Ignore them and they will go away – doesn’t work. It’s incredibly bad advice to give to a kid. Please stop. What should you tell them instead? I’m glad you asked.
Adults. Parents. Educators. Please pay attention. Kids need our help. They need advice. And we tend to give them really crappy advice.
I was speaking to a Kiwanis club the other day and every time I talk about bullying to a group of adult men- inevitably – one says – well – when you are bullied – sometimes you just gotta hit the other kid. (Shock!!! Gasp!!!!)
Ok – so – first – I understand why some older men think this is a good idea. What they don’t realize is that their individual interaction with a bully that led to the point that they just punched the other kid – resulted from the fact that the adults around them – failed them to the point that what was happening got violent.
Wouldn’t it be better if things – never got to that point. Like – imagine if a kid was harassed by another kid. And they went to an adult. And the adult gave them advice that worked – made the other kid leave them alone and no one had to be hit to make that happen? Yeah – that ideal – is actually possible. IF we change what we are telling kids.
Clearly – ignore them and they will go away – doesn’t work!!!!! We all know it doesn’t work. So why do we keep telling kids to ignore someone hurting them?
What kids want to know – is how do I make it stop. So let’s start teaching them that. Ideally in a way that doesn’t escalate the violence and turn our children into hoodlums. Defending ourselves – does not necessarily require force. So let’s start with the non-violent yet effective methods of dealing with problem behavior before escalating to violence – shall we? PLEASE!!
So – how do we make it stop- as I said in last week’s post – compassionate non-compliance. Stop rewarding bullies. Call them out. Get them in trouble. Report them. Every time they behave inappropriately. Report them.
Is it the job of a kid to help retrain a bully to stop? No. It’s the adult’s job. The kid’s job is to notify us that there is a problem. Unfortunately – most of the time a kid reports something – NOTHING HAPPENS!!! The adults say – ok – sit down – I’ll handle it. But they don’t. Or maybe they do – but the kid is still being bullied.
What kids need is – information on what exactly they need to do and support from teachers when they do it. Positively reinforce kids for reporting problems to you. So they will keep letting you know – they still have a problem so it doesn’t get to the point – they have to hit someone to make it stop!
Just please – stop telling kids to ignore it and stop pretending that that will make it all right.
So – what do you tell the kids? Don’t ignore a bully. Talk to them. Tell them to stop and if they don’t – report them. Every single time. Practice with your child something they can say – and explain to them – they might have to do this several times. They are not to argue with a bully. They are not to say – that’s not true. They are just to tell the bully to stop and if they don’t – report them. And make sure when they do – tell you what is going on – that you listen and respond and give them support.