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Tips to Interrupt Bullying Behavior

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Students are much more influenced by their peers than by adults. If students are given the charge of creating a peaceful campus, it is going to be much more far-reaching and effective than if adults tried to do it alone.

1. Use humor and kindness to deflect someone from harassing someone else, such as: “Hey I’m sure we can find something more fun to do than this.”

2. Witnesses are the key to ending vile behavior. Bystanders need to become “upstanders” by saying, “Hey, this isn’t okay!” Witnesses, not victims, have the power to use social standing to insist that someone stops their harmful behavior.

3. Make friends with someone who is a target and make sure they always have positive company.

4. Be curious. Instead of aggravating things further with attacks on the attacker, ask questions like: “What is this all about?” Ask the person doing harm, “Are you okay? You seem really upset.” Ask the one being harmed, “Need any help?” If you do not feel safe or the situation is over your head, ask others for help.

5. Practice including everyone in your sphere of friendliness and consideration. The best prevention to bullying is a pro-social environment where it is cool to be kind, thoughtful, positive and compassionate.

[AUTHOR: Dr. Jennifer Freed]

AHA! was founded over 15 years ago by Dr. Freed and Rendy Freedman, both licensed psychotherapists, educators and certified mediators. AHA! serves over 2,500 teens and their families in school, after school and during summer break throughout Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Goleta. Programs are funded by private donations and families are not turned away for lack of ability to pay.

October 25, 2014

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