There are a lot of things that really get under my skin, things like cupcakes with a lack of adequate sprinkles and vacations lasting less than two weeks, but nothing bothers me more than bullies and bystanders. The only thing a bully loves more than picking on someone is a group of bystanders who do nothing about it.
Just like an outfit needs the right accessories or a haircut needs the right styling products, kids need the right tools to stop bullies. Here are three easy ways to stomp out bullying:
1. Go for the unexpected. One of my favorite rules for fashion is also my favorite rule for dealing with bullies. Bullies are looking for a reaction, so go for the unexpected. If a bully expects you to cry or get angry or fight, you can laugh or walk away or even say something kind. When you react in an unexpected way, you take the power away from the bully. As soon as that power is gone, the bully usually is too.
2. Be a hero, not a zero. If you notice somebody being bullied, resist the urge to do nothing. By doing nothing, you tell the bully their behavior is okay and the victim that you don’t care. Be a hero bystander by interrupting the situation. Invite the person being bullied to join with you and your friends. Ignore the bully and walk away together. It’s literally that easy to be a hero and you don’t even need lycra tights.
3. Keep the big people informed. Even if you’ve successfully shut down a bully by giving them an unexpected response, or stepped in as a bystander hero, it’s still a good idea to let adults know what’s going on. Parents, teachers and other trusted adults (like my part-time model mannies) can offer support, problem-solving, and even intervention if things escalate. Don’t wait to speak up.
One more thing. While I don’t normally endorse everyone dressing the same (ugh, boring!), I do endorse it once a year on Blue Shirt Day®. On October 5, kids around the globe will wear blue shirts for World Day of Bullying Prevention to stand up and stand together as allies. So get your blue on and send a strong message to bullies everywhere. (And if you don’t have a blue shirt, my friends at Primary.com can hook you up with one! Plus you get free shipping when you spend $50 or more.)