Thanks so much for your support. We are using the "Yes" and "No" responses. The "Yes" response is working a treat and I am very pleased with the results. Of course the "No" response is getting a lot of protest but we are persisting. It is working even though the child is flatly saying I will not etc. I allow him a little time to think about it and he eventually goes and does what he is told instead of accepting the consequences. Of course the hardest thing for my husband is keeping a poker face but he is improving every day.
A little off the subject - I am wondering if you have any miracle strategy for getting bullies off my son's back. My son is not street wise and is constantly "set up" etc. The school is useless at addressing the issue.
Thanks so much.
Here are some other strategies to discuss with your son that can help improve the situation and make him feel better:
- Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you're showing that you don't care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
- Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don't go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you're not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
- Hold the anger. It's natural to get upset by the bully, but that's what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it's a useful skill for keeping off of a bully's radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice "cool down" strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a "poker face" until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
- If it feels safe, try to stand up to the person who is bullying you. If the person who is bullying you thinks you won't do anything about it, they are more likely to keep picking on you. This doesn't mean you should fight back or bully them back. Instead, tell the person bullying you that you don't like it and that they should stop! Keep it simple. You might just say, "Cut it out, Miranda!", and then walk away. If possible, try to talk to them in a calm voice. Kids who bully often like to see that they can make you upset. If you're afraid to talk to the person who is bullying you by yourself, then you might want to ask someone else to be there with you. Kids who bully are more likely to listen, and less likely to bully you, when you're with someone and not alone. If you're not comfortable standing up to someone who has bullied you, that's definitely OK! Just walk away. But be sure to tell an adult.
- If you are being bullied on-line, don't reply. This may actually make the bullying worse. Instead, be sure to tell a family member or another adult you trust. If possible, block any more communications from this person. (For example, it might be a good idea only to accept messages from people you know.) Save evidence of the bullying. If you get a nasty e-mail, print it out or save it so that you can show it to an adult.
- Join clubs or take part in activities where you'll meet other kids. Sometimes, it can help to join clubs or take part in activities that interest you. Think about joining a sports team, taking an art class, or joining a scouting group, for example. You can meet other kids who share your interests and you might make some good friends!
- Remove the incentives. If the bully is demanding your lunch money, start bringing your lunch. If he's trying to get your music player, don't bring it to school.
- Stay in a group. Kids who bully like to pick on kids who are by themselves a lot— it's easier and they're more likely to get away with their bad behavior. If you spend more time with other kids, you may not be an easy "target" and you'll have others around to help you if you get into a difficult situation!
- Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can't fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.
- Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.
What NOT to do if you are bullied.
- fight back or bully a person back. This probably won't make things any better and it might get you into big trouble. Besides, you should try to act better than the person who bullies you.
- hurt yourself. Some kids who are bullied get so sad and depressed that they may try to hurt themselves because they think there is nothing else they can do. This definitely isn't the answer. Talk with an adult immediately and tell them how you are feeling. They can help stop the bullying.
- keep it to yourself and just hope the bullying will "go away." It's normal to want to try to ignore bullying and hope that it will stop—or hope that the person will start to pick on someone else. But, often, bullying won't stop until adults and other kids get involved. So, be sure to report the bullying.
- skip school or avoid clubs or sports because you're afraid of being bullied. Missing out on school or activities that you enjoy isn't the answer. You have a right to be there!
- think it's your fault. Nobody deserves to be bullied!
- think that you're a "tattle tale" if you tell an adult that you've been bullied. Telling is NOT tattling! It's the right thing to do.