Bullies and
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Kathy Noll is the co-author of Taking the Bully by the Horns. She has had her short stories/articles published in magazines along with interviews, helped NBC news monitor a classroom in Philadelphia for bullying behavior, and also helped many people with their own bully problems through her book, educational and family related Internet chats, message board hosting, and e-mail. She has also spoken on radio and television shows discussing the topics of school violence and self-esteem. Most recently she appeared with co-author Dr. Carter on the Montel Williams show where they talked to kids about bullies, and promoted their book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns." She also works as a consultant for various TV News & Talk Shows. Her second book, Encounters with Every-Day Angels, is a workbook on bullying and character development that can be used in the classroom. www.kathynoll.com or Email..

Advice for Parents of Both Victims and Bullies
Are Certain Children more Likely to be Bullied?
Bully Advice for Kids
Child Violence - How to Prevent Your Child from Becoming a Statistic
Empowering Kids to Deal with Bullies and Low Self-esteem
Is Bullying that Big a Deal?
Q&A About the Book Taking the Bully by the Horns
Should the School Contact the Bully's Parents?
What can Schools do to Help Stop Bullies & Violence?
What can You do to Help Your Child?
What can We to do about "Bus Bullies!"
What to do About Bullies
For Teachers & Parents of Bullies - Some useful Questions to Ask

Are Certain Children more Likely to be Bullied?


Victims are usually loners. Children who appear to be friendless can be magnets for bullies. Many times it's how kids carry themselves. The bullies pick up on that. They also might pick on children who are different - mental or physical handicaps. Girls in cliques will pick on you simply because you don't wear your hair or clothes they way they see fit to be cool. (Insults, Gossip, Rejection, Spreading Rumors) Sometimes there is "no reason" why a bully picks a certain kid to pick on. But, the bullying leaves the victims believing there is something wrong with themselves. The result: More self-esteem has been shattered. (Everyone has been bullied to some degree, whether mentally or physically)

Bully Advice for Kids


Bullies can make you feel:  Sad, depressed, angry, vendeful, scared, confused.

How a Bully Becomes a Bully

  • He is angry.
  • Someone might have bullied him in the past.
  • He has a low self-esteem. He thinks controlling you will help him feel better about himself.
  • He might have been exposed to a lot of violence in the media. (TV, books...) A lot of movies make violence look cool. But if you look closer, the "good guy" is always cooler!
  • His caretakers might have lacked in supervision. They might have been too busy to teach him how wrong it is to hurt others. Or maybe they spoiled him, making him think he can do anything he wants, including bullying!

Is Bullying that Big a Deal?


Recent statistics show that:

  • 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
  • 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."
  • 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month for fear of Bullies.
  • 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
  • 100,000 students carry a gun to school.
  • 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.
  • A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
  • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
  • More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
  • 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.
  • 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
  • 1 out of 5 teens knows someone who brings a gun to school.
  • 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the info. to do it.
  • Almost half of all students say they know another student who's capable of murder.
  • Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention - 4%. Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%

Most Recent Bureau of Justice Statistics - School Crime & Safety

  • 1/3 of students in grades 9-12 reported that someone sold or offered them an illegal drug on school property.
  • 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical fights.
  • Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
  • Teachers are also assaulted, robbed & bullied. 84 crimes per 1,000 teachers per year.

Empowering Kids to Deal with Bullies and Low Self-esteem


Did you know that 23% of 9th graders have carried a weapon to school recently? According to the US Justice Department, one out of three kids will be offered or sold drugs at school while one out of four kids is bullied either mentally or physically every day. Do we really know what happens to our kids when they leave the safety of our homes to go to school?

Unfortunately, bullying and child violence have become quite common themes in every school across the country, and outside the US as well.

Dr. Jay Carter and myself have written a book, and run a web site, that helps parents, teachers, and kids learn the skills they need to deal with bullies and low self-esteem. On this journey, we've encountered many sad stories that are all too real.

One that really stands out in my mind, and heart, is in the form of a letter written by a woman in IL. She starts out by thanking me for writing my book and wishing she would've had it for her son, Ricky, 5 years earlier.

Ricky was tormented every day at school by his "bullies." He was an asthmatic, and continually his classmates would take his inhaler medication from him to spray on themselves, in the air - essentially wasting it. This went on until one cold day in December, 1994, that has left his mother devastated. Ricky was found dead at school. He died of an asthma attack. His inhaler, found empty.

