The anti-bullying crusade was launched after the April 20, 1999 Columbine massacre when two seniors at Columbine High School in Colorado murdered 12 students and one teacher while injuring 21 others. The anti-bullying programs that developed focuses on the bully.
Anti-bullying programs are dependent on getting the bullies to cease their bullying ways. However, thousands of research studies regarding bullying show bully prevention programs focused on the bully don’t work. Here’s why:
First, no one thinks of himself as a bully. Also, those accused of being a bully are in denial. Finally, bullies don’t ask for help, their victims do.
The logical solution is to educate victims as to what to do when they are being bullied. Here are a few ideas for victims and their parents to solve their bully problems.
Developing a close relationship with your child is very important, especially if your child is being verbally bullied. If a child is a victim of verbal abuse they will feel comfortable talking to their parents. If verbal bullying is reported to a parent, think about letting the child participate in organized social activities to develop new friendships and alliances. These relationships will enhance their social skills. When social skills improve a child’s ability to handle negative remarks hurled at him by bullies will develop and become more sophisticated.
Bullies tend to hone in on the weakest link to lash at with physical aggression and threats. If a child is a victim of this kind of bullying, the best way to handle it is to teach him self-defense. There are plenty of self-defense courses offered to children so that the next time a little boy or girl is attacked he or she can defend themselves.
If a child is being bullied at school or in their neighborhood, taking the direct approach may work best.
First, instruct your child to look the bully in the eye and ask questions like, “Why do you think you have the right to treat me this way?” or “Do you think you are behaving fairly?”
The victim of a bully could even offer help. “Perhaps you need assistance with something. Can I help you?”
Humor disarms bullies and empowers victims. Let’s say a bully makes fun of a child’s shirt.
Bully: You’re mamma dresses you funny. That’s some ugly shirt.
Victim: Thank you for your interest in my shirt. Would you like a picture of it to hang on your wall at home?
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington are one of many researchers casting doubt on the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs in schools. They concluded that students were more likely to have experienced bullying at schools that had anti-bullying programs. So what can victims do?
Psychologist Izzy Kalman, founder of Bullies2Buddies endorses educating victims on handling bullying threats themselves. You can visit his website for simple bullying solutions that will work for your child.