Take A Stand: Prevention of Bullying
8 YEAR OLDS – Instructional Guide Day 4
By Sherryll Kraizer, Ph.D.
- To identify changes in community behaviors as a result of curriculum
- To acknowledge that adults have problems
- To acknowledge that adults sometimes bully physically and emotionally.
- To introduce skills for not internalizing words that hurt
Teacher-Directed Discussion and Role-play (RP)
Who can identify some changes that have happened in our community as a result of your taking a stand about bullying?
Who has a specific instance when you were an advocate and stopped bullying from happening?
Who can identify a time when you were being a bully and stopped yourself?
Did you apologize?
Was your apology accepted?
How did you feel?
How do you think the other person felt?
RP: Who has an example of a time that you were unkind or a bully and later apologized. Let’s role-play each example and see how it goes.
Do people ever hurt you with their words?
Just because someone, even an adult, gets upset and says things that aren’t very nice, that doesn’t make what they say true.
What if someone says to you, (say this loudly, like you mean it) “You’re an idiot. I can’t believe you think you’re smart.” Does that hurt?
Where do you feel that in your body?
What feelings do you have?
What response do you feel like making?
Now I have an exercise that will help you learn not to take what people say inside, to not let people’s words hurt you.
NOTE: Choose a child with pretty good ego strength for this next exercise. Say the following and throw either nerf balls or pieces of paper as you say the words so they hit the child. Say these phrases like you mean it so the full impact is felt. As shocking as it is, the point of this exercise is to teach children not to internalize hurtful things that are said to them. This exercise makes real the adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE DOING THIS EXERCISE FOR ANY REASON – DO NOT DO IT! MOVE ON TO THE NEXT SECTION.
STEP 1: (use a pretty secure child) I have three pieces of paper (or nerf balls). I want you to pretend that these are the words I am saying and to let them hit you.
“You are so stupid!” “You never do anything right!” “I hate you!”
Was that pretty shocking? Was it hurtful?
Is it true about you? Of course not.
Who has the problem here, you or the person saying these things? The other person does and she is taking her problem out on you.
There’s no reason for you to take that into yourself. So this time I want you to:
- Step aside as you see the words and paper coming and
- At the same time say “That’s not true about me” inside your head when I say the hurtful words.
Step 2: Teacher: Again throw the papers or balls and say, “You’re an idiot?” “You never get anything right!” “I wish you belonged to someone else!”
How does that feel? How is it different?
Did the words hurt you that time?
Note: If they did the child is still letting the hurtful words in, try having them say, “That’s not true about me,” out loud first and then silently.
Step 3: Now, if someone was really angry, they wouldn’t want to see you stepping aside, so this time just see the words coming toward you and then taking a big detour around you. At the same time say to yourself “That’s not true about me.”
Teacher: This time just say the words without throwing anything. “You can’t get anything right.” “You’re hopeless, you’ll never learn this.” Did you let it in?
So you really do have a choice about whether you let hurtful things people say into yourself or not. This same thing works with things kids say to you. You have a choice.
RP: Note: Have a child who is particularly sensitive to what other kids say to him or her come up. You start saying things so the child can practice disregarding them. Then have several children line up and say things so the child can experience not caring what they say and not being aggravated by it. Do this with several children who need to learn this skill. This is particularly effective with bullies who believe they are set off by what people say to them. They too can learn to ignore other people’s taunts.
Everyone experiences unkind words from time to time and this skill is for knowing how to handle the occasional insult. For some kids, however, this happens all the time and it can be really hard not to take it in.
If someone hurts you with his or her words, and it happens to you a lot, you should tell someone about that.
If someone says unkind and hurtful things to you on a regular basis, they need to get some help with their problems. It’s not about you; it’s about the person saying the unkind things. Another adult needs to be the one to help the person who says the unkind things.
You need to keep telling yourself “That’s not true about me” and you need to get another adult to help.
How many of you think the grown-ups you live with have problems? (Most kids know adults have problems and have no reluctance about saying so.)
Do adults ever treat you differently because of their problems?
What are some of the ways that you know the grown-ups around you are under stress? No names or specifics.
How many of you have ever been punished?
Did you ever feel that the punishment was unfair? (Most kids have this experience.)
What if someone punishes you in a way that injures your body?
What if that punishment is something like hitting you so hard that it leaves bruises or marks that are there the next day?
What if they say they only did it because you were bad? Is that true?
Would you want to tell someone?
Would you be afraid to tell?
No child ever deserves to be punished in a way that leaves marks or bruises that are there the next day. An adult who does that is having problems that are being taken out on the child. They need to get some help with their problems just as kids get help with problems.
Telling another grownup about what is happening to you is important. They can help the adult that is hurting you to get help so they can deal with their problems in better ways.
Would it take a lot of courage to ask for help in a situation like this? Absolutely!
Is it important that you do it? Absolutely!
Next time we’re going to talk about how to tell so you really get help when you need it.
- Make a list of all the grown-ups that could help you with a problem. Get their phone numbers and make your own resource directory.
Day 5 – Learning to tell and ask for help effectively
© 2016 Sherryll Kraizer, Ph.D. Used with permission.