This is only one of many depressing stories. We've all had bad experiences to some degree that seem to be too close to home. But what can we do?

One of the things that Dr. Carter and myself did to bring awareness was in collaboration with NBC10 News out of Philadelphia. At a local middle school, we hid 5 cameras in a classroom of 8th graders. Only one child, Jonathan, was in on our "sting" operation. He played the role of a bully while wearing a wire microphone. We then hid in a nearby classroom and monitored his classmates reactions as he proceeded to harass them. He harassed them with the arrogance that only a bully knows. We had him making fun of people, pushing and shoving, and giving off a real "I'm the only all important one" attitude!

The reactions varied as you can imagine. They were about as different as every child's personality. Some moved out of his way, timid and frightened, while others stood up for themselves screaming, "Get some manners!" One girl smacked him in the forehead! But we were also touched by the concern of many. We listened as they approached the teacher and expressed concern for Jonathan's behavior. They felt he must really be hurting inside to be taking out so much frustration on them.

Bullies really do have low self-esteem. If there is something about themselves they don't like, they feel that by putting you down, and teasing you, they are distracting from their own problems. Bullies are also angry. Most likely they were also bullied at some point. We call this the "Bully Cycle." Also in question would be the negative influence of peers, caretakers who may have abused or enabled them, and exposure to violence in the media.

What can the victim do about his/her bully? Try confronting them and telling them how they are making you feel. "What did I do to you?" In many situations ignoring has the best results. If the bully no longer gets a reaction out of you, he/she will usually move on. It is no longer any fun. But what about the bully who is very abusive or violent? Make sure the school knows what is going on, and if they are unwilling to get involved, you need to contact the bully's parents. This type of bully should be avoided at all costs. Traveling to school in a group, and staying away from empty buildings are other wise options.

I'm sure you'll all agree that both the victims and bullies need help and support. Teach them that their actions have consequences. Instill in them the Rules for Fighting Fair: Identify the problem. Focus on the problem. Attack the problem, not the person. Listen with an open mind. Treat a person's feelings with respect. And finally - Take responsibility for your actions.

Let's all do our part to help prevent the children of our future from becoming "statistics."

What to do About Bullies


Inform your parents and teachers.

  • Travel to school and social events in groups. Don't walk alone. Avoid the bully at all costs.
  • Ignore him. That will take away his power he "thinks" he has over you. He'll get bored, and go look for someone else to pick on.
  • Confront him with the problem. Do this only if the bullying is mental, not physical. Maybe you can explain how it makes you feel. If he doesn't care, and continues to bully you, report him, and avoid him.
  • Take a safety training workshop. This should only be used as a last resort (in self defense). Using this to show off for your friends, or simply because someone made you angry, could lead to law suits, and YOU becoming a bully!

I hope this information helps you. Take care of yourselves & stay safe.

Child Violence - How to Prevent Your Child from Becoming a Statistic


Did you know that over 6 million boys and 4 million girls are involved in fights every year on school grounds? Many are physically threatened while a large number of students are also robbed.

Bullying has become a very serious "Hot" topic today. It's been in the news, and the theme of several talk shows in the past year. The problem has been around for as long as people have been around, but it's only been recently that we've become aware enough to do something about it.

Mental and physical signs for parents to look for to find out if their child is being bullied include: Cuts, bruises, torn clothing, headaches and/or stomach pains before it's time to go to school, or a reluctance to go to school, poor appetites, poor grades, decline/withdrawal from usual activities, anxiety, not many friends, always loses money, depression, fear, anger, nervousness, and relates better to adults and teachers than children.

It also helps to understand the different types of abuse the bully can inflict. This can vary from physical (juvenile violence) to verbal, and include mental control tactics. (Crushing your self-esteem).

The bully's pattern of physical abuse might include: pushing, tripping, slapping, hitting, wrestling, choking, kicking, biting, stealing, and breaking things. (80% of the time bullying becomes physical).

The bully's pattern of verbal abuse might include: twisting your words around, judging you unfairly, missing the point, passing blame, bossing, making you self-conscious, embarrassing you, making you cry, confusing you, and making you feel small so he/she can feel big.

