Stopping school bullying that is overt – physical violence or threats; nasty verbal and emotional intimidation in public – is relatively easy because the bullying is in public. There will be witnesses and our kids might be able to get evidence, including recordings on their smart phones. How to stop school bullying that is covert – sneaky, manipulative, backstabbing, cutting out, putting down, embarrassing, demeaning – is usually more difficult.
The first step in how to stop school bullies is to recognize their tactics as bullying so you can gather your courage, strength and skill to protect yourself.
Part of good parenting means that we teach our children the seven early warning signs of stealthy, critical, righteous, controlling bullies at school.
- They make the rules; they control everything – what your kid can do, where she can go, who she can be friends with.
- They push boundaries, argue endlessly and withhold friendship if your kid doesn’t do exactly what they want. Your kid must never disagree or keep them waiting.
- Their standards rule. Your kid’s "no" isn't accepted as "no." The controlling bully is always right and your kid is always wrong. The stealth bully never apologizes. She always has excuses and justifications. The sneaky bully’s sense of humor is right so she doesn’t think she’s harassing, abusing or bullying your kid. Your kid is merely too sensitive. Your kid’s issues generally don't get dealt with. The stealth bully’s concerns are more important so they can ignore your kid’s wishes.
- They control your kid with their disapproval, name-calling, demeaning putdowns, blame and guilt. No matter what your kid does; she’s wrong or not good enough. Or they control your kid with their hyper-sensitive, hurt feelings and threats to cut off the friendship and be hurt and retaliate forever. The bully will spread lies and rumors and ruin your kid’s reputation.
- Your kid is afraid she'll trigger a violent rage or an everlasting vendetta at school. She walks on eggshells. The controlling bully intimidates her with words and weapons. The stealth bully threatens her and her favorite things. Your kid is told that she’s to blame if the stealth bully is angry. Your kid feels emotionally blackmailed, intimidated and drained. She’s afraid of the ongoing control and bullying at school.
- Your kid’s told she’s ugly, poorly dressed, incompetent, and helpless and she wouldn’t have other friends without the stealth bully to guide her.
- They isolate your kid. She’s not allowed to see other friends or tell you what’s going on.
Post #353 – BulliesBeGoneBlog How to Stop School Bullying: Getting Information
- Because kids don’t recognize and label these manipulators as bullies, kids don’t resist them.
- The manipulated kids take on the blame and feel guilty. They think it’s their fault. They must have done something wrong since the stealth bully is angry.
- They try to please the stealth bully. They try to be perfect according to the bully.
- They lose a sense of themselves and they become helpless and powerless.
- Later in life, they’ll easily fall under the spell of controlling, abusive spouses and bosses. They’ll accept the abuse because they’ll think it’s their fault.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, expert coaching by phone or Skype helps. Call me to design a plan that fits you and your kid's situation at school. And build your will and skill to carry it out effectively.