Standing Up to Bullies

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“Catelyn stop it!  Come here!”

Catelyn stands down, turns her head and walks over.

“Why did you push that boy?”

“He pushed me first.”

“I thought I saw that.  But why?  What happened?”

“Declan saw we were playing, came running over and wanted to play.  He wanted to make up his own character.”

“Yeah…”

“Well, Declan said he wanted to be a good guy and that boy told him “NO!”  He kept screaming at Declan.  I told the boy to stop screaming at Declan.

Then, I asked that boy to come talk to me.  I told him that my brother has autism and has a hard time understanding.  I asked him if Declan could still play with us, but play his own way.

The boy told me “You can’t tell me what to do” and he pushed me.

So, I pushed him back.”

Bullying

I don’t support violence.

But I really hate bullying.

I have spoken before about bullying in my post “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” found here.

Both Catelyn and Declan have been bullied in the past.  Declan did not understand what was happening or being said, although I did.

Catelyn did understand what was being said about her.  She was not able to find the words to describe what was happening to her or how she felt.  She became depressed, withdrawn and hated going to school.

Eventually Cate came home crying and could repeat the events of the single event that led to the tears.  Two girls had kicked her out of her assigned bus seat.  Exasperated and frustrated Catelyn started crying.  These girls knew they were sitting in Cate’s assigned seat and did nothing to stop Catelyn’s tears.  Instead they sat there and watched her cry.

Once we identified the problem, we sought out help.  The girls were identified and stopped being open about their bullying behavior, but subtle and hurtful remarks and behaviors still got through.  It was time to arm Catelyn.

Catelyn got involved in therapy.  Her self-confidence grew.  She started smiling again.  I see in her work how she identified the bullies and worked to redirect her attention.  She learned many new ways to help herself in many situations.

And I learned that she was able to help others.

The internet has many sites describing how to stand up to bullies for yourself and on behalf of others.  Wiki How even describes here:

How to stand up to a Bully:

  1. Look them in the eye and tell them to stop
  2. Learn how bullies think (showing that it bothers you may give them ammunition and make their attacks worse)
  3. Stand tall and stare them down
  4. Close your ears
  5. Defend yourself with smarts (Don’t get sucked in, bullies will always win)
  6. Ignore bullies online
  7. Learn to throw a punch

According to girlshealth.gov, here is what you do:

If you see someone else getting bullied

  1. Don’t stand and watch-  bullies love an audience.  Leave and get help
  2. Stop any rumors
  3. Stand up for the person being bullied
  4. Tell an adult
  5. Encourage bullied person to talk to an adult

 

I was proud of Cate for standing up to a bully.  She did not have any second thoughts.  She stood tall, she used her words and asked for understanding.  When her requests were met with being pushed, she did not cower and allow herself to be pushed around, or worse, hit – she stood tall and defended herself.

Not only did she have enough courage to stand up to a bully – she did this all on behalf of someone else.  Someone who couldn’t defend themselves.

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I have read a lot of different articles about children with autism being bullied.  According to TIME, children with autism are 5 times more likely for being bullied than their typically developing peers.  Autism differences may stand out.  And if you are a blue duck in a pond full of purple ducks, the purple ducks will notice and point it out.

 

It is important to me to teach my kids to love and celebrate their differences.  They are truly awesome individuals, full of truly awesome attributes.

Being different is okay – more than okay – it is great.  And if someone tells them differently, that’s an opinion.  If someone tries to belittle their differences, I want them to know how to stand up for themselves and to continue to love themselves.

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17 thoughts on “Standing Up to Bullies

  1. My oldest daughter has been bullied a lot in her young life. I’ve given her the worst advice! (basically what I used to get overcome my bullies) Thanks for your advice and hopefully my parental mistakes will be redeemed!

    1. When I was younger there was not as much of an awareness to stop bullying. So, I had to come up with the best way for me to handle being picked on. I chose to hide and ignore. My kids school is super proactive to encourage the kids to notice if bullying is happening and to not be a bully. The school sparked the awareness and the kids brought the discussion home. So we could talk about what they learned and what they should do. Which helped me help them, for sure!

      1. I’m glad we’ve gotten better at identifying them. There’s a line between interceding and allowing space for your children to resolve it. I’m more of the “punch them in the mouth” variety without the grace and understanding to offset (Basically, you become the bully to your bully!), which is not the best advice to give.

  2. Great advice! I feel so sad for your children getting bullied, my son has also been bullied and occasionally still does. I’ve been up at the school about it. Your 7th point ‘learn to throw a punch’ can be effective. He knows never to hit first and to hit back as a last resort. The school has a blanket ban on any hitting. My son is scared he’ll get into trouble. I’ve told him I won’t mind if the head teacher pulls him into the office if he’s been sticking up for himself! I love how your daughter sticks up for others. My son does this too. I’m sad to say that the girl who gets bullied the most in his class is on the spectrum 🙁 My son is often defending her. He says she’s his girlfriend and they bully her because she’s different 🙁

    1. Thank you! I feel sad hearing that your son and his girlfriend face bullying behavior, too. I am glad that your son is their for her! We’ve told our kids the same thing – hitting is a last resort and is okay in defense. My oldest has said the same – that he can never see himself hitting someone and asked for different ideas. I don’t know if he would’ve pushed this kid back, or just gotten Declan and walked away. Either his way or Cate’s way works for me. Both options would deflate the bully, I guess

      1. It’s so sad we have to equip our innocent little children to deal with them in the first place. I’ve worked with adult bullies too, so it’s sadly a good skill to have.

        1. I was thinking that – little bullies easily grow up to adult bullies. I was not raised with the same bully awareness my kids have been taught through their school. I hope they will be better equipped than I to handle all the bullies they will face in life

  3. Not every child has an older sibling to protect them like I used to defend my little brother. Fought many a fight in his defense. Granted the kids I was fighting towered over me, but I knew how to hit them where it hurt the most! Acted like I am going for the knees get then hit them in the crouch! They didn’t walk away too well when I finished! I was a short grade schooler beating up a high school bully. They never reported me to the principal or anything.

    1. I am thankful Declan has his older brother and sister looking out for him, you’re right! That was great you could help protect your little brother.

  4. We must also remember that behind every bully there is usually a whole load of insecurity, that bullying is usually nothing more than a cowardly way for somebody to face up to their own problems — making themselves feel better by making somebody else feel worse — something that is sadly much easier during this day and age of social media.

  5. I think the bullies sought out ‘different’ children, because they can get away with it. At some point, and it may take years, but finally they stand up for themselves, or a friend jumps in.

  6. I shared your post on one of my favorite Facebook pages called Be Safe on Social Networks. Those ladies work tirelessly to inform and educate. Thank you so much for writing this and for allowing others to read it and learn from it.

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