Sue Scheff: Stop Teen Violence and Bullying


Last week the horrific story of the fifteen year old, Michael Brewer, who was doused in alcohol and set on fire by other teens! The story literally stunned our community. According to the Miami Herald, the doctors say he is making significant progress. The five teens are charged with aggravated battery in the attack earlier this month at a Broward County apartment complex. Authorities say they were retaliating in a quickly escalating dispute over a video game.

Recently Michael Brewer's parents have sent a letter of thanks (via CBS News) to everyone for their prayers, donations and support. Read here.

Ross Ellis founded one of the leading organizations to help STOMPOUTBULLYING in combination with Love Our Children USA has offered some excellent advice and tips for parents, educators and everyone working with children today.

1. Bullying hurts and being a victim of any kind of bullying feels really bad. And it’s important for you to know two things: You’re NOT alone and It’s NOT your fault

2. If you’re being bullied there’s a lot you can do. Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you don’t feel at risk, scared or physically threatened) you might want to try and work it out yourself.
If the bully doesn’t change their behavior, that’s when talking to someone else can be really helpful.

If the bullying is verbal – ignore them. This means walking away from them – no matter how badly you want to respond. The bully wants you to react. And if you don’t, they will most often lose interest.
When possible, ignore them (This includes cyberbullying you by text, email or instant messaging – with one exception. Ignore them but save the texts, emails or instant messages for proof in case you need it.)

Ignoring the bully may be helpful, particularly for one-off cases. Bullies are looking for a reaction from you and often lose interest if they aren't given the satisfaction of getting one.

3. If You Feel Safe, Here Are Some Ways To Ignore The Bully:

• Walk away when the bully approaches you. Try and imagine you’re walking away from a stranger. Both you and your body language will show you don’t care.
• Concentrate on thinking about something else (maybe a concert you want to go to, or a new outfit you want to buy.)
• When the bully approaches you, count to 100 and keep walking. They’ll never see how upset you are.
• Yelling STOP and walk away. Keep walking and don’t turn around no matter what they say.

4. Be Positive

It can be hard to remember all your good points when someone is doing their best to be negative. However, try to think of all the things you do well and that you are a valuable person. Thinking of how bad the bully must be feeling may also help you to stay positive.

5. Picture This

Picture your bully standing on their head with their body stretching – almost as if they were standing in front of a distorted mirror like the kind you see at a carnival. Listen to their voice as comes out all distorted and warbled. And they’ve turned yellow with pink stripes. Now who’s laughing?

6. Build A Wall Around You

Can you visualize a tall stone wall? Build that invisible wall around you and when it’s up, imagine all the things the bully is saying bouncing off that wall.

7. Be confident

Bullies usually pick on people that they think are weaker than they are, so it may help if you stand up to them.

Some great comeback lines are:

• Whatever!
• Let’s move on!
• You finally found something funny to say?
• I’m not sure why you keep saying these things about me, but I don’t care.
• Be really cool and stop this!
• Enough!
• Why are you talking to me?
• Here we go again. This is boring. Let me know when you’re done.

8. The Buddy System

Bullies feel empowered to bully one, but rarely will they bully a group. Hang out with your friends.

If after using these tactics and the bullying doesn't stop, it may be time to ask for help. Don't be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied. There are people who care about you and will help you.

9. Get Help - Tell An Adult

It may seem scary to tell someone but, telling will not only get you help, but make you feel less afraid. If you are being physically bullied and are in danger you must speak with a trusted adult immediately. And if you can’t go to your parents, seek out a trusted teacher guidance counselor or school psychologist. If an adult does not help you, tell another adult and keep telling someone until you do get help.

10. What NOT To Do If You Are Bullied

DON'T...

•Think it's your fault. Nobody deserves to be bullied!
•Fight back or bully a person back
•Keep it to yourself and just hope the bullying will "go away." Make sure you report the bullying.
•Skip school or avoid school or afterschool activities because you're afraid of the bully
•Don’t be afraid to tell. Telling is NOT tattling! It's the right thing to do!
•Hurt yourself. Nothing is that hopeless that it can’t be resolved.


For more information on bullying and cyberbullying visit http://www.stompoutbullying.org/ , http://www.caticares.com/ , http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/ and follow them on Twitter @ProtectChildren and @CatiCares

More news on Michael Brewer on CBS News.


Pictured above: Ross Ellis - Founder of Love Our Children USA and Teen Ambassador, Cati Grant.

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