What do you do if…. #1000Speak

As part of the #1000Speak event on bullying, here are my thoughts:

What do you do if you see an act of bullying? It doesn’t matter who or where, or at least it shouldn’t. What do you do if it’s your child or a neighbor’s child?  What if it’s a co-worker?  How do you respond? Does your character permit you to turn and walk-away or does it hold you accountable for improving the world around you by speaking out?  I would suggest that you don’t need to get violent or confrontational. But a simply worded question might be, “I’m curious, why are you doing this ?  Interrupting the bully will divert their attention. Questioning them with conversational tones will hopefully calm and engage them. Paraphrase what you hear them saying so that you understand. I always try to calm and engage them. But what if the person is larger or very aggressive and it’s you they are trying to bully?  Interrupt their rant and say something like “Excuse me, I want to discuss this with you, but I have a prior appointment.”  and leave.  Usually bullies count the people they bully to be polite. They probably don’t know that they do, but if you interrupt them and leave, it will most likely defuse the situation. Do you have the character to stand up to bully? Are you willing to be better and demand better?

What do you do if you see bullying? Leave a thought.

39 thoughts on “What do you do if…. #1000Speak

  1. Alex Hurst

    I’m a teacher, and I see a lot of gendered bullying in my classes. Surprisingly, it mostly comes from girls shaming boys for liking certain toys or colors. As the teacher, I am in the prime position to teach them why it is wrong and rather silly… so that’s what I do. 🙂

    Reply
    1. shawn

      That’s AWEsome. It would be great it we could teach parents to help their children to be better participants in this thing we call life 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
    2. roweeee

      As a mother of a son and a daughter, I’ve become more aware of the limitations on boys. One of the things that has really saddened me is that boys don’t sing. My son sings all the time at home but hasn’t joined the school choir and also stopped playing AFL this year. That’s Aussie Rules Football and it can cop a bit of flack. I didn’t realise there were so many resistrictions on boys.

      Reply
      1. shawn

        Social influence. Especially peer pressure is very strong. I was on band and choir in high school as well as theater. I was also in Boy Scouts which was deemed uncool. I learned to do what I like because life is to short not to enjoy it.

        Reply
        1. roweeee

          I used to think scouts was uncool but I’m so impressed by the activities my kids are doing. They’ve been flying, sailing, kayaking, marched in the ANZAC Dawn Service, camped, bushwalked…and were all but flooded out while camping as well and we were called to collect.
          You are right about life being too short. Some of us, can rise above the peer pressure to be ourselves or also find others like us and get through while others play the chameleon, changing colours so often they barely know who they are.

        2. roweeee

          Even as a parent, I am finding myself stretched and challenged…in mostly positive ways. I have some medical issues and my spatial skills are not my strength and I’ve had the joy of dropping them off to camp in an unknown location in heavy rain and in the dark and trying to find their cub group among the throng. That was a huge curve for me. I passed…and we were called to pick them up at lunchtime. Rained out. So they also earned their stripes that night!

        1. roweeee

          Makes me fume but it’s hard for kids as individuals to make a stand, especially when they’re not really vested in the cause. My son did hip hop dancing for a few years but had a few dcomments and wasn’t fabulous at it and also got comments from the boys in the dance troupe so I didn’t push it. Hope he follows through with his singing though. My daughter does the sea scouts but also does lots of girly things so manages well with a foot in both camps.

  2. Vatsala Shukla

    I still remember being bullied by my new classmates at a residential school which went to the extreme when they threw water on my bed late on a chilly winter night and I ended up in the school infirmary. All because I was the new girl in class and quickly rose to the top of the class. Things got bad enough for my father to withdraw me from the school after just 1 term and lose a full terms tuition fee because he believed me when I said no adult intervened, but not before he gave the Principal a piece of his mind. I remember 2 things – the House Mistress and Matron watched mutely and made excuses to my parents about how difficult it was to control girls and also that my father stood up for me.

    I chose to follow in my father’s footsteps. If I see a child being bullied, I discreetly step in and start chatting with all the children to diffuse the situation and later inform the bullied child’s parents about the situation. Thank God I am the adult and kids know me to be strict and don’t dare to challenge my authority. 🙂

    Reply
  3. vatsala2013

    I still remember being bullied by my new classmates at a prestigious girls’ residential school which went to the extreme when they threw water on my bed late on a chilly winter night and I ended up in the school infirmary. All because I was the new girl in class and quickly rose to the top of the class and was considered too gentle to retaliate. Things got bad enough (when they showed me a blade for my tuck box) for my father to withdraw me from the school and lose a full terms tuition fee because he believed his frightened 12 year old daughter, but not before he gave the Principal a piece of his mind.

    I remember 2 things – the House Mistress and Matron watched mutely and made excuses to my parents about how difficult it was to control girls and also that my father stood up for me because he knew I would not be protected in that environment when those in charge did not want to offend the bullies..

