Out-Smart A Bully? Good Luck!

Your Brain- On Stress

Your Brain- On Stress

If your child is being teased or harassed, there are several  strategies they can use to shut their bully down.  Of course, some are more effective than others.

“Outsmart the bully” is a piece of advice often given by well meaning parents to their distressed kids.  On the surface, it seems like a good plan of action.  In reality, this formula has some problems.

Being picked-on is extremely stressful.  Being threatened or publicly embarrassed creates such high anxiety that it triggers an instant flood of powerful hormones into the blood stream. This ‘survival mode’ has profound effects on the body and thought process, causes a person to fight, flee, freeze or submit.  As you can imagine, this state is not conducive to clear thinking; the laws of physiology prohibit it.

Forget about ‘outsmarting’ the bully at this point -more than likely, the targeted child probably wont be outsmarting anyone.

That said, through the practice of visualization, mental rehearsal, and relaxation techniques, a person can prepare themselves for a confrontation.  If your child can stay cool when they face an antagonist, there is a way to undercut the bully’s power and take the wind out of his (or her) sails.

Let’s say Richie is the mean kid and he loves to belittle Jeff in front of his classmates.  It’s a regular occurrence,and Jeff is expecting it.  As Richie makes his approach, Jeff announces, “Hey  everyone, pay close attention to Richie, because he doesn’t get enough attention at home. Okay, we’re ready.  You can make fun of me now.”

Suddenly Richie doesn’t feel so good.  Instead of getting upset, his intended victim isn’t bothered at all.  And the group dynamics have shifted, too- instead of being amused by his antics, they’re looking down on him.  His game has been reversed, and his ego has been deflated.  This technique isn’t just for kids – it can work for anyone, regardless of age or situation.

Of course, there is a chance that instead of skulking away, the bully might get so flustered that they get violent.  Now the targeted child has a fight on their hands.

Before advising your child how to deal with peer-abuse, you’ve got to sort the useless cliches and gimmicks from practical game-plans. Giving a bullied kid the wrong advice can be disastrous.

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