The Bully Talk

You may have had the sex talk. You may have had the drug talk. But have you had the bully talk? Unfortunately, bullying has become so rampant that it is now normal. When I speak to teen groups I have trouble getting them to see that backstabbing your best friend, worrying about your social status and checking your tagged photos on Facebook for photoshopped ones is NOT normal. It is really important for parents to have ‘the bully talk.’ With their kids along with the sex, drug and money talk.

When to Have the Bully Talk?

The earlier the better! As soon as your child begins to have friends, they should have the bully talk. This is also a discussion you can have many times as they get older, incorporating new issues as they arrive. For example, discussing Club Penguin at eight and Facebook at thirteen.

How to Have the Bully Talk?

You can absolutely sit down without any distractions to discuss the ideas below. You can also use media and commercials to start the conversation. If you see bullying in a movie or show, use it as a time to talk. Ask your child what they would do in the same situation? Do they think what characters did was right or wrong? These are issues they can think about with you, so when it comes up in real life they can remember what they said.

What to Say In The Bully Talk?

Here are a few ideas for your talk. Remember you want to be honest and heartfelt as it can be a touchy issue if your child has already been bullied, is a bully or has a sibling or friend who has experienced bullying.

  • Remember bullying can also be online or through phones. Explain the difference between cyberbullying and real life bullying.
  • Ask them what they already know. They might already have an experience with a bully that you can talk about and work through.
  • Play some scenarios. Have them talk through with you things that might come up.
  • Use TV shows or movies as examples. Watch some movies together and ask them what they would do in the same situations.
  • Go through: Stop, Save, Tell. This is online or offline. If they ever feel uncomfortable they should stop the action (or any back and forth with a bully), save any evidence and tell someone. Go through appropriate people–you, a teacher or counselor.
  • Do not leave out the possibility that they are a bully. Often times victims can be bullies at the same time to someone else. Or in a particularly bad friendship, the victim/bully roll switches. Talk to them about how they feel when they are mean to someone.
  • Share your own experiences so they are not ashamed.

Most of all leave the conversation open for them to come back to you if they need. Bullying mayb not be an issue now, but can get triggered in new camps, new schools or different social scenarios both online and offline.

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4 Responses to “The Bully Talk”

  1. Lizzy
    September 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    Best way to put a permanent stop to physical bullying is to enroll children in self-defense classes, be it jiu-jitsu, karate, kenpo, or what have you.
    Once they know they can defend themselves, they won’t be a target anymore, because it gives them the confidence to stand tall. Yes, there IS a ‘body language’ style that says “victim–pick on me!”

    Furthermore, if ALL kids take self-defense, it takes the bully out of the bullies, because they then KNOW that everyone can defend against them, so it’s no longer a worthy “sport.”

  2. Stop Being Bullied
    September 4, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    Very good post… useful tips.

  3. 4mbrosia
    September 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Please have this talk.

    I’m a 30 year old woman and had to put up with bullying from the time I was in 4th grade all the way through the rest of school. I was threatened with physical/sexual violence, pushed around, slapped, called names and even had school projects sabotaged. My parents would be at school all the time trying to get the bullying stopped, and this was in the 90’s. The school counselors were a joke. Nothing was ever done, but I was always told to tell an adult when it happened. I would come home with lists of things sometimes two or three sheets long.

    My dad’s reaction after it went on for years and years?

    “Well, YOU must have done something to make them come after you.”

    That made me stop reporting the issue because somehow it was my fault and complaining never did any good anyway. I went through school hating every ounce of myself and feeling like I had no self worth. I thought about and still think about suicide from time to time because I’m unable to work, I have no self esteem and the sensory issues I have make holding a job impossible(I’m on SSI). I have problems with anxiety that I don’t talk about because to this day I still believe my feelings aren’t important enough to mention.

    Right now I’m being cyber bullied by people from a cruel website I won’t name because that will just give them more ammunition to harass me. They will probably find this and use it against me. And once again nothing I have done has stopped these people from harassing me. They had my best pieces of fanworks removed from sites and I’m at a point where I don’t know who I can even trust anymore. I have a circle of online friends I know are “safe” but anybody new I keep at arm’s length; I never know who might be one of those trolls posing as a “friend” to get more information to use against me.

    I feel as if the world is always judging everything I do, hoping I fail. I have never loved myself as a person and always feel like I’m not worth anything. I’m crying as I type this.

    I. Have. No. Worth.

    Everything I say gets twisted against me. Is my only purpose in the world to be a punching bag for every jerk who likes to bully?



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