Bully Prevention Tip Number 9: Practice Those Bullying Prevention Coping Skills Over and Over Again! I am constantly on the look out and jotting down new sayings and actions to teach my students how to stop bullying and mean teasers.
My students have to practice at home, in front of the mirror. They often practice on their siblings or with mom and dad. These skills must be used or else they will become lost!
My nineteen year old son and I still come up with bullying coping skills together. He tells me of how kids get picked on in the dorms at college.
He says, “The alpha males are always trying to stir stuff up.” He gets teased because he studies a lot. But he knows in order to graduate and go onto graduate school that is what you have to do.
Yes, it bothers him, but he uses bullying coping skills. He knows that these “mean teasers” probably don’t have the study skills and could become the 50% that has to drop out of freshman year college.
Over Thanksgiving Break he showed me the “evil laugh” he calls the “Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde Laugh”. When someone says something to him in a mean way he looks them in the eye and does this evil laugh.
They back down and go pick on someone else. He shows them he is not going to take it, but he does not bully back. He uses his emotional intelligence. He has taught me many new ways to help my students over they years and continues to do so.
I am really proud of him! He uses these skills and they will help him deal with bullies in the future. It could be a boss, a father-in-law, a neighbor, who knows. The bullies are going to be there. I can’t stop the bullies in his life. But, I can give him the coping skills to survive and thrive!
Bully Prevention Tip Number 10: Avoid the Bully!
Try your best to get out of the bullies way. Sometimes, even after using these skills it is important to see as little of the bully / mean teaser as possible.
There is a bully prevention book that says, “Swim in a different part of the ocean”. It does not mean to avoid the bully at all costs, it means to limit contact and your interactions with the bully.
Years ago we lived in a neighborhood in the suburbs of Atlanta. For thirteen years we lived directly across the street from this nutty family. They terrorized the neighborhood by demanding that everyone’s yard looked beyond perfect.
They would drive around the neighborhood at night and send hateful, really ugly and degrading name calling e-mails to neighbors. The man would spend six hours a day on the week ends blowing, edging, and mowing his lawn. He was a real nuisance with noise pollution as well.
This insane person would get on the neighborhood association board, then get kicked off once he showed his “hind end”. Then the board would turn over, or people would move. He would get on it again when new people voted for him.
Years ago I tried to rationalize with him and his wife about the bullying e-mails they sent to my neighbors. This turned into the wife shooting the middle finger at me every time my husband, son, or I drove out of our driveway, or went to the front yard.
These people were so unhappy, they had no friends, never went anywhere except to work or the grocery store.
The story ended when he was on the board yet again and he stole hundreds of pansy plants meant for the front entrance. He got caught and the neighborhood demanded he step off the board. They put there house up for sale and moved immediately!
We finally moved a year later. We bought three acres and moved to the mountains. We are so happy to be out of all that “neighborhood drama”.
I look back and think how dumb it was to have lived for so long in that drama. I have enough drama in my life as a school counselor! I should have done it sooner and moved away from the crazy neighbors!
My point is you can’t always try to “talk it out” with the bully. And the old “I feel” messages usually won’t work. Bullies don’t care how you feel. If they did care how you felt you would not be bullied by them in the first place.
So, you need to take the emotion out of it. Get logical and creative. Come up with a bullying prevention plan and stick with it.
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