Children between the ages of 5-11 begin using verbal abuse, and are capable of some physical abuse such as fist fighting, kicking, and choking. However, once a child reaches the age of 12, psychological changes take place and the bullying becomes more violent. This might include the use of weapons and sexual abuse.

Murder between children was up 35% in 1997. Today's 3, 4, and 5 year-olds could grow up to be a generation of serial killers. Some signs to watch for in younger children include setting fires, and torturing animals.

Usually bullies come from middle-income families that do not monitor their activities. The parents of bullies are either extremely tolerant and permissive, and allow them to get away with everything, or physically aggressive and abusive.

However, the parents are not always the cause. There are many very loving and caring parents who do not understand what went wrong.

Other reasons why kids slip into their "bully suits" might include violence on tv/movies, and the influence of "bully" friends.

You can't watch your child while he/she is at school, so there is the possibility of him/her hanging out with a child (or children) of negative influence. Sometimes kids admire bullies for their strength, or befriend them so as to stay on their good side!

So if you're a wonderful parent knocking yourself for what you did wrong, understand what a strong influence other peers can have on your child.

Bullies need to be in control of situations, and enjoy (gain power from) inflicting injury on others. They are not committed to their school work or teachers and may also show a lack of respect towards their families. Usually bigger and stronger than other children their own age, bullies believe that their anger and violent behavior is justified. They see threats where none exist out of paranoia, or fear of facing reality.

The bully might lash out at people because he's (or she's) angry about something. Maybe someone in his life is bullying him. He could be hurting from abuse he received in the past, or maybe he grew up observing those around him using violence as a means of settling differences.

Sometimes jealousy is the culprit. He needs to feel better about himself in order to change, and to stop bullying.

Or, in a worse case scenario, he might actually be a sociopath, in which case he/she would need to get professional help.

What can parents do to prevent their children from getting bullied? Tell your children to walk or play with friends, not alone, and to avoid alleys and empty buildings, especially after dark. Make a list with the child as to where they are allowed to go, and places/phone numbers where they can get help.

Know your child's friends and make sure that everyone understands your view of teasing and violence. Maintain a trusting, open communication with your child while teaching him/her to be both strong and kind.

If your child is a victim, he needs to know that he's ok, and not the one with the problem. Have him tell his school guidance counselor the name of the bully who is victimizing him. Or you might try talking to the principal or his teachers directly. And if you know the parents of the bully, you might try confronting them as well. However, there's a good chance they'll either be in denial, or be as unconcerned as their child.

If physical abuse is the problem, and you're afraid of angering the bully (revenge), tell the teacher, or whomever, not to pass on your or your child's name while settling the situation unless it's absolutely necessary. There's a good chance he's victimizing other children as well, and won't need to know exactly who busted him.

Children who use violence to resolve conflicts, grow up to be adults who use violence to resolve conflicts. However, if a child is backed up against a wall, or into a corner, then he obviously needs to defend himself and should not stand there while getting pounded. He could walk (or run) away. But in order to escape conflict in the first place, the child should ignore, or avoid the bully. Don't play with (or for older kids "hang out" with) the bullies, and don't play or hang out "near" them. Teach your child to only fight back if he/she *needs* to defend himself - - as a last resort.

Young people need to believe in themselves in order to feel better. (self-esteem) Not by winning a fight, or even being part of a fight that he/she didn't initiate. In order to be a strong person, you have to learn what to say at the right time, and believe in what you are saying. ("I won't fight you because it is wrong" or "This isn't what friendship is about") Walking away from the fight, knowing you are the *better* person, is a lot healthier for the body and mind.

If verbal abuse is the problem, your child could try confronting the bully himself. Get him alone. Bullies like to show off by embarrassing you in front of a group of people. They might not be so tough without a crowd. Tell your child to be firm, stick up for himself, and tell the bully, "I don't like what you're doing to me, and I want you to stop."

If the child is old enough to reason, have him tell the bully how it feels to be bullied. Don't stress what the bully did, or the accusations might make him defensive. Then he'd be less likely to listen. If he's willing to listen at all, he might be willing to change. However, if he's unwilling to listen and starts getting nasty, your child is better off staying away from him, or ignoring him. But if his verbal abuse turns into threats, notify someone in authority.

Sometimes having things/property stolen victimizes a child. Putting your child's name on everything is an important thing to do. This means each and every crayon! It also helps to not allow him/her to take things of any major importance or value to school. Again, if nothing else works, have the bully reported.

