Face Bullying With Confidence
8 Kidpower Skills We Can Use Right Away
by Irene van der Zande, Founder and Executive Director, Kidpower
Most harm caused by bullying is preventable! This list of coping skills is excerpted from an article entitled Bullying – What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, by Irene van der Zande. Do log onto her website to read the full article (www.kidpower.org).
1. Walking with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence
People are less likely to be picked on if they walk and sit with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence.
2. Leaving in a Powerful, Positive Way
Coach your child to veer around the bully in order to move out of reach. Remind your child to leave with awareness, calm, and confidence. Point out that stepping out of line or changing seats is often the safest choice.
3. Setting a Boundary
If a bully is following or threatening your child in a situation where she or he cannot just leave, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary. Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front of the body like a fence, palms out and open, and say “Stop!”
4. Using Your Voice
If your child does get into a situation where somebody is trying to push or hit or knuckle her or his head, you could practice by holding your child gently and acting as if you are going to do the action gently. Coach your child to pull away and yell NO! really loudly. Coach him or her to say “STOP! I don’t like that!” Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help.
5. Protecting Your Feelings From Name-Calling
One way to take the power out of hurting words by is saying them out loud and imagining throwing them away. Help your child practice throwing the mean things that other people are saying into a trash can. Have your child then say something positive out loud to himself or herself to take in. For example, if someone says, “I don’t like you,” you can throw those words away and say, “I like myself.”
6. Speaking Up for Inclusion
Being left out is a major form of bullying. Exclusion should be clearly against the rules at school. A child can practice persisting in asking to join a game. Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.
7. Being Persistent in Getting Help
Children who are being bullied need to be able to tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly and persistently even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before. Coach your child to keep going and say: “Excuse me, I really need your help.”
8. Using Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort
Children need to know when they have the right to hurt someone to stop that person from hurting them. At Kidpower, we teach that fighting is a last resort – when you are about to be harmed and you cannot leave or get help. Learning physical self defense helps most children become more confident, even if they never have to use these skills in a real-life situation.
About the Author
Kidpower Founder Irene van der Zande has been featured as a child safety expert by USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, and theKidpower Safety Comics series.