    As an adult, I have chosen to follow in my father’s footsteps. If I see a child being bullied, I discreetly step in and start chatting with all the children to diffuse the situation and later inform the bullied child’s parents about the situation. Thank God I am the adult and kids know that I have access to their parents. 🙂

    Reply
    1. shawn

      That’s a shame that the school allowed such behavior, but it was nice that your father was able to show you a great way to deal with bullies and that you can step in and speak up today. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

      Reply
  4. Beverley Golden

    As a very vocal person who is always looking for fairness in all situations, I generally do speak up, plus being trained as a biography coach, the way one speaks and the words you use are very key. It is often a tough call, as we often see on the TV show “What Would You Do?”. They presented situations to see how many people would get involved and do the right thing, yet often, people still carry much fear and tend to do or say nothing. Thanks for the great tips on how to diffuse bullying situations we may come upon. Bullying can occur in many different ways and we all can participate to be of service if you are called upon to “say or do” something. Appreciate the mindful way you presented this conversation. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Josh Wrenn

    Fortunately, I haven’t seen bullying since I’ve been an adult. In school, it just wasn’t at the level it is now. I accidentally bullied some kids, I thought they were having fun too, but when I found out they actually felt bad, I stopped and attempted to apologize. I still feel bad for that to this day. But I never purposely bullied anyone for being different, maybe because I always felt so different myself.

    Reply
  6. rozbeads

    I have always been someone to speak up, intervene, make a difference. There are more people who shy away from defending, so I’m glad I have the confidence and personality to express my views.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      That’s awesome! And you are right we need more people to stand up and defend those that can’t or won’t defend themselves

      Reply
  7. Kathryn M. Bennett

    I experienced a lot as aa child bt got better as I got older. I like to think I would step in if I witness it. Often it is not that obvious. I confess that my father has always been a bit of a bully and there were times I should have spoken up. Usualy it just goes until I get angry and that doesn’t help much either.
    Note: I was one of the 1K Speak people. I did a painting about compassion. I didn’t do this one because I wasn’r sure about it. Looking for the next post subject…

    Reply
  8. Louise

    I try to speak up whenever I see bullying now. We’ve had situations at work that I’ve reported more than once. I also try to spend time with those involved so they know someone hears them even if it doesn’t always get resolved. I’m also now dealing with bullying as a parent, which adds a new dynamic. It’s never easy. I enjoyed reading your thoughts here.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      I too have seen situations at work that constitute bullying. I don’t report it, I get involved right there to diffuse the situation and hopefully resolve it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Delia Rusu (@happyblogplaza)

    There’s a thin line between “having fun” and “bullying” and I think the more we raise and discuss this issue, the more people will understand and stop bullying. As other people here, I attempt to diffuse the situation with a joke. Many times kids or people (yes, some adults are still bullies to some extent) feel the situation becoming less tense and understand they need to back up.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      I agree, it’s more like a fuzzy gray cloud than a line. Some kids probably don’t even know when they cross it because of the way they were raised or perhaps the role models that they have chosen. And definitely some “adults” are bullies, again perhaps because no one has taken the time to teach them another way to deal with people. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  10. wccunningham

    As the father of two boys and my trying to keep up with the older of the two who is actively engaged in social media, I have seen an amazing amount of bullying with kids on Twitter. Some of it direct and some through “sub tweets” (as explained to me by my son) and sadly, one time aimed at my son. Being a bit old school, my first instinct was to give him permission to kick the instigator’s ass. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that and my son worked it out on his own.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      Sadly, bullying takes many forms and degrees. And I dare say, that some don’t even know they are bullying. They are just acting like their parents or whatever role-models they grew up with. Glad your son was able to work it out on his own. That is always best, but non-violence is to be encouraged!

      Reply
  11. byualto

    Thanks for the great post – I love the 1000 speak movement. 🙂 To me, in periods of my life where my self-esteem has been lower (middle school, etc.) I was much more susceptible to being bullied. As I’ve become older and more confident, bullies have lost much of their power. And as a mother, I try to teach my children their self-worth and their wonderful gifts. I want to build them up so if (and when) they come across bullies, they will know that they deserve better.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      That is a great thought! I wish more people would teach good character and self worth to their children. Best of luck to you on your journey as children and you grow 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  12. Kids Are A Trip

    As a mother and teacher, I think it is so important to point out for my children (and students) when I see acts of bullying and address them when they happen. I don’t tolerate it in my own home and I certainly don’t allow it in the classroom. Kids can be cruel, but they need to put themselves in the shoes of others and ask themselves how they would feel if the roles were reversed. I also tell them to not be afraid to speak up for others they see being bullied. Kids need to be aware and be prepared, and have self confidence. Never be afraid to stand up to someone, and if you are, find a friend to help. Believe in yourself. That’s where it all begins.

    Reply
  13. Muhammad Ashhar

    If I ever see bullying, I am going to face that bully and get in his way. I’ll try my best to stop him even if it means fighting him. I’m not going to see whether he is older or powerful than me or weaker or younger, just going to stop him and will later see what would be the results i.e. I get beaten or he gets beaten.

    Reply
    1. shawn

      Violence rarely solves anything and if it does, the solution is always temporary. It is good that you are willing to stand up to prevent bullying. Usually just stopping the bully and pointing out the behavior and telling them that is unacceptable slows them down. Sometimes enough to defuse the situation. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  14. roweeee

    Great post and I’m also part of #1000 Speak. My advice for my kids to stay away from bullies has been to stick to parts of the playground where there is a higher teacher presence. I aslo try to encourage resilience in my kids, not always easy though. While you can’t account for somoene else’s behavior, you can at least influence your own. I also tell them to stand tall because bulliews focus on kids whjo lack confidence.

    Reply

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