Helping Kids Navigate Bully Behaviors
Speaking about how to handle bullying behaviors can bring up a variety of emotions for educators or parents, since we have all navigated situations where others may not have been kind to us - as children or as adults - as we would have liked them to be. We may have strong feelings of sadness or anger if we were the perceived target, or we may have feelings of guilt or anger if we were the perceived aggressor, or bully.
When helping children it is very important for us to listen to them more than we speak about bullying as we know it. Due to the changing times there may be nuances which are foreign to us as adults, but very real to children now (such as debating What is the Right Age for a Cell Phone). It is also important that we do not place our feelings and experiences onto our kids, and instead listen and understand their truths. Understanding these aspects is just some of what we can do as parents and schools to implement Bully Prevention Tips.
Julia Cook is a counselor and author who perfectly captures children’s essence and vulnerabilities in many of her stories. The book Bully B.E.A.N.S. is about a girl named “Mean Maxine” who was very bossy and made others feel badly with her actions and demands. All of her classmates pretended to be her friend because no one wanted to fall victim to Mean Maxine. One of Maxine’s classmates notices that Maxine’s brother bosses her around, which may be where Maxine learns her mean behavior. That character’s mother then tells her to eat a “bully B.E.A.N.” which helps kids to stand up to those who are unkind so that “Bullies Everywhere Are Now Stopped.” The parent provides strategies including: never hang out by yourself around the bully, be assertive while using eye contact, ignore and walk away, or assertively tell the bully to “back off.” By the end of the book, the character shares “bully beans” with classmates who are able to stand up to Mean Maxine, who does eventually change her ways. The classmates become aware that bully beans do not have any special power, but instead they are plain old jelly beans. The power came in standing together against Mean Maxine.
Bully B.E.A.N.S is a great springboard for discussion on how to navigate mean behavior. It is a great idea to do this BEFORE kids run into this challenge so that they’re prepared. You can purchase Bully B.E.A.N.S. by clicking on this affiliate link.
Want more tangible strategies on how to help your kids or students handle bully behavior? Click here to get a PDF with tips on how to help your child navigate mistreatment.
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See the YouTube review on "How to Help Your Kids with Bullies" here.
Watch the video recap of Bully B.E.A.N.S. on my YouTube channel.
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Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and Licensed Professional Counselor with nearly two decades of experience in working with children and families. She is the CEO of Free to Be Mindful - located in Ridgefield, NJ - which provides counseling and mindfulness education for kids, parents and educators.
Vanessa has been featured on the Today Show and is passionate about helping others Learn, Grow & Inspire… all with mindfulness in mind.