For the past 10 years child on child violence has been increasing. Physical abuse, sexual harassment and robbery have driven many victims to substance abuse or suicide.

Q&A About the Book Taking the Bully by the Horns


1. Why was "Taking the Bully by the Horns" written?

There is a great need for information on bullies now as a lot of children are having problems. I know this because I receive a lot of mail asking for help from parents, children and educators. Also, our book was written right before all the school shootings and bomb threats began so there is a definite NEED for it.

2. How did Dr. Carter become your co-author?

My book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" is the children's version of Dr. Jay Carter's best-selling book, "Nasty People." Dr. Carter asked me to write this book because he had liked my short stories that I wrote for children. He had placed an ad in the newspaper for a co-author and said he picked me over 50 other authors who submitted writing samples because he felt I had a way with talking to kids.

3. How does his influence affect the book?

Jay Carter is a psychologist and owner of the Center for Self-esteem & Carter Counseling. Our book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" is largely about self-esteem and self-help because of his influence. The book not only teaches kids how to handle bullies, but also shows kids how they can improve their self-esteem and feel good about themselves. This will help them grow into healthy, strong adults.

4. Who is the book intended to help?

Educators are helped by using "Taking the Bully by the Horns" to control their school's bullies and also to help their school's victims. Teachers & parents are helped by reading the book to their children or having them read it themselves. And children/young adults are helped - both victims AND bullies. The victims will learn how to handle bullies and where to get help. The bullies will learn how their negative actions are affecting people and how to change their behavior. Both are helped with self-esteem as well which is very important when dealing with these issues.

5. How can we order your books & videos?

There is info. available at our web site: www.kathynoll.com or, to order our four videos and books by mail, please send $12.95 each plus $3.95 S/H to: Kathy Noll, 3300 Chestnut St., Reading, PA 19605 Thank you. Schools may use purchase orders. Discounts are available for orders of 20 or more items for workshops/Dr. Carter's programs/classroom use.

6. Define Bullying; what does it consist of?

Bullying consists of ongoing threats, physical attacks, words, gestures, or social exclusion directed at a student or students by a student or group of students who are older, bigger, or more powerful. Besides physical bullying, there is also verbal bullying and mental bullying which may include: teasing, swearing, put downs, gossiping, twisting your words around, judging you unfairly, making you self-conscious, passing blame, bossing, embarrassing you in front of a group, making you cry. The bully will try to "control" by making you feel small so he/she can feel big.

7. What are the statistics on children being bullied?

According to the US Dept. of Justice: 1 out of 4 children are being bullied. 83% fear harassment in the bathroom. Over 100,000 kids have carried guns to school. More statistics are available at our web site.

8. If a child is hit, should he/she strike back to defend him/herself?

In my book, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" we call this the "bully cycle." Bullies create more bullies. This is no good. The cycle needs to stop somewhere. If the child had tried confronting the bully or talking out the situation peacefully to no avail and was backed up against a wall so that he/she couldn't walk or run away and actually needed to defend himself/herself, that is a different story (worse case senario). But when we're talking about teasing or verbal abuse, tell your child, "You don't need to listen to that. You're better than that. Just walk away."

9. What sort of feedback have you gotten from those who read your book?

Those who have shared "Taking the Bully by the Horns" with their children/students tell me the children feel stronger after reading it. They also understand bullying behavior better, and improved their self-esteem. One handicapped boy touched me when he told me he read my book Christmas day when he received it. He didn't put it down until he was finished and said it was the best book he ever read and that it made him feel a lot better about himself.

10. How are schools using your books?

Schools/Teachers need to be aware of conflicts and to not be afraid to get involved. Start your own "peace" programs. One example would be students in Hillsboro H.S. in Nashville, Tenn., who created the "I will pledge" and urge fellow students to sign the pledge not to mock or bully others who dress, act, look, or talk differently. Teachers are also using, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" for role playing in the classrooms. Since I believe in my book, and the help it's been giving children, I suggest reading it aloud to the group. The book is written in first person, so you will be addressing them, and speaking directly to them. This way, you can teach them the skills they need to handle bullies and feel good about themselves (self-esteem/life skills). I ask questions in both my bullying books, and you can pause to get their opinions. I also added a bit of humor so it will be enjoyable for them AND they will learn something. Then, you could try some role playing, where they take turns acting out situations where they play both bullies and victims. This will show them how it "feels" and give them ideas on what to do to help themselves and others.

