At Kitchen Table Math, Catherine Johnson highly recommends Fred Frankel’s book, Good Friends Are Hard to Find: Help Your Child Find, Make and Keep Friends. Children can learn to interact with others — including how to stop a bully.
Johnson’s second-grade son was being bullied at school. She learned bullies tend to pick on kids with two characteristics:
1. they cry easily, giving the bully bang for the buck
2. they are compliant to other children
Both of these things were true of Christopher.
. . . Our neighbor . . . taught Christopher “how to fight,” which in Christopher’s case meant how to defend himself in a very loud voice accompanied by an equally loud glare & the all-important step forward.
There was also a whole dramatic Second Act Christopher was supposed to launch into if the bully dared to mouth off after he’d been Warned. It was basically Robert DeNiro for the 2nd grade. Christopher spent the afternoon running through the whole thing with the neighbor and his son, and then we rehearsed him at home.
She shared the technique with the mother of Christopher’s friend.
When other kids bullied him he ran.
Talk about bang for your buck. Number one, motion triggers everyone’s ‘prey chase drive;’ and number two, chasing a running target is fun whether you’re planning to kill and eat your prey when you catch him or not.
I told his mother: Tell him not to run.
I also told her that not only should he not run, he should make direct eye contact with the lead bully, and take a step forward.
His message: There are 5 of you and 1 of me, so you can stuff me in a garbage can if you want to.
But I’m not the only one coming out of this with bruises.
The bully backed off.