School has begun and soon someone will be bullied. Bullying is a distinctive pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating another. Bullies are made, not born. And it happens at an early age.
While I see the bully as a victim in need of help, I also stress the importance of teaching children how to manage that kind of attack. First you ask the child, “Are you OK?” and then you say, “Let me teach you how to handle that.”
“You get bullied because you get angry and/or upset — not because you are different,” says Izzy Kalman, a nationally certified school psychologist who has been working in schools and private practice since 1978.
Kalman believes if you give an emotional response — crying, cringing in fear, shouting angrily back or threatening to “tell,” the bullying will continue.
Kalman's approach is similar to what Bill Cosby teaches children in his Little Bill series. Little Bill's father taught his son when confronted by bullies to show no expression and to simply say, “So?”
No emotion. Don't engage. Use short and simple words. Practice. Practice. Practice.