Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Self-Confidence Combats Bullying

What is bullying? 
 Bullying is defined as superior strength or influence used to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

But let’s go a little further.  Bullying is an attempt by one or more individuals to alienate, humiliate, or intimidate another person or persons.  Originally bullying was considered behavior used to get another person to do what the bully or bullies wanted them to do, however in today’s world it is often a form of targeted abuse through verbal and/or physical attacks, not necessarily intended to make the victim comply with their wishes, but to make the bully feel a sense of power and control.

Why do bullies, bully? 
 As we mentioned earlier, bullies often bully in order to get the victim to comply with some sort of demand.  But now we also see bullying behavior as an attempt by the bully to alienate and target another in order to ostracize them from their peers.  This makes the bully feel a strong sense of power and control, giving them a false sense of popularity amongst their peers.  

Who are the bullies?
 Bullies are individuals with low self-esteem, often having been the victim of bullying or abuse themselves.  By intimidating others they are able to mask their insecurities and inadequacies and feel a sense of competency.  Controlling others may also provide a bully relief from feelings of powerlessness.  A bully is aggressive and seeks control over others because they have no control over themselves or their surroundings.   

Who are the bullied?
 Bullies usually target others with low self-esteem for they are the easiest to gain power and control over.  A bully gets a false sense of superiority over their victims to mask their true feelings of inferiority.  

How can self-confidence combat bullying?
 Helping to build self-confidence is not only an extremely effective tool to help prevent someone from being bullied, but it is also helps prevent someone from becoming a bully.  If there are no bullies—there are no bullied. 
We mentioned earlier that bullies and the bullied both suffer from low self-esteem.  Therefore, it seems like a simple solution to just implant self-confidence and “bam!” problem solved.  I wish that were true.  Self-confidence has to be developed over a period of time, often years.  The good news is, there is no time like the present and it’s never too late to build and obtain self-confidence.  

How can we teach and learn how to be self-confident?    
 Building self-confidence will take time so don’t get impatient if you don’t see or feel the results of the following practices right away.  Take comfort in knowing that each day you become stronger and that this is a journey.  Embrace what you learn along the way.

Instilling self-confidence in children:

1.  When a child makes a mistake, do not chastise them for it.  Ask them if there was a better choice they could have made and discuss why that choice is better.

2.  Do not point out your child’s failures, but often refer to their successes.  If they view an event as a failure (e.g. failing a test or not making a team), point out something they were successful at and let them know the most powerful way to learn is through mistakes.

3.  Smile at them.  A lot.  

4.  Teach them to acknowledge their mistakes (don’t blame) and learn from them (see #1). 

5.  Get them involved with helping others.  This single act will build self-confidence very quickly and it is also teaching them compassion and team work. 

6.  Do not expect them to be perfect and discourage them from expecting themselves or others to be perfect.  

7.  Daydreaming is a form of visualization.  Encourage positive daydreaming, do not discourage it.  Unless of course they’re in the middle of a test.  

8.  Teach them appreciation by being appreciative.  

9.  Leave little sticky notes or wall hangings around the house or classroom like “You are a beautiful person”, “You’re the best!” “You are smart!”.  Sounds silly, but it’s effective. 

These are just a few ways you can begin to help build self-confidence in a child.  For adults, follow the same principles above and also read “Building Confidence Beyond Belief”.  

Self-confidence is the only truly effective way to prevent bullying.  There are many other methods that address bullying, but most of them are dealing with the effect, not the cause.  

Let's get to the root of the problem and start working from there: teaching our children to be confident within themselves and the world they live in.  Not an easy fix, but not an impossible one.  Take it one confident step at a time. 

Article by Danielle Pierre

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Author Richard Paul's No Bully Club

Co-Author of Bullying Ben, Richard Paul, speaks to schools around the nation about bullying prevention.  Check out this clip of one of his assemblies.  Fun, funny and effective!

