Self-confidence is the secret weapon to warding off bullying behaviors. “Bullies don’t pick on confident children,” says Tracie Arlington of Play it Safe, Defense Strategies for Women & Children. “By practicing options and appropriate responses, your child will be equipped to diffuse a situation should it arise.”
Arlington suggests using these six power protectors (the acronym WINNER) to role-play various bullying situations with your child to increase their confidence level and self-esteem:
Walk away from the bully. Say nothing. Keep walking and don’t look back.
Ignore the comment. Ignore the bully as if she weren’t there. Go on your way.
No Sassiness. Don’t say powerless words like, “So!” “Whatever!” or “I don’t care!” Attitude only attracts attitude.
Nice. Change the subject and say something nice to the bully. Then keep walking.
Escape. Refuse to fight. Say “Stop. Leave me alone.” Attract attention with your voice. Keep the person two arm lengths away.
Report it. If you see someone being bullied, tell an adult who can help. That way you won’t be labeled a snitch. If you are in a group, get the kid who is being bullied and walk him away. Don’t get into it with the bullies. There is power in numbers.
After discussing several scenarios, reinforce the response your child should take. Your child’s voice is his biggest weapon. The louder the better, noise attracts attention. Find more information or to sign up for a class with Play it Safe, visit www.playitsafedefense.com.
What IS Bullying Exactly?
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include an imbalance of power and repetition.
Imbalance of power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Claire Yezbak Fadden is a freelance writer and mother of three sons. Follow her on Twitter @claireflaire.
Published: October 2014