching children that when making their parents and other adults aware of a bully situation, not to look at it as they are tattling or that it makes them look as if they are being a coward. Tell them that reporting any type of bullying is a powerful move and they have taken that first bold step to spare another classmate of encountering such a situation.

Act quickly

All bullying should be reported quickly. The longer a child takes to report an incident of bullying, the more power the bully will gain and the more damage he or she will cause. Reporting bullying promptly will allow the bully to realize that he has no power over any student nor will their antics be tolerated.

Reinforce words using body language

When teaching a child on how to be assertive through their communication, show the child how to make their assertiveness clear by using their body language to reinforce their words. Teach the child to keep their voice even and calm, maintain constant eye contact, make sure there is a safe distance between the child and the bully and most importantly make sure to use the bully’s name when speaking.

These simple techniques can be used to teach a child how to stand up to a bully, but some may wonder if it is a good idea for a child to put these steps into action. Oftentimes situations such as this can backfire with deadly consequences. There have been many situations where children have stood up to a bully and the situation hasn’t ended well. It is best to really sit down with the child and speak with them to find out how they are really feeling about their particular situation. Feed off the vibe the child is giving off. If the child does not feel comfortable confronting the bully, it is best not to press the issue and the educator or parent should take over the situation. Let the child know that they can always remain anonymous when reporting a bully if they are afraid of any retaliation.

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