Last time I talked about what bullying is and how to the difference between it and what is called “bothering”.
Let’s take a second to review what bullying is…
…unwanted aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. (defined by www.stopbullying.gov)
Once we know what it is and can identify it we can begin to deal with it effectively. One key perception that we must keep in mind is this…
BULLYING IS A GAME!
So, I have a question for you…
What happens when you feed a stray cat?
It keeps coming back for more food.
The only way to get rid of it is to stop giving it what it wants.
The same goes for dealing with a bully.
When we react out of fear or anger we give the bully what they want…power over us…and they will keep coming back until we stop giving them what they want. As with any ‘game’ there are rules and when we know the rules we can play the game to WIN!!!
Rule #1…It is about POWER.
The bully wants to feel like they have power and can control you. Studies have shown that the bully is likely being victimized in other areas of their life and they feel like they have no control; so they look for someone over whom they can have power to feel in control. It does not excuse their behavior but it can help us understand what may be going on. When we know this we can have compassion for the bully as a person and not let what they say bother us…which leads to rule #2.
Rule #2…Be RESILIENT
We can look at the dynamics of bullying with the help of Stephen Covey. Between any stimulus and our response to it we have a choice.
Stimulus ———- CHOICE ———- Response
Bully’s Insults ———- CHOICE ———- Our Reaction
So, when the bully taunts us we can react and get upset and let the insults hurt our feelings. When this happens…we “feed the cat” (give our power away) and the bully keeps going. LOSE THE GAME.
OR…we can choose to not let the taunts bother us. We can be resilient and let them bounce off of us like nothing happened. This lets us keep our power and stay in control. We cannot control whether or not the bully is going to insult us; we can only control our reaction to it. We must be mentally strong. WIN THE GAME.
Rule #3…Have SELF CONFIDENCE
Bullies are like predators in nature. They look for the weak and timid. So how we carry ourselves is extremely important. If we look weak and timid then the bully will have us in their sights. But if we look confident they are less likely to mess with us. I am not saying it won’t happen…remember, we cannot control what they do only how we react…but anything we can do to reduce the chances is good.
Body language is important.
Shuffling along with our head down and shoulders slumped shows weakness. Try it. Move like that and see how you feel. This is the posture of a victim. The bully sees this and the hunt begins. LOSE THE GAME.
Walking with our head up, chin down, eyes forward and back straight shows confidence. Try this one and see how you feel. This is the posture of a victor. The bully sees this and may think twice. WIN THE GAME.
How we speak is important.
A victim will speak with a weak, soft, unclear voice. LOSE THE GAME.
A victor will speak with a strong, loud and clear voice. WIN THE GAME.
Which one do you think the bully is going to target?
Remember, if we can see bullying as a game and understand the rules we can equip our kids with the resource to “play the game” in a way that helps them WIN!!!
Yours for Bullyproof Kids
4420B S Noland Rd
Independence, MO 64055