Face Bullying with Confidence: The 8 Kidpower Skills we can use right away

What is Bullying?

Bullying is when a person or group deliberately tries to make someone else feel upset, scared, or ashamed. People often bully others who have any difference of behaviour, appearance, culture, race, class, ability, or identity.

There are four types of bullying:

Physical bullying means harming or intimidating someone physically.
Verbal bullying means taunting or hurtful teasing.
Psychological bullying means leaving someone out or saying bad things so others will think less of them.
Cyberbullying means using online and mobile technology to harm someone emotionally and socially.

Most harm caused by bullying is preventable.

You can use these 8 skill guides now to practice proven strategies to prevent and stop bullying.

Practice the 8 skills for your own safety. Every day, adults, young people, and children use these skills to avoid or end bullying at school, at work, in their communities, and online. Anybody can use these 8 skills.

Skill 1: Act with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence

People are less likely to bother you and more likely to listen to you if you walk, sit, and act with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence. Projecting a positive, assertive attitude means holding your head high, keeping your back straight, walking briskly, looking around, and having a peaceful face and body. Staying aware also helps you to notice problems so that you can deal with them sooner rather than later.

Skill 2: Leave in a Powerful, Positive Way

The best self-defense tactic is called “target denial,” which means “don’t be there.” Leaving an unsafe situation is often the wisest and most effective solution for getting away from trouble. Think about walking in the school corridor (or any other place where someone might be bullied). If you see a bigger student who is acting aggressively and saying mean things then just decide to walk around them or in a different way. Just leave the area calmly you might want to say some thing like “See you later” or “Have a nice day”.

Practicing what to say and do prepares young people to take charge of their emotional and physical safety, to increase their confidence, and to develop positive peer relationships.

Remember that best values are to have a welcoming and safe environment for everyone – and that being cruel or hurtful is wrong whether it happens in person, via social media, by texting, online or in any other way. Try not to do or say anything even if it is “just a joke.”

Skill 3: Set Boundaries About Disrespectful or Unsafe Behaviour

Young people should try to speak up about disrespectful language directed at themselves or others by saying, “That didn’t sound kind.” Or, “That sounds prejudiced.” Or, “Please stop saying that.” It is Ok if you don’t feel safe speaking up, but your job then is to get adult help.

You might get into a situation when someone could poke you in the back. In this case you should remember to be calm then turn, stand up tall, put your hands up in front of your body like a fence, elbows bent to be close to your body, palms out and open, and say loudly, “Stop!” then walk away.

If someone is blocking the door in a classroom or bathroom you again need to be calm, use a clear voice and politely and firmly say something like, “STOP! Please get out of my way. I just want to leave. Get out of my way. I just want to go!”

Skill 4: Use Your Voice

Two kids practicing "Stop Power" and having fun learning Kidpower self-defense skills!

Most young people who are being hurtful to others on purpose don’t want to get caught. Yelling and speaking up loudly calls attention to a bullying problem or any kind of unsafe behaviour.

In situations you can pull away and yell “NO! STOP! LEAVE! HELP!” really loudly. You can also yell “Stop, I Don’t like that”. You should make your body tall, look the person who is bullying in the eyes and speak in a firm voice with both hands in front of your body and palms facing outwards, like a wall. It this doesn’t work right away, yell for help in a way that will call attention to the problem. For example, “STOP! GET OUT OF MY WAY! HELP! GET THE TEACHER! (name) IS BULLYING ME!” Remember to always leave and go to an adult to report what happened and get help as soon as possible.

Skill 5: Protect Your Feelings From Name-Calling and Hurtful Behaviour

Most schools, youth groups, and families want to provide a caring environment but for various reasons this doesn’t always happen all the time. So you should try to learn how to protect your feelings from insults.

The “Kidpower Trash Can” technique helps to take the power out of hurting words by hearing them said aloud, catching them, and imagining throwing them away. You can practice catching and throwing the mean things that other people are saying into a trash can.

You can always use some positive self talk too, for example if someone says ” I don’t like you” you can throw away the words and say “I like myself”. If someone says “You are stupid” you can throw away those words and say “I am smart”

Skill 6: Speak Up for Positive Inclusion

Being left out for reasons that have nothing to do with behaviour is a major form of bullying. Exclusion of this kind should be clearly against the rules at school, in recreational activities, and in all youth groups. That said, it is important to realize that sometimes kids (and adults) avoid someone because of their hurtful or negative behaviour. In that case, adult leadership is essential in helping that young person to develop more positive social skills and to negotiate win-win relationships.

In addition to getting adult help, if you are being excluded you can practice asking to join a game in a respectful, persistent, and powerful way. You could say cheerfully and firmly, “I want to play.”

Try to look and sound confident and friendly, not whiny or aggressive. If they say something like “You’re not good enough,” you can reply saying “I’ll get better if I practice!” If they say, “There are too many already,” you might say, “There’s always room for one more.”

Skill 7: Be Persistent in Getting Help From Busy Adults

It’s important to be able to get help from busy adults so you need to be persistent in getting help when there is a problem.

You should be able tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly and persistently even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before.

You can practice what to say and how to say it, again you should be calm and say something like “Excuse me I have a safety problem.” or “Excuse me, I really need your help.” Explain the problem objectively without insults. Sometimes adults or teachers might not understand so do not give up if you do not get a response, instead state the problem stronger “I do not feel safe her because…” Or, even, “My parents told me I have the right to feel safe here, and it is your job to help me.”

Young people need to know that, even if the adult in charge does not listen or is blaming, having someone harming them is not your fault. Your job is to keep asking the adults until someone does something to fix the problem. Remember that it is the responsibility of adults to create safe environments for the children and teens in their care and to be good role models by intervening to stop unsafe behavior and by acting as their advocates in powerful respectful ways.

Skill 8: Use Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

Learning physical self defense helps most children become more confident, even if they never have to use these skills in a real-life situation. Just being more confident helps children to avoid being chosen as a victim most of the time. There are different self defense techniques for bullying than for more dangerous situations.

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