How To Armor Children From Bullies

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Teach assertiveness skills to defend children against a real bully. Proactively create a safety plan that includes ways to respond to a bully, trusted supports to seek out, and safe locations to move towards. Once the bully safety plan is completed, consistently rehearse it until it becomes second nature.

Follow the Safety PLANS acronym for easy recall.

Power Up: Avoid being alone. Ask for help and physically surround yourself with friends or same-aged peers.

Look Brave: Be mindful of your body language. Holding your body in an upright position shows confidence. Keep your head high, your eyes forward, shoulders back, chest pumped out, and hands on hips.

Assert Yourself: When approached by a bully, say something that shows you are not bothered by them. Bullies like to provoke our reactions. Using a calm, firm
tone of voice and a clever comeback shows the bully you do not care and will not tolerate being bullied.

Near an Adult: Ask for help. When appropriate, physically surround yourself with an adult before, during, and after a bully encounter. They will help problem solve.

Step Away: When approached by a bully, do not feel the need to entertain their attention. Show you don’t care and walk away to a safe area that is surrounded by peers and adults. Classrooms and offices are best. Avoid the bathrooms or other areas that are closed in or empty.

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