Now that we are well into the school year, kids everywhere are faced with the challenge of how to deal with bullies.
Here’s a typical encounter: Your 5th grade son is playing soccer on the playground at recess. A 6th grade bully comes over and takes his ball, throws it at him and laughs as he walks away. What should your son do?
a) Throw the ball back at him
b) Walk away and say nothing
c) Report the boy to school authorities
d) Go after the kid and try to talk to him
e) Initiate “The Swarm”
Dads tend to choose answer A because they want their sons to fight back. Moms like answer D because we think problems can be solved by talking them out. Answer B is good if you can get your son to do it, but it does nothing to correct the bully behavior. Answer C works if adults are involved and will actually do something. Reporting a bully is sometimes unpopular because kids fear revenge and being labeled a tattletale. So that leaves us with answer E. The Swarm is an effective technique. Your son gets a number of his friends to literally swarm the bully and tell the bully to stop. There is power in numbers and the bully will have to contend with the entire group, not just your son.
You can also help your children prepare for a bully attack this way. Ask them to write down bully situations on 3 X 5 cards. They will come up with examples in no time. Then role-play the situations and practice different ways to handle a specific problem. Talk about why some solutions are good choices and others not so good. Role-playing exercises like this one helps children think what they might do before they encounter the problem. Then when a bully situation presents, they have a plan and can act more confidently.