11. What information does your web site provide?

Articles (which may be used and printed out), advice and statistics for educators, parents and children. Also, information on Dr. Carter, myself and also on our books & other items- including how to order. I am constantly adding more helpful info. as I find/research it and as we publish new books.

12. How does a bully become a bully?

He (or she) may be angry at problems he's having in his own life and is looking for people to use as punching bags. It could also be a learned behavior from being bullied at home by family members. Another reason we hear a lot about is the influence of violence in the media. But the major reason is that they really have a low self-esteem. They make look high and mighty but that is arrogance. Don't mistake arrogance for a high self-esteem. If someone truly has a good self-esteem they would not feel the need to control others.

13. What signs can we look for to know if a child has become a bully?

Damaging property, setting fires, torturing animals, violent rage/outbursts/tantrums, angry at everyone/everything, was bullied himself/herself (in my book we call this the "Bully Cycle"), lack of respect for others, a controller, lack of remorse...

14. What are useful questions you can ask a bully?

What did you do? Why was that a bad thing to do? Who did you hurt? What were you trying to accomplish? Next time you have that goal, how will you meet it without hurting anybody? How will you help the person you hurt? These questions will help them to: Acknowledge their own actions and the consequences they have on themselves and others, develop shame and guilt ("I don't want to go through that again" & "I hurt someone"), change their actions to stay out of trouble, and learn to trust and form relationships with helping adults.

15. What are the signs to look for to know if a child is a victim of a bully?

A change in behavior, such as suffering a lack of concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, excessively clingy, depressed, fearful, emotionally up and down. Happy at the weekend but not during the week. A drop in performance in school or at work. Physical signs: stomach aches, headaches, sleep difficulties, bruising, torn clothing, bingeing on food, cigarettes, alcohol...

16. What can kids do to deal with bullies?

We offer many suggestions depending on the situation. One thing to do for verbal bullying is ignore them. Bullies feel the need to "control." They want to get a reaction (anger/tears) out of you. If they don't get this, it won't be any fun for them and they'll become bored and give up.

17. What about a child "confronting" a bully?

We suggest confronting the bully only if the bully is not physically violent. This is only suggested if the bullying is verbal. Therefore the bully should be confronted and questioned as to why he is doing this. "Why are you saying these things to me?" "Why are you trying to hurt me; I've never done anything to you." If the bully sees his "victim" is actually a respectable thinking, feeling human being, he may not think of him anymore as his door mat. The bully doesn't always have a reason for bullying a particular child so when asked why he is doing what he is doing, it may stump him. It may actually make him think. This is just one idea to try. It is also good to stand your ground with a bully. To be strong but kind. You need to show that you respect yourself, you are strong, and are not interested in playing the bully's games. The bully is more prone to go for those who look weak, have poor social skills, hold their heads down, speak without confidence etc....the bully sees them as easier to control.

18. What can parents do if they think their child is being bullied?

You *know* there is a problem. The first step is to get your child to admit there is a problem. He/she may be too embarrassed or scared, and might deny it. They need to know they can trust you and look to you for help. (Encourage them) First give them this option: They might want to settle the situation themselves before getting you involved (you calling the school or bully's parents). You might try giving them some ideas. For example: If your child is getting bullied because of poor social skills - his shoes are always untied, he walks with his head down, shoulders slouched, avoids eye contact, shirt half tucked in, unclean hair or body, always biting nails or picking nose - You can help him/her by teaching them better social skills. You also might try a type of role-playing to see how your child acts around other kids. This gives you the opportunity to help your child work out acceptable responses. (especially if he/she is being bullied verbally) Allow your children to confide in you and listen with an open mind. The victims must first admit on their own that there is a problem. Allowing children to handle it themselves will help with their self-esteem. If the bullying is physically dangerous, or the victims want the parents to get involved, the parents should make sure both the school and the parents of the bullies are notified of the situation. They can also provide a safe means of transport to and from school or suggest their child walk in a group, never alone.

19. What is the difference between the boy bully and the girl bully?

They are the same in many ways. However girls are prone to specifically bully through gossip, ostracizing, and forming "cliques." Girls and boys both use teasing and verbal abuse; however, the boys are more prone to use physical violence. 80% of the time an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.

