By teaching children how to deal with bullies or aggressive people at school we (parents and teachers) are equipping them to deal with the pushy friends, aggressive work person or anyone else who may take advantage of them throughout their life, if they allow it. Evelyn M. Field, a psychologist who has a special interest in bullying suggests that learning to deal with bullies is a necessary life skill for us all.
In her book “Bully Busting – How to help children deal with teasing and bullying” Ms Field states that - Young people need the appropriate skills to deal with the ups and downs of life, and this means knowing how to protect themselves. If something goes wrong when they socialise, they must have the skills to confront the other child or, if the situation deteriorates, protect themselves. Once children have the confidence and skills to protect themselves, they can enjoy more social adventures and widen their social circle because they have nothing to fear. It is your responsibility to teach your children appropriate assertive and self-protective skills so that they can deal with all forms of bullying at all stages of their lives.
Our school uses strategies, from our Be Aware and Chillout charts. The children use these strategies to empower themselves against bullies and so build their confidence and resilience.
The children in Early Years use the acronym AWARE
A ask them to stopW walk awayA ask a teacher to helpR remember to ignoreE even try to make friends
While in the older grades they use the acronym CHILL OUT
C change the subject
H have a joke
I ignore them
L look confident
L look them calmly in the eye
O or ask them to stop
U you can tell a teacher or adult
T talk about it
By practising to use these skills in role play situations, even if they feel uncomfortable, the skills begin to become innate and transfer into everyday life. These simple strategies help build a child’s self-esteem and empower them to take responsibility for themselves. Help us to reinforce these skills by talking to your child about these strategies.
For more information about these strategies, and other anti bullying information, go to the website www.breakthroughbullying.com.au