The Bully Lady

Get in front of bullying


No child should be sad at school.

Welcome back to school! Now that the summer is in the past, it is time to create safe, happy, learning days as we enter a new school year — and the new age of education called Common Core. All children should be enthusiastic about the new atmosphere at their schools. It is a fact that relaxed, happy children are learning to their full capacity.

A child who is being bullied cannot relax or look forward to recess. When children are bullied by others, they tend to be preoccupied about this during the school day. More than ever before, it is important for us to give all our children the perfect start for the new school year.

The most common question I am asked is, “How do we do that?” The first step is to listen. This can best be accomplished by asking “open end” questions. It is important not to negate a child’s fears, but to strive for empathy. When a child has a sense of a good listener in his or her corner, both at home and at school, the door is wide open for communication regarding feelings. Remember that feelings, like opinions, are neither right nor wrong. The second step is to look positively towards school teachers and administrators by expressing confidence in the job they are doing. This will have great impact on peace of mind for parents and guardians while children are away from them at school. The third step is to closely monitor all communications through electronics. This is the best way to counteract cyber bullying.

During the summer, I spoke with many children who were attending camps around Long Island — and as far away as the Hudson Valley. The stories of bullying went on and on. The last thing we want is for any of their “issues” to spill over into the school year. This is the reason to impart on all children that each day is a new day with wonderful possibilities. Many of the children I spoke with proudly told me that they were the bully. I asked how they felt about that and they unanimously confessed that they really didn’t feel any power when they thought back about the situations. The bully is not a happy person either.

Victims always have the choice to find something good about the person bullying them when the bullying is not happening. I call it the silent compliments that we think about when we see the best in other people. It takes time before a child is confident enough to verbalize a compliment to a bullying child.

If we don’t try to bridge the gap between our children, what is the alternative? This school year gives us the opportunity to let go of grudges and look at each other differently. How would the day look then? Would children still be preoccupied about the problems up ahead at recess? Maybe not. This open hand approach of acceptance is much better than the alternative of a closed fist called tolerance. When we teach our children to accept people as they are, rather than put up with them through tolerance, life becomes much happier for all our children, and they soar to success during the new school year.

No child should be sad at school.