Families have the first responsibility, as they are the initial environment that can encourage or discourage aggressive behavior. First, families have to teach their children how to not be a victim. Parents need to teacher their children self respect. Confident people are less likely to be targeted by bullies. They need to let their kids know it's okay to express anger. Kids have to know it's okay to stand up for themselves and have opinions. Parents can teach their kids to project assertive body language, including relaxing the body, keeping hands steady, and maintaining frequent eye contact. It's also important to encourage friendships so kids can develop supportive peer groups and build social skills. Teaching kids to express themselves diplomatically can also help them to keep their friendships strong.
If a child is already being bullied, there are steps that parents and schools can take to end the problem. Bullied kids need to be taught the art of self-affirmation so that their self-esteem doesn't become eroded before the situation is ended. They also have to know when to assert themselves. This definitely does not mean to fight the bully; this would often end in the bullied kid getting hurt. Humor is often a good approach to the situation. Doing something funny is often unexpected. Sally Ogden, an author on the subject of bullies, suggests that bullied kids should "outcrazy the crazies". She says to say something nuts like "Hey, do you want a banana?". When the other kids say that's nuts, the bullied kid says "Ya, it is" and leaves the situation. Other strategies for kids who are bullied are not to show how upset they are by the bully, avoid the situation if necessary, and never be ashamed to ask for help.
Additionally, parents, schools, and the community... [continues]
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