20. What is the best way to approach kids who have been victimized?

Don't question victims intently or ask anything that might make them feel that they have done something wrong. Broach the subject obliquely, giving them the option to talk about it or not. Let them know that you are willing to listen at any time. When they start to talk, listen carefully to what they have to say. Once they begin to discuss the bullying, it may seem to be all they can talk about. Be patient and let them go on - it's better for them to let it all out than to bottle it up. Don't overreact - victims need rational advice and help, not emotional overload. Believe the victim and not any authority figure who may dismiss the claims of bullying simply as "part of growing up" or "part of the rough and tumble of life." ("Boys will be boys") No one should have to put up with bullying. Ask victims if they have any suggestions about changing the situation. Seek advice from an individual or a support group with experience in this area. (Dr. Carter's presentations cover these areas.) Keep an eye on the victim. If they threaten suicide, take this very seriously and obtain professional help immediately.

21. Does an individual set himself/herself up as a victim?

You never tell the victim "it's their fault" when a bully bullies them. The bully is the one with the problem. The victim needs to know he's OK and did not cause this. However there are certain kids who are more likely to be bullied. For example: those with poor social skills. You could reduce your chances of being bullied by walking straight and tall, shoulders back/head held high, making eye contact, speaking loudly and clearly, assuming an air of confidence with yourself and your surroundings.

22. What can parents do to prevent their children from getting bullied?

Parents really need to get more involved in their children's lives. That way they will be more sensitive to problems occurring. Promote honesty. Ask questions. Listen with an open mind and focus on understanding. Allow children to express how they feel, and treat a child's feelings with respect. Set a good example by showing them a healthy temperament. Settle conflicts by talking things out peacefully. Congratulate or reward them when you see them using these positive skills to settle a difference. Teach them to identify "the problem", and focus on the problem, "not" attacking "the person." Tell them conflicts are a way of life, but violence doesn't have to be. And finally, teaching them to take responsibility for their own actions will make for a healthier child, a healthier self-esteem, and there will be no need for any "bullies" or "victims" in the world.

23. What are your local schools doing to lessen the problem of bullying?

Our local schools participated in Berks County's Annual Week Without Violence. One program included, "Hands Around Violence." Students made paper cut outs of their hand prints and wrote nonviolent messages on them. For example, "I will not use my hands or words for hurting." The "Pledge Hands" will serve as a visual reminder that together they can make a difference. Other activities included a white out, where students wore as much white as possible to symbolize peace, a unity day, where students wore their school colors, and a smile day, where each student received a smile card and handed that card over to the first person to smile at them.

24. What can we all do to help prevent bullying?

It's all about talking it out: Child to Child (Peer Mediation), Teacher to Parent (PTO's, PTA's), Teacher to Teacher (in service days), Parent to Child (at home). There should be town meetings involving the parents, students, and entire school faculty to discuss Conflict Resolution. The teachers should also allow the students to give "their" ideas on how they would like situations handled. For younger students, role playing of "victims" and "bullies" in the classroom will help them understand the cause and effect - how it feels. Another idea for younger kids getting picked on could be to have an older student assigned as a type of mentor that he could talk to, and who would step in to settle a conflict or dispute. Groups have also been created where victims and their parents can meet with other victims and discuss solutions. It's comforting to know you're not alone, and friendships can be made there.

25. Any other ideas of anti-bully programs that have been put into action?

The schools can also pass out questionnaires, and do surveys or polls to find out what students and parents think about what is happening and what they would like to see done. Some teachers have told me that their schools put up a peace flag outside on days when there is no conflict in the school. This promotes a pride in the school, and teaches them that even one person's actions can have consequences that affect everyone. Other schools are using posters, and having the students wear certain colors on certain days.

26. How are schools using "peer mediation" to combat bullying?

In mediation, trained students help their classmates identify the problems behind the conflicts and to find solutions. Peer mediation is not about finding who is right or wrong. Instead, students are encouraged to move beyond the immediate conflict and learn how to get along with each other - an important skill in today's world. Peer mediators ask the disputing students to tell their stories and ask questions for clarification. The mediators help the students identify ways to solve the conflict. Mediation Steps: Agree upon the ground rules. Each student tells his/her story. Verify the stories. Discuss the stories. Generate solutions. Discuss solutions. Select a solution. Sign a contract. Participants should be willing to: Solve the problem. Tell the truth. Listen without interrupting. Be respectful. Take responsibility for carrying out the agreement. Keep the situation confidential.

