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Ways to Help Kids End Bullying
By Signe Witson
This week, I have the good fortune of attending the International Bullying Prevention Conference in New Orleans, LA, and interacting with champions for children from all across the world. What an energizer it is to hear about professionals’ successes in reaching and teaching kids who bully, kids who are bullied, and kids who feel helpless when they watch cruelty unleashed. What a comfort it is to meet adults who are creative, committed, and determined to make schools and communities safer for young people. And best of all, what an honor to be immersed in a group of people who knows—because they see it first-hand, day in and day out—that the real antidotes to bullying are not found in policies and procedures but rather in person-to-person connections, grounded in kindness and empathy.
“Pie in the sky?” you might wonder. “No, science!” I assert.
Neuroscience shows us that kindness changes the brain and that school-based programs that specifically integrate the teaching of kindness and empathy into the academic day note real reductions in bullying behavior. What follows are seven simple, practical, easy-to-implement ways that kids can use connections to bring an end to bullying:
1. Stand with the person being bullied
Encourage your young person(s) to simply walk over and stand close to someone who is being bullied. Often, just the act of standing with a vulnerable person can be enough to change the mood and stop the bullying. It also lets the person being bullied know that he or she is not alone.
2. Memorize a simple statement
Many kids tell me that they want to stand up for others who are being bullied, but they don’t know what to say. I make it a practice to help kids think of what I call “Bully Bans,” or simple, quick, casual statements such as, “Cut it out, dude—that’s not cool,” or “Stop it.That’s mean.” The key is in letting kids generate their own statements, so that their language feels comfortable and natural to them. Then, I help them role-play saying their simple, original words in a confident, casual voice.
3. Change the subject
Teach kids how effective it can be to stop an episode of bullying in its tracks by doing something as easy as changing the subject. When a child wants to quickly deflect the pressure from someone who is being bullied, he or she can simply ask aloud if someone knows the date of the math test or the score of the football game.
This is an excerpt from the original story "7 Ways to Help Kids End Bullying". Please visit Psychology Today for full article.
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