AUTHOR’S NOTE – The below post comes from an earlier article on bullying.  The author (Hammer) is in the process of writing a comprehensive study on the issue of bullying in our

schools, its impact on our children and some cogent strategies we can take the minimize its impact).



Not that I haven’t talked about this issue before, but, Hell’s Bells, readers, bullying is not only not ever going away, but, doesn’t it seem to you that it’s getting worse and worser?  I mean, a gang of bullies sets a teenager on fire!  And, in my area here, big kids are still beating on weaker kids; and when they get tired of beating on the weak, they recruit more bullies and attack the not-so-weak.  Sometimes these monsters get bored of terrorizing and assaulting other kids and they turn on the teachers who are doing their best to either stop the mayhem or keep their distance from it (so they can go home in one piece)!


Fact is, bullying is an all too common form of violence in our society.  I’d estimate that over 30% of students are either bullies or victims.  And, parents, I could go into a lot more stats re bullying.  Its pernicious effects on both the victim and the bully. The psychological scars it leaves on the victim, scars that never, ever go away.


But, as a parent of a child who is getting bullied, do you really truly care, I would think.  At least I wouldn’t.  “Just tell me what the hell to do, Dickwad,” is what I’d be saying.


So, okay, okay, I’ll tell you.  And I’ll start from the beginning, just in case you suspect something is awry, but you’re not sure what.  First of all, you need to be aware.  Staying tuned in to your child is a big first step.  Don’t expect him or her to confide in you what is going on unless your child feels that you are tuned in and simpatico.

  2. BE AWARE OF CHANGES IN HIS/HER ATTITUDE AND/OR BEHAVIOR. For instance, a child who normally does well in school, maybe even enjoys going to school, suddenly becomes reluctant to go, maybe even gets withdrawn, depressed.  Stops doing homework.
  3. ASK COGENT QUESTIONS. Mayhap not straight out “Hey, are you getting bullied? questions, but questions that show an interest in what is really happening at school.  Who is she/he hanging with.  Try not to let the child get away with vague answers.
  4. ONCE YOUR SUSPICIONS ARE CONFIRMED (even if your child doesn’t clearly admit he/she is being bullied, but your suspicions are realistic, reasonable and based on an “educated intuition). CONTACT THE SCHOOL AND LET THEM KNOW.
  5. TAKE ON THE ROLE OF YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY COACH. Trust me on this, you can teach your kid great counter bullying skills and techniques at home.  I do a great Bully Be Gone class, but, even when I teach that course I let the parents know that my class cannot be truly effective unless they follow-up with some support at home.  Safety Caches can teach their child some really effective skills that have worked for other children, or Would-Be Victims, including:
    • TOUGH TARGET ATTITUDES (TTA). Attitude is damn near everything when it comes to discouraging a bully from even choosing your child as a victim!  In the case where your child has already been a repetitive victim, this is going to be harder, but it can work.  TTA manifest themselves when you teach your child to:
      • Walk/stride confidently, swinging your arms freely (the freer and more natural the swing the less fearful).
      • Scan your environment with your eyes (as opposed to looking down at the ground, which is what “Natural Victims” do.  Remember, predators look uo & around).
      • Stand Up For Yourself. Tell the bully, “Hey, I don’t appreciate what you just said.”
      • Don’t Let the Bully Back You Up. Teach your kid to protect his/her space.  Do not allow the bully to invade his or her Personal Safe Zone (3-4’ in).  Teach your child to move diagonally (J-Step) to keep his or her space, but, at some point, it is up to your child to tell the bully to “Stay back!”
      • The Bully, like many other predators, is seeking to find fear in your kid’s eyes.  The bully may be posturing for an audience to prop himself, his image, up.  If your child stays silent, the bully is spurred on.  Teach your kid to verbalize in three stages:
      • Use Hard Target Speak:  “Hey, Andy, c’mon,  How about letting me go to class.  We can do this later, if you still want.”
      • Tell: “Andy, I  don’t appreciate being called that.”
      • That’s it.  Get back.  Now!”


  • TEACH YOUR CHILD THE FIGHTING ARTS. Tune in for Part II, where I will talk about some reasonable and easily doable (as well as easy-to-teach) skills designed to Stop The Bully In His Tracks.


Until then, Stay Safe




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