27. Anything else you'd like to add?

Many schools admit that the lockers are the most common place that bullying takes place. Teachers could take turns standing by these lockers during class changes. Another great idea schools are using is to have teachers hold up pictures of kids faces while asking the students, "How does this person feel?" This promotes a discussion aimed at helping kids to identify and describe emotions. And for teens, pictures of conflicts or stressful situations can be used to promote discussion & ideas for resolution.

Brainstorm with students a list of fact-based questions they have about bullying. Students might want to know, for example, the percentage of students who are bullied, the percentage of suicides that are blamed on bullying, the number of incidents of school violence that are the result of bullying, the percentage of bullies who commit violent crimes as adults, the percentage of schools that have anti-bully programs, and so on. Select five to ten of the most important questions, arrange students in pairs or small groups, and ask each group to research print or online resources to find the answer to its assigned question. Combine the questions into a quiz, either online or in print, and invite students to take the quiz. I will continue to add more ideas to my web site as to what other schools are doing to stop bullies.

What can You do to Help Your Child?


You "know" there is a problem. The first step is to get your child to admit there is a problem. He/she may be too embarrassed or scared, and might deny it. They need to know they can trust you and look to you for help. (Encourage them) First give them this option: They might want to settle the situation themselves before getting you involved (you calling the school or bully's parents). You might try giving them some ideas. For example: If your child is getting bullied because of poor social skills - his shoes are always untied, he walks with his head down, shoulders slouched, avoids eye contact, shirt half tucked in, unclean hair or body, always biting nails or picking nose - You can help him/her by teaching them better social skills. You also might try a type of role-playing to see how your child acts around other kids. This gives you the opportunity to help your child work out acceptable responses. (especially if he/she is being bullied verbally)

Should the School Contact the Bully's Parents?


The school should first try to settle the matter since it occurred on their grounds while the children were their responsibility. But, unfortunately there are some schools who don't want to get involved outside of teaching the children. Many parents have written to me about school's/administrators who simply disregarded their bully incidents. Many parents are now seeking legal action.

On the other side - there are teachers/schools who contact the parents to address the problem, but the parents are in denial that their child could ever be a "bully," they don't believe it, and point a finger at the teacher accusing him/her of picking on their child. Everyone needs to work together on solving these problems.

What can Schools do to Help Stop Bullies & Violence?


It's all about talking it out: Child to Child (Peer Mediation), Teacher to Parent (PTO's, PTA's), Teacher to Teacher (in service days), Parent to Child (at home). There should be town meetings involving the parents, students, and entire school faculty to discuss Conflict Resolution. The teachers should also allow the students to give "their" ideas on how they would like situations handled. For younger students, role playing of "victims" and "bullies" in the classroom will help them understand the cause and effect - how it feels. Another idea for younger kids getting picked on could be to have an older student assigned as a type of mentor that he could talk to, and who would step in to settle a conflict or dispute. Groups have also been created where victims and their parents can meet with other victims and discuss solutions. It's comforting to know you're not alone, and friendships can be made there.

Many schools admit that the lockers are the most common place that bullying takes place. Teachers could take turns standing by these lockers during class changes.

The schools can also pass out questionnaires, and do surveys or polls to find out what students and parents think about what is happening and what they would like to see done. Some teachers have told me that their schools put up a peace flag outside on days when there is no conflict in the school. This promotes a pride in the school, and teaches them that even one person's actions can have consequences that affect everyone. Other schools are using posters, and having the students wear certain colors on certain days.

Teachers are also using, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" for role playing in the classrooms. Since I believe in my book, and the help it's been giving children, I suggest reading it aloud to the group. The book is written in first person, so you will be addressing them, and speaking directly to them. This way, you can teach them the skills they need to handle bullies and feel good about themselves (self-esteem/life skills). I ask questions in the book, and you can pause to get their opinions. I also added a bit of humor so it will be enjoyable for them AND they will learn something. Then, you could try some role playing, where they take turns acting out situations where they play both bullies and victims. This will show them how it "feels" and give them ideas on what to do to help themselves and others.

