Thursday, July 21, 2011

How To Beat The Bully

This post is bound to catch the ire of teachers and goody-to-shoe moms alike --but someone has to do it.  If you're squeamish, do look away.

Bullying is a primary schooler's nightmare.  It affects not only his self confidence but also his focus on school and desire to go to school.  The usual solution provided by authority figures is the age-old, tried and tested IGNORE THE BULLY tact.  Which, in my opinion, doesn't always work.  Not all bullies are created equal.  Not all get tired of harassing your child when your child looks the other way.  There are persistent monsters.  And for these-- there should be intervention.  The other age-old tact called TELL THE TEACHER should always work.  But sometimes, it doesn't.  Unfortunately, teachers can't always come in between every little thing.  But really, when it comes to bullying, is there really such a thing as 'a little thing'?

This is why your child needs to know how to FEND FOR HIMSELF.   Here's how.

1.  Laugh Out Loud.  What a bully really wants is a reaction.  A whimper is his favorite.  Change the game by teaching your child to laugh an insult off.  When a bully comes up to tell him he's a wimp and gets nothing but a laugh, he'll be thrown off and move away.  

2.  Make a Scene.  Some bullies are smart.  They'll poke your kids in secret so the teachers won't get to see.  Here is where your child should start to scream!  "Stop hurting me!" is a good line.  This catches the teachers' attention and freaks out the bully.  He'll stop, I guarantee you that.

3.  Witty Comeback.  "That's what you think!",  "Says you!",  "Yeah, right!", "Whatever!", "I know you are, but what am I!"  The lines you wouldn't allow at home are totally allowable when in the middle of a bullying situation.  The bully can get caught off-guard and leave your kid alone.  But, if saying any of these eggs the bully on instead, there's the...

4.  Quiet Threat.  If being loud doesn't help, be silently menacing.  Whispering "Tease me one more time, and I'll have my dad punch you..." is perfect.  Mentioning a bigger, older person makes the threat more believable and scarier.

5.  Punch!  This is the last resort.  If the bully just won't stop poking, pushing, pulling, tripping, etc no matter what your child does --it's time to REALLY fight back.  Just remind your child that the bully must be the one to make the first move.  His should only be a retaliation.  And not one that should cause bigger damage.  A physical back-at-ya will only show the bully that your child is capable of dishing it out, too.  But, only when needed.

To all those gasping in disbelief in their seats right now, I am not espousing violence.  I'm championing defense.  All parents should.

I know some of you will say, "You should understand the bully.  He has personal problems, too..."  Yeah, sure.  But this post isn't about his personal demons.  It's about a bug you want to get off your child's back.

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