Posted tagged ‘bullying advice’

5 on 1 Beat-Down: What Would YOU Have Done?

June 1, 2010

“Me and you.  We’re going to fight.  Right now.”

This wasn’t going to be a fight.  It was shaping up to be a hard-core beat-down. When its 5 against 1, it doesn’t matter if your the UFC champion… you’re going to get seriously busted up. Trey quickly figured his options. None of them were very attractive.

Not a chance he could take them on physically.  In spite of being short and painfully thin, Trey (just 15), probably could have taken care of himself against one tough-guy.  He’d done it before.  But dealing with multiple attackers was a totally different world.

He doubted he’d be able to escape, either.  They’d run him down.  Even if he could get away, they’d come looking for him, and they wouldn’t have to look far – three of the kids in this gang went to his school.

Use reason? Try some kind of bluff?  Pray? Absurd.   Not worth one precious second of consideration.

Trey made eye contact with the kid standing in front of him, and made note of where his four friends were. “Yo, we’re going to f*ck you up” one of them said.  Another laughed. This was going down fast.

Trey took a deep breath and looked down at his sneakers. He knew that in the next few moments, he was going to get hurt.  Bad. Before they took him down, he planned to  inflict as much damage as possible.  Then he’d curl up and do his best to protect his head and groin.

Slowly, Trey reached into his pocket and pulled something out.

“I was wondering,” he said to the kid, “before you kick my ass, do you want a piece of gum?”  Trey offered the pack.

Confused, the other kid barked a nervous laugh, and looked around at his friends as if to ask, “can you believe this?”.

“Are you joking?” he asked.
“Nope” Trey replied.

Unsure, the kid laughed again, and took the gum.  He pulled a stick, unwrapped it, and popped it in his mouth.  Then he tossed the remainder of the pack to one of his buddies. Trey waited, prepared to be blind-sided or tackled from behind.

“You’re weird, man” the kid said as he shoved Trey’s shoulder.  Another member of the gang bumped him, and then they were walking away.

Trey didn’t hang around, either.
This is a 100% true and factual incident that happened to a Total Bully Solution student of mine, “Trey” (obviously not his real name), from a small town in central Texas. I’m very proud of him and abundantly impressed by his self-control,  creativity and quick thinking.

“Permission To Defend Yourself”

February 7, 2010

Hmmm, ignoring these kids doesn't seem to be working.....

Anyone who has children (or who has been a child) knows that  kids tease eachother, kids push, kids hit, kids wrestle around.  All perfectly normal, all perfectly natural.  Ordinary  conflicts, including hurt feelings and bruises from rough housing are a vital part of childhood, and present opportunities to learn a range of social skills.  Bullying, on the other hand, is normal, but not healthy.  Behaviors intended  to harm, belittle, ostracize, intimidate, or cause injury need special consideration.

A parent who’s done their best to raise a well mannered, peaceful child often encounters situations where their kid’s kindness is mistaken for weakness.  At that point, a peaceful, polite child becomes the target of his (or her) more aggressive, predatory peers.

Many times, I’ve heard parents confronted by this situation finally say “I give you permission to defend yourself”.  And they think that somehow, this magic green light is going to solve a the problem.  Let me be clear.  It wont.

Can you imagine a parent being proud of telling their child, “if you fall into the ocean, I give you permission to swim.”  Ridiculous, right?  No one should need permission to assert an inherent right. And besides, the time to learn to swim is well before you find yourself in deep water.  The good news is that a parent doesn’t need to be Michael Phelps to teach their kid to tread water.

When it comes to parenting, almost everything is a balancing act and this is no different.   When your kid has the training and the go-ahead  to use force when appropriate, you want to be sure they don’t become the new  uber-bully. The when, why and how of using physical force needs to be discussed before hand, so that when a kid is on the firing line, they aren’t paralyzed by indecision.

“Defending Yourself” does NOT mean waiting till the other guy hits you – no one is going to be very effective after they’ve been pummeled.  If circumstances call for it, and a child does  need to fight, you need to stand behind your child 100%. In today’s environment, the kid who defends himself always gets in as much or more trouble than the kid who started it. “Zero Tolerance” (which equate to zero thinking, zero judgment, zero discretion) policies are becoming the norm.  So if a physical altercation happens on school grounds and your child is suspended, give them 100% support, and encourage them to accept their punishment proudly.  There’s no honor in becoming a willing victim.

Real fights are ugly, messy and dangerous.  They can result in serious injury.  Fighting is a very serious option of last resort- but it needs to be an option.

“Permission to defend yourself”  is a good place to start- when it’s followed by, “here’s how”

Out-Smart A Bully? Good Luck!

January 15, 2010
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.