Bullying is a terrible thing to witness. Not only is it mean, but the victim of the bullying is hurt. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable. If you ignore or minimize the problem, victims will not believe that adults understand or care, or that they can help. And if you don’t intervene, their peers won’t either. So, when you see someone being bullied, take a moment to step in and help stop it. Not sure how to do it? Here are some simple ways to make a difference:
Intervene immediately. Stand between or near the victim and the bully, separating them if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors. For young children, consider removing them from the situation to a “time-out” area or room. Remain calm but convey the seriousness of the situation. Announce that the bullying must stop. Describe the behavior you observed and why it is unacceptable.
Get help if needed. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find another adult to help keep children safe and protect yourself.
Don’t impose immediate consequences. Make sure you gather all the information before deciding the best course of disciplinary action and refrain from punishing the bully in front of peers.
Don’t ask children to “work things out” for themselves. Bullying is different from an argument or conflict – it involves a power imbalance that requires adult intervention.
Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders. Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention.
Stick around. Remain in the area until you are sure the behavior has stopped.
If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.