You can’t just ask a bully to stop and have them stop. Getting them to stop takes time and consistency.
To stop any unwanted behavior you have to remove the reward. What this does is start the behavior extinction process. Which basically means, you have started to train the bully to stop. But for them to actually stop they have to learn that it doesn’t matter how obnoxious they are, they aren’t going to get their reward back.
How long does this process take? That depends on how long the bullying has been going on and how “addicted” to bullying they are. If they are new to it or just testing someone, not getting the response they want is usually enough to make them stop pretty quickly.
If it has been going on a while, it can take longer. Most people will blow out in a few weeks. You remove the reward, they start to get more agitated, you keep not rewarding, they get more agitated and eventually they stop. But really what ends up happening is that their behavior comes out in the open and it is easier for others to see and easier for others to intervene.
Whether you are in a school or a work setting, understand that not rewarding the bully by providing a neutral response is a strategic move on your part. You are intentionally trigger more bad behavior from the bully by doing this and you are going to continue to be calm and non-engaged for 2 reasons. First, it’s the only way to get it to stop, and second because as the bully blows out their behavior, administrators will start to take notice and intervene.
This is why in addition to you no longer rewarding the bully, you also need to document what the bully does in response to you not rewarding them. This is how you basically force those with the ability to intervene to intervene. And they should do this fairly quickly – like within a week or so. It’s rare for administrators to take weeks before they do something when you are reporting what is happening on a daily basis and it is clear that you aren’t part of a conflict, you are just reporting what is being done to you.
So – how long does this take? It depends, but it should only take a few weeks at most. Why? Because around 30 days I how long it takes habits to be formed. So hang in there and keep at it and document and report everything. The more consistent you are, the quickly this will all be over.