Most children can identify bullying behaviour and have learnt what steps they have to take to prevent it, but victims mostly fail to put this in practice.
A little girl in the school where I teach, complained that a certain group of girls were bullying her by mimicking her.
Image Credit: The Guardian
She told me that she had been bullied in the past, left the school because of the bullying and now that she had returned, she was being bullied again.
That confession totally changed my approach. I was no longer ‘out to get the bullies’ as she put it, but shifted my focus on her behaviour.
As she was a victim continually, it meant she was behaving in a way that ‘invited’ bullies as it is proven that submissive behaviour attract bullies. She thought she was the innocent victim and I as a teacher had to stop and punish the bullies.
I explained this to her in a very gentle way but she refused to even consider the notion that she was attracting bullies because of the way she acts, or then, reacts. She refused to understand that she has the ability to stop the bullies herself. She can make the bullies stop targeting her by changing. She had to become assertive. She had to change her ‘victim’ mentality and understand that she is not a victim, but part of the problem. She did not need to take blame, but take control.
(I sooo wished she could do my whole assertive bully program.)
We all know changing is not easy. First you have to acknowledge that there is something that needs changing. You have to accept responsibility for what is happening in your life. This little victim had to accept that she needs to change to make what happens in her life change. Only if she accepts her responsibility for her behaviour, though subconscious, she will not understand that she can change to stop the bullying.
Thank you Miss Gabby for this lovely display in your room.
Our school has an excellent bully awareness and prevention strategy. It is called the ‘High Five”. 1. Talk friendly. 2. Talk firmly. 3. Ignore. 4. Walk away. 5. Report. The students are taught it hold up their had and each finger represents a strategy.
Victims of bullying mostly behave submissively. For a submissive person to talk firmly is very, very difficult.
If a child has a low self-image it is even more difficult to ignore because the bullies focus on their victims shortcomings and defects and if the victim does not believe she or he has a pretty or attractive feature or an endearing character trait or something that she or he has success in, the bullying remarks are going to be very, very difficult to ignore.
As changing the outside is easier and more obvious than changing the inside, I helped her decide what her prettiest feature is. And focus on that when the bullies say she is ugly. That was the first step in a long journey to become assertive and prevent victimization.