How to Bullyproof Your Child – Smart Media Magazine

How to Bullyproof Your Child

Susan P. Limber, a leading bullying researcher at Clemson University, said, “we would love to see a simple solution, but I don’t believe there is a quick fix — a curriculum or a schoolwide assembly — to this age-old problem of bullying. Unfortunately, bullying is a very complex problem that research shows requires a comprehensive sustained effort, and intervention at many levels, to change the climate and culture of the community.”

Barbara Coloroso, author of “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander,” said: “It’s a short walk from hateful rhetoric, to hate crimes to crimes against humanity. Bullying is neither normal, natural or necessary. It is a learned behavior. The bullies must be stopped.”

Of course, Mr. Kalman’s strategies are likely to be most effective if they are used to shut down teasing as soon as it starts. Some bullying situations are so overwhelming that a child feels unable to resolve the conflict alone, and needs to call in adults. But for cases like my daughter’s, learning these approaches can provide a script to help a child handle social conflict with confidence.

Following are some of Mr. Kalman’s suggested responses.

The Reflexive Response

“I am not fat!” or “Shut up!”

Mr. Kalman’s Approach:

“You are so lucky you’re so skinny because people are mean to fat people,” or “I like my body, but if you don’t that’s O.K. with me.”

The Reflexive Response

“I didn’t. Tessa is a liar!”

“No, she’s not!

“She is! I didn’t cheat!”

“Everyone knows it’s true.”

“It’s not true!”

Mr. Kalman’s Approach:

“Really? Do you believe it?”



Or, if the answer is “Yes”:

O.K. If you want to believe it, how can I stop you?”

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