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Take a stand prevention of bullying

The TAKE A STAND Program has been a critical part of changing the culture in schools throughout North America. The Coalition for Children and author, Sherryll Kraizer, are pleased to be able to offer the program in its entirety for use throughout the world without charge.

As bullying is being recognized in more and more countries for its devastating effects, many developing nations have requested access to the materials to develop culturally relevant adaptations.

This approach to changing community acceptance of bullying works. See this article from UCLA researching another program based on education the whole classroom and school including “Bystanders.” Successful anti-bullying program identified by UCLA.

To access the full School Program, please follow this link: Video / Parent Teacher Training for Take A Stand & Curriculum Materials for ages 5-12.

To learn more about the concepts in the program, see below.

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Introduction: Take a Stand

Introduction to Take A Stand

Bullying is something most children encounter in one form or another. Children struggle with being called names, being picked upon, being excluded, not knowing how to make friends, or being the ones acting unkindly or aggressively toward others. All forms of bullying are abusive and all are opportunities to teach children how to get along, how to be considerate people, how to be part of a community or group.

The TAKE A STAND Program is a revolutionary approach to prevention of bullying. Starting at the Kindergarten level and progressing through Grade 5, children learn about bullying, its effects, how to stop it and the importance of mutual acceptance and respect.

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Elements of Communication

The TAKE A STAND Program creates a community of interpersonal problem solving and mutual respect. While you can teach many of these concepts to your own children, it is more powerful in a group setting. If you would like this Program to be a part of your children’s education, please share this information with your school, youth group or Parent Teacher organization.

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Three Key Elements of Take A Stand

Bullying can take many forms: physical, emotional, verbal or a combination of these. It may involve one child bullying another, a group of children against a single child or groups against other groups (gangs). It is not unlike other forms of victimization and abuse in that it involves:

  • an imbalance of power
  • differing emotional tones, the victim will be upset whereas the
  • bully is cool and in control
  • blaming the victim for what has happened
  • lack of concern on the part of the bully for the feelings and
  • concerns of the victim
  • a lack of compassion
    Bullies are very often children who have been bullied or abused themselves. Sometimes they are children experiencing life situations they can’t cope with, that leave them feeling helpless and out of control. They may be children with poor social skills, who do not fit in, who can’t meet the expectations of their family or school. They bully to feel competent, successful, to control someone else, to get some relief from their own feelings of powerlessness.

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Defining Bullying

Who are the targets?

Not all children are equally likely to be victimized by bullying behavior. Those children who are more prone to be picked upon tend to have the following characteristics:

  • low self-esteem
  • insecure
  • lack of social skills,
  • don’t pick up on social cues
  • cry or become emotionally distraught easily,
  • unable to defend or stand up for themselves

Some children actually seem to provoke their own victimization. These children will tease bullies, make themselves a target by egging the person on, not knowing when to stop and then not being able to effectively defend themselves when the balance of power shifts to the bully.

Children who are not bullied tend to have better social skills and conflict management skills. They are more willing to assert themselves about differences without being aggressive or confronting. They suggest compromises and alternate solutions. They tend to be more aware of people’s feelings and are the children who can be most helpful in resolving disputes and assisting other children to get help.

If your child is being bullied?

If you learn your child is being bullied, you may immediately want to protect your child and confront the aggressor. You may feel embarrassed and want your child to toughen up, to get in there and fight back. You may feel helpless yourself. None of these responses are helpful.

Get as much information as you can about what has happened. Avoid blaming anyone, including the bullying child or children. Look at your own child’s behavior and style of interacting. Ask yourself what you know about your child and how you can turn the immediate situation around.

If you are going to get in touch with the parents of a bullying child, remember that they will probably feel defensive. Keep in mind that your goal is to have a safe and nurturing environment for all of the children, not to escalate an already difficult situation.

For your own children, there are several steps you can take.

  • discuss alternatives to responding to bullies.
  • don’t react, walk away, get help if pursued
  • agree with the bully, saying “You’re right.” and walking away.
  • be assertive.
    Role-play: Just as in prevention of child abuse, role-play is what makes the skills real. Actually walk through situations and have your child practice different responses. Discuss prevention techniques such as staying with other kids. Do not get involved with bullies in any kind of interchange. Don’t take it personally, it’s really the bullies problems that are causing the situation, not you.

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Role-Play, The Key to Skill Building

If your child is the bully

What every parent doesn’t want to hear – your child is behaving like a bully.

Your first response will probably be defensive. Disarm the situation and buy yourself some time to process what’s being said. For example, “Instead of labeling my child, please tell me what happened.” Make yourself really listen. Remember that this discussion is ultimately about the well-being of your child, regardless of how its being framed.

Even if your child is behaving aggressively or acting like a bully, remember that this behavior is probably coming from your child’s feelings of vulnerability. You need to look for what is going on in your child’s interactions with others and what is going on internally, causing your child to behave that way.

In talking with your child, DO NOT BLAME. Do not get into a discussion about the “whys” of what happened. Your discussion should focus on several key points:

  • Bullying is not acceptable in our family or in society.
  • If you are feeling frustrated or angry or aggressive, here are some things you can do.
  • Remember to role-play, act out the new behaviors.
  • Ask, how can I help you with this? Who could you go to in school if you see yourself getting into this type of situation again?
  • Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continue.
  • You want to stop the behavior, understand your child’s feelings, then teach and reward more appropriate behavior.

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Learning to Role-Play

Preventing Bullying

As soon as children begin to interact with others, we can begin to teach them not to be bullies and not to be bullied. We can give them words for their feelings, limit and change their behavior and teach them better ways to express their feelings and wishes. Children do not learn to solve these kinds of problems and get along by themselves. We need to teach them.

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Learning to be Inclusive

In the early elementary grades, cliques and little groups develop which can be quite exclusionary and cruel. Children need to hear clearly from us, “It’s not all right to treat other people this way. How do you think she feels being told she can’t play with you? Kids don’t have to play with everyone or even like everyone, but they can’t be cruel about excluding others.

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Preventing Group Bullying

Boys who are physically small or weak are more prone to victimization. Making fun, picking on and other forms of bullying need to be identified in their earliest stages. The message needs to be crystal clear: This is not okay. Think about how he must feel. How could you include him and let other kids know its not all right to treat others this way?

Children who are not bullies or victims have a powerful role to play in shaping the behavior of other children. Teach your children to speak up on behalf of children being bullied. “Don’t treat her that way, it’s not nice.” “Hitting is not a good way to solve problems, let’s find a teacher and talk about what happened.”

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Lessons Learned Early

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Preventing Bullying in the Next Generation

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Always refer to the source as: Sherryll Kraizer, Ph.D., Coalition for Children, USA.

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Articles

The Coalition for Children is a not-for-profit (501c(3)) organization founded by Dr. Sherryll Kraizer in 1982. The mission of the Coalition for Children is enhancing the well-being of children, families and society by providing positive, effective, multidisciplinary and culturally diverse prevention programming in collaboration with other organizations and individuals

Contact Dr. Kraizer

The Coalition for Children is a not-for-profit (501c(3)) organization founded by Dr. Sherryll Kraizer in 1982. The mission of the Coalition for Children is enhancing the well-being of children, families and society by providing positive, effective, multidisciplinary and culturally diverse prevention programming in collaboration with other organizations and individuals.

Contact Information

kraizer@safechild.org

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