What if I told you that bullying doesn’t exist—unless there is a victim? What if I told you that if we could shrink the pool of victims, the number of bullies might also decrease?
Stopping bullying isn’t only about holding bullies accountable. It’s also about teaching victims the confidence they needed to effectively assert themselves. This isn’t to say that bullies shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions—because they should be.
But we also need to focus on how to reach victims. We need to help them find time and space away from their tormentors in order to heal. And we need to teach them ways to protect themselves against future attacks.
Because when the victim is taken out of the equation, the bully instantly loses power.
Without realizing it, victims unwittingly give power to the bullies. The way they respond to attacks—body language like lowering the head, slouching, avoiding eye contact—conveys to bullies that they have low self-esteem and opens them to receive more and worse attacks in the future.
So how do we teach victims confidence and the proper body language to ward off bullying?
It’s easier and more compassionate that you would think. Using positive re-enforcement—praise for performing good deeds, showing love and affection, reminding them know how awesome they are and how much they are loved—can counter the negative things they’re told and start believing about themselves. And the better they feel about themselves, the more they see their own value and the better able they will be to counter any future attacks and bullying.
Think of it as putting money into a bank account. The more money you deposit, the bigger your account grows and the wealthier you are. It’s the same with bully positive reinforcement: self-esteem is like the kid’s bank account, and like regular cash deposits, the more love, care and positive praise you put in for the child, the bigger and better their self-esteem, and ultimately the healthier he or she will be. For a bullied individual, positive words and actions from family members, teachers, pastors, rabbis, or whoever will outweigh and outnumber the negative attacks and assaults of their bully. Once they really know their own worth, they can better counter the incendiary attacks of bullies!
If someone you love or look after is being bullied, it is imperative that you deposit positive reinforcement into his or her dwindling self-esteem account. Do it every day, as much as humanly possible, before the bully’s negative messages drain the poor victim. Only with this help will he or she be able to maintain and replenish his or her self-esteem and regain his or her confidence.
Finally, when confidence is fully restored, the victim will reclaim his/her power, be better able to combat bullies and maybe even cease to be a victim!
Cherie White, both a writer and author, joined the team after being discovered by Brian through her own personal blog and through social media. She has been writing ever since she was ten years old and has a love for writing articles, short stories and novels. She became intrigued with the new Pyngby app because it helps victims pinpoint victims and their harassers for easy protection and litigation if need be. Because she experienced severe bullying from sixth grade until changing schools during her last year of high school, she has a passion for spreading bullying awareness and helping those who are bullied and abused today. Her goal is to bring down the suicide rate among bullied children, teens and young adults. Her debut novel, “From Victim to Victor” is available now at LuLu. Cherie looks forward to helping victims through Watchdog Creative.
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