Our local schools participated in Berks County's Annual Week Without Violence. One program included, "Hands Around Violence." Students made paper cutouts of their hand prints and wrote nonviolent messages on them. For example, "I will not use my hands or words for hurting." The "Pledge Hands" will serve as a visual reminder that together they can make a difference.

Other activities included a white out, where students wore as much white as possible to symbolize peace, a unity day, where students wore their school colors, and a smile day, where each student received a smile card and handed that card over to the first person to smile at them.

Another great idea schools are using is to have teachers hold up pictures of kids faces while asking the students, "How does this person feel?" This promotes a discussion aimed at helping kids to identify and describe emotions. And for teens, pictures of conflicts or stressful situations can be used to promote discussion & ideas for resolution.

Let kids know it's OK to talk about problems; that parents and teachers are willing to listen, and eager to help. Also, if your kids/students are "bystanders" to their friends, or other kids being bullied, tell them how important it is for them to help these kids by reporting it. If they are afraid, they can use an anonymous tip, or tell the teachers not to use their name when confronting the bully.

The anonymous tip was only suggested for those victims who feared revenge from the bully in the form of physical abuse for their "snitching." Yes, in many cases the name of the victim would have to be given in order for the conflict to be directly approached. A bully being accused of attacking a "nameless" child might try to talk his way out of it. But if a name is used in relating to a particular incident with a specific child, and if there was proof, or witnesses, it's harder to deny.

Advice for Parents of Both Victims and Bullies


Parents really need to get more involved in their children's lives. That way they will be more sensitive to problems occurring. Promote honesty. Ask questions. Listen with an open mind and focus on understanding. Allow children to express how they feel, and treat a child's feelings with respect. Set a good example by showing them a healthy temperament. Settle conflicts by talking things out peacefully. Congratulate or reward them when you see them using these positive skills to settle a difference. Teach them to identify "the problem", and focus on the problem, "not" attacking "the person." Tell them conflicts are a way of life, but violence doesn't have to be. And finally, teaching them to take responsibility for their own actions will make for a healthier child, a healthier self-esteem, and there will be no need for any "bullies" or "victims" in the world.

What can We to do about "Bus Bullies!"


There are many different things that could be tried in this situation.Ideas for what your kids can do include three options: *confront *ignore *avoid

They should be used in that order except if the bullies are physically violent, then "avoid" is the safest choice.

There are many things your child could say back to the bullies:

"Name calling isn't cool"

"I don't want to fight. Can't we be friends instead?"

"Why are you mad at me? I never hurt you."

Bullies usually like the effect they get when they shock or hurt someone. Maybe if your child just laughed it off, like they are joking, they would get tired of calling him/her names and it wouldn't seem fun (or effective) anymore.

If it keeps up, and nothing your child says helps, and ignoring and avoiding don't work AND the school won't get involved, then you will have to contact the parents of the "name callers."

Bullies don't always have a reason for who they pick on or why, but when they *do* have a reason, it usually results in them singling out a smaller person. This would include kids who are not as tall, and most definitely would include younger kids, who obviously would be smaller. This makes you easier to control. And today there are a lot of cases of older kids picking on younger kids on the school buses.

In those cases, I recommend sitting far away from the bully. If the seats are assigned, ask to have them changed. If they are not assigned, ask to have them assigned. If that doesn't work, inform the school and ask the bus driver to get involved. Some bus drivers are asked by the school to intervene. They do this by having the trouble kids sit up front where they can keep a good eye on them in the mirror. However, the bus driver has a job to do which requires the safety of many lives, so if the bullying gets so bad that he/she has to keep turning around or yelling at kids all the time, the perpetrators should be suspended from the bus for the safety of all.

For Teachers & Parents of Bullies - Some useful Questions to Ask

  • What did you do?
  • Why was that a bad thing to do?
  • Who did you hurt?
  • What were you trying to accomplish?
  • Next time you have that goal, how will you meet it without hurting anybody?
  • How will you help the person you hurt?

These questions will help them to: Acknowledge their own actions and the consequences they have on themselves and others, develop shame and guilt ("I don't want to go through that again" & "I hurt someone"), change their actions to stay out of trouble, and learn to trust and form relationships with helping adults.

©2012 Kathy Noll

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In violence, we forget who we are. - Mary McCarthy



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