How should kids handle bullies? Should they fight back? One kindergarten teacher seems to think so when she ordered a group of little girls to SPIT on a “naughty classmate” — a little boy. Reports say the little boy had been bullying his classmates by spitting at them, hence his “punishment.”
How Should Kids Handle Bullies?
The teacher in question is from Hainan, China. Reports say she has been suspended after she instructed 17 little girls under her care to take turns spitting on a “naughty classmate.”
Based on surveillance footage, the class applauds — at the prodding of the teacher — after each child spits. The boy breaks down in tears after each of the 17 girls spits on him.
The boy’s parents later learned about the incident and got the teacher, identified only as Zhang, suspended from duty. Despite this, Zhang remains adamant that there was nothing wrong with what she did. She said it was only a way to discipline the boy, explaining that the girls only pretended to spit on him.
While others condemned the teacher, calling her methods “excessive,” others came to her defense. According to them, it was only right in order to prevent bratty behaviour.
Bullying can be a vicious cycle. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Kids don’t have to resort to hostility; they can take the high road and choose not to engage.
As parents, it is up to you to guide your children through difficult situations.
5 Skills You Need to Teach Your Kids When Handling Bullies
In teaching kids to be assertive, we should not overlook other admirable values, like kindness and compassion.
Kids should know that bullying a bully, or reverse bullying, will not help. What’s more, it will teach them to believe that hostility or intimidation is the best way to be heard or to resolve conflict.
But this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stand up to bullies. Here are some skills to teach your kids if they ever have to deal with bullies in school.
1. Avoid Isolation
Bullies tend to prey on those who feel alone and helpless. Your kids need to learn that you are there for them. Social worker and author Signe Whitson writes that kids can be empowered by staying connected to a good support system of friends and family.
2. Speaking Out Is Not an Act of Cowardice
According to Whitson, some kids don’t tell on bullies simply because they think adults can’t help them. Make sure kids know that telling on a bully is a brave act. They should not feel afraid of being called a “tattletale.”
3. Act Quickly
The longer you let bullying persist, the deeper its effects can become. Simple teasing can escalate to violent behaviour pretty quickly. Once a bully sees their “target” is not fighting back they will be more and more emboldened to keep up the abuse.
4. Be Assertive But Not Too Aggressive
Just because kids favour peace, it doesn’t mean they should be passive. There is a way to be assertive without being hurtful. They need to assert their right not to be bullied, while not resorting to cheap comebacks and hurtful words.
5. Body Language Speaks Volumes
Standing up to a bully means not just being assertive in words, but in actions as well. Assertive body language reinforces your message, says Whitson. When confronting a bully, keep eye contact and don’t stand too close. But don’t shrink back either.
6. Talk Simply, But in a Detached Manner
When speaking to bullies, be direct and not overly emotional. If they get too worked up during a confrontation, it shows how much power a bully has over them.
They key is not to show low self-confidence. Don’t respond in anger or fear. Don’t confront a bully with the intent to hurt or humiliate, but to model good behaviour and a willingness to resolve conflict in a peaceful way.
With constant guidance and reassurance, you can help kids always take the high road, even if they encounter bullies in adulthood.
Sources: Shanghailist via Medium, Psychology Today
ALSO READ: “Reverse bullying” is just as bad as bullying someone else