Posts tagged activities to stop bullying
While I soak in as much Summer as I can before the 2016-17 school year begins, I am thinking about my own mantras of School Counseling—the most important things I can offer my students to make them each feel heard, understood, safe, and valued. What follows are my Bullying Prevention mantras (along with their slightly longer explanations.)
In One Word: EMPATHIZE
Bullying is a purposeful act of cruelty. Kids who bully show a lack empathy for the feelings and experiences of their targets. Parents and professionals play a key role in cultivating empathy in all kids, especially those who are most likely to get caught up in moments of social whack-a-mole, knocking others down just to pull themselves up the school social ladder.
In Two Words: WORDS MATTER
Okay, I already previewed this one, didn’t I? At my elementary school, many of the students call me Queen Signe. Some of them do it because they like to be silly and others do it just for fun but most of the kiddos I work with use this term because our comprehensive, Every Action/Every Day Bullying Prevention strategy means that we are always talking about the fact that words matter. The way we speak to each other, including the names we use and the words we choose, all have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and how we enjoy our time at school.
Important point: The same applies to how we communicate through technology. Teach kids that the words they text, tweet, send, and post should be used with the same amount of care as the words that they say to someone in person.
For the rest of my mantras, please check out my article on Psychology Today:
My newest book, 8 Keys to End Bullying: Strategies for Parents & Schools is now available online and in stores. This review, posted in the Summer 2014 Newsletter from Barclay & Associates, provides a chapter by chapter summary:
Check out the January edition of the International Bully Prevention E-Zine. GREAT read for adults and kids alike. And I’m not just saying that because an article of mine is included.
Try this activity to help kids understand how important their role as a bystander–er, HERO, is in a bullying situation.
Give a child 5 wooden craft sticks.
Ask him to write his name on the first one. Then, tell him to break the stick. The task should be easy.
Emphasize that on our own, we are breakable.
Next, ask each child to write down the names of three people who they know they can count on for friendship and support, on three of the remaining sticks. It can be a parent, family member, friend, or even a pet.
On the remaining craft stick, ask the child to write something that they are good at, such as a sport, art, or even being a good friend to others.
Have the child stack his four sticks, one on top of the other, then challenge him to again try to break the sticks. This time, the task should be impossible.
When I do this activity with kids, usually in schools or troop settings–the expressions on the their faces as they realize the strength of the stacked sticks is priceless every time. I know my point has been made. But I say it anyway:
“When you support one another, and have confidence in your own abilities, you become unbreakable. Keep these craft sticks as a reminder of how strong you truly are!”
My other reminder/mantra to kids, when we talk about bullying and bystanding, is that it is never OK to do nothing about bullying. I have kids repeat the phrase. I encourage them to shout it. Sometimes, we see if the whole building can hear us! I want kids to remember this truism.
This week, in light of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, it seems especially important.
For more ideas and activites to help kids cope with bullying, please check out Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying, available November 15, 2011.
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said… they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Copy and paste if you would like to stop bullying.