If you would like more information about bringing him to your school, contact Danielle at 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teasing is Bullying Too

 Many think that a bully is someone who only threatens or physically hurts someone, but the truth is teasing is bullying too. We’ve all heard the phrase “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Name-calling is a form of bullying that sometimes scars people for life. When one makes fun of another person for the way they look or degrade someone because they have a learning disability, they may think it’s funny but in reality they’re hurting the other person deep inside.

Recently a friend of mine attended her twenty year class reunion.  A woman came up to her and shouted: “You, you are the one who made fun of me all the time, I used to go to bed crying myself to sleep. SHAME ON YOU!”

My friend couldn’t remember what she used to say to her but apparently her target remembered every word; it was etched in her brain. This is what teasing does, it’s not cute and it’s not a part of proper social behavior.

There was a survey conducted by Professors Roberta and Warren Heydenberk, Ed. D.
They asked hundreds of students which was worse, physical or verbal bullying. A clear majority surveyed preferred the physical bully to the verbal.  One 12 year-old girl explained, "When you get punched, the pain goes away in a few minutes, but when someone says mean things to you or about you, the pain lasts a long time. Sometimes it even gets worse the next day.”

So how do we put an end to the teasing? I think we’d be living in a dream world if we said we can end it, but I believe we can each work to reduce it by not only teaching positive communication skills but to also walk the talk in our own lives. Children learn by example and when we as parents/teachers lose our temper and call a child stupid or labeling them as “bad kids or brats” we are hurting them deep inside. Our goal should be to give our children a safe academic environment while at the same time building a character based foundation at home by which they can come to understand differences and embrace the social principles of respect and responsibility.

It is one thing to teach respect and responsibility and it is another to live it.

It is one thing to tell our children not to tease another and it’s another to make a mean comment about another person in earshot of are children. The point is we need to remind ourselves that words are so powerful that they can touch the heart or bruise the brain. If we want our kids to stop the teasing and name-calling we must first clean the mud off our thoughts before we open our mouths. At schools and at work we are told to evaluate our programs to see if what we are doing is working.  I say daily we must evaluate our words to make sure that they are respectful and kind while at the same time reminding our children that life is about getting along with other people, it is about building friendships, stepping stones by which to learn and lead successful character based lives.

Copyright Richard Paul 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cyber Bullying Prevention Tips

Here are some cyber bullying prevention tips:

  • Keep your personal information private
  • Never give anyone your password
  • Google yourself regularly to make sure no one is sending up false information about you
  • Do not open questionable messages from people you know or don’t know
  • Do not forward any gossip, embarrassing or threatening messages

Why Bullies Bully

There have been many who have tried to figure out why bullies bully other kids.

Here is an email from a client:

Understanding why bullies bully.  I explain to to my students that bullies are actually very scared people and unhappy with themselves inside and that something has happened or is happening to them that has made them unhappy and scared inside. So I tell my students when they are being bullied to look at the person and tell them that you are sorry they are not very happy inside. Also I tell my students to “USE THE WALL” and imagine an invisible thick wall around yourself that only lets the good word in and the bad stuff can’t penetrate. Finally I talk to them alot about not giving the bully any power over them to get them upset, which is what the bully wants to get power over them.

Keep up the good work,
Mr. Kim Noxhall

Elementary Character/P.E. Teacher, Fairfield, Ohio

Copyright ©Richard Paul 2012

Be a Hero and Say Something

I heard a story of a girl who was being teased in class. The two bullies wouldn’t let up until she cried out for help. A young man who was late for class walked in during the heat of the conflict and shouted, “STOP IT!”  The two bullies went silent and the victim fell to the floor weeping. The boy sat next to her and told her he would stay with her till the social worker arrived.

After walking her to the office the young hero went back into his class and asked the teacher if he could say a few words to his classmates. She agreed and he started reminding them how wrong it is to bully and how stupid they all are for teasing that young lady. He asked, “how would you like it if someone was teasing you like that?”

 Here is a perfect example of how students and teachers need to get involved. Bullying is wrong,  if we sit back watching someone being teased and fail to step in and say something then we are as bad as the bully.

Copyright ©Richard Paul 2012