The hardest part about dealing with a bully is learning how to keep your cool in the face of adversity.
The bully makes threats that feel scary to the other person, comments that are deliberately hurtful or threats of physical harm. The bully’s words and actions are intended to trigger powerful emotions such as fear, anger, and humiliation.
And they do all that because they want to get the best of you. They want you to react with fear, anger, and humiliation. They want you to give them that power.
The key to busting bullies? Don’t give them that power.
Here in the valley, we witnessed a real life situation with bullying on a large scale, when our schools received alarming cyber threats. The perpetrators threatened the most important people in our lives – our children – with acts of violence. Naturally, this triggered fear among the parents, educators, and law enforcement in our community.
We got to watch the Three T’s – “Talk, Tell, Tackle” – in action. When they contacted the Flathead Beacon, the reporter first used “Talk” by asking them what they want. When the situation escalated, they took it to law enforcement. And when the perpetrators persisted, the reporter said, “Do you want to fight? If so, I’m not afraid of you, but if not, then don’t waste my time.”
Fortunately it didn’t escalate to the point of physical engagement, but this was no different than dealing with a bully on a playground. The same threats and terror of the freeze and terrorize us in the moment.
The kids who train in our program know that on some days practice is hard. Rolling and fighting with someone who is stronger or more skilled is hard. The same is true when they need to stand up for and assert themselves.
For SBG, the Bully Buster Workshop isn’t about making kids bully proof in two hours. It’s about exposing them to adversity in a safe training environment with coaches who can guide them, teammates who can love them, and support of their family and the larger community.
If we can show kids that there’s a different way, then little by little, step by step, and day by day they will learn how to make themselves bully proof.