Bully-Proof Your Ministry

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Look, Stop, Prevent

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Identifying the signs that bullying is taking place is the first
step to stopping it. To break the cycle of violence, though, you
must put a stop to current behaviors and attitudes — both in kids
and in adults — and prevent future incidents by creating a
bully-free environment.

Once you’ve identified bullying behavior, Coloroso and Druck offer
these “Do’s and Don’ts” for stopping the cycle.

For Adults

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• Don’t minimize or disregard instances of bullying — whether
it’s reported by a child or observed by an adult.

• Don’t resolve the situation yourself. Doing so only reassures
the bully that his or her target is weak.

• Don’t tell the target to avoid the bully. This doesn’t solve the
issue — it’s only a superficial fix to a deeper problem.

• Don’t allow the bullied child to become a bully in response to
his or her feelings of vulnerability.

• Don’t confront the bully or the bully’s parents alone. “Bullying
is a learned behavior, and you’ll most likely find yourself being
demeaned by the bully or the parents if you confront them on your
own,” says Coloroso. Get backup.

• Do pay attention to targeted kids. If you hear kids refer to
another child as a “loner,” there’s a good chance this child is
being targeted. Hone your listening skills. Be alert for telltale
signs.

• Do teach kids to stand up for themselves and others. Teach them
to speak up — either during the incident or by reporting it –
when bullying occurs.

• Do teach kids it’s okay — and that it’s the right thing to do
– when they report bullying to a trusted adult.

• Do teach bystanders and targets that reporting bullying is not
tattling.

For Kids

• Don’t let any situation reach the “boiling point.” Talk to a
trusted adult long before exploding in response to bullying.

• Don’t do or say things to antagonize a bully.

• Don’t taunt, make fun of, or isolate others.

• Don’t be disrespectful, cruel, or aggressive toward another
person.

• Do learn to recognize and manage your anger.

• Do think before you speak, especially in situations of anger or
conflict.

• Do “live and let live,” says Druck. “Be direct and forthright,
but be kind.”

• Do be respectful, even when you disagree or dislike
someone.

• Do apologize when you do or say something you shouldn’t. Ask for
forgiveness. Be willing to forgive, too.

• Do communicate respectfully when there’s a problem. “Make time
to clear the air,” says Druck.

     

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