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From time to time we will add new tools for your tool box. We will also include a
bibliography of articles and books that were used to gather these tools. Tools are
generally useful for specific and limited purposes, but some can be used to do several
jobs. Experiment with these tools and use them where they work best for you.
Remember, you may be tempted to be mean and cruel to those that bully you; however,
you then become the bully and it is not an effective tool for stopping bullying. So, read
and discuss this information with your parents and check back from time to time to see
what else you can learn about bullying. If you practice by role-playing with someone you
trust, you will become “an expert.”

   1. Turn insults into compliments. Many times bullies give insults and expect an
      insult back. If you hear the intended insult as a compliment it will be easier for
      you to come back with a, “Thank you!” Even though it may not seem logical to
      say, “Thank you,” this may confuse the bully and he may loose interest when he
      sees that you are not crushed or that you are not responding back with an insult.
      If Jonathan says, “Hey Daniel, your clothes are ugly!” You come back with,
      “Hey thanks, I didn’t know you cared enough about me to notice.” Jonathan says,
      what an idiot. I can’t stand you.” Daniel says, “You can’t fool me. If you didn’t
      like me you wouldn’t keep bothering me so much.”

       Jonathan says, “I can’t believe how dumb you are and how smart I am.” Daniel
       says, “I’m glad you’re so smart. The world needs all the smart people it can get.”
       This is turning the intended insult into a compliment, and it is not likely that
       Jonathan is used to receiving compliments. While all of this may not seem logical
       or cool to say, it tends to shape the behavior of the bully, and you are no longer
       taking what Jonathan is saying as insults. Get creative and come up with more of
       these “comebacks” by talking with your parents, older brothers and sisters, or
       even friends. Then, start practicing by role playing with someone you trust!

   2. Asking Questions and Agreeing. Many times bullies make hurtful statements out
      of habit and they may not make much sense. One useful technique can be to “ask
      questions.” Let’s say Anne is a popular girl at school and she has been picking on
      Jennifer. She says to Jennifer, “You are so ugly.” Jennifer can say, “Well I guess
      that is your opinion, but why would you want to tell me that?” Anne says,
      “Because I don’t like you.” So, Jennifer says, “Why do you want to talk to me if
      you don’t like me? Why don’t you just ignore me and stay away from me, if you
      don’t like me?” It is hard to respond to a question like that. Maybe that’s when
      Anne decides to think about what she is saying or maybe she will, at the least,
      walk away and leave you alone.

       Sometimes it may be tempting to disagree with the bully, but when you do that
       you are setting yourself up. First, it doesn’t make sense to disagree with
       nonsense. Second, Anne might put more effort in proving she is right. That
       means she will continue to bully. What do you think she might do if Jennifer
   simply agrees with her? This technique uses the “Rule of Opposites.” For
   example, Anne says, “You’re such a looooser!” Jennifer says, “You mean I’ve
   wasted all these years thinking I’m so cool, just to find out I’m actually lame?
   Thanks for straightening me out on that.”

3. Find a “Golden Nugget.” This is a technique that uses the previous three
   techniques (Turning insults into compliments, Asking questions, and Agreeing) to
   deal with prejudice. When a bully uses prejudice as a weapon, look for a “golden
   nugget” of truth or goodness in what they are saying. Ask questions until you
   find the truth and/or goodness. Then use agreeing and complimenting to find
   common ground and to disarm the bully. Prejudice can be gender, racial, sexual
   orientation, or anything that creates difference. Check out this role-playing
           Michael says to Jimmy, “Hey you black loser!”
           Jimmy says, “Hey, I’m glad you noticed I’m black, but why are you trying
           so hard to point out my race?”
            “Because I don’t like blacks,” says Michael.
           Jimmy says, “What is it you don’t like about black people?”
           Michael says, “You people are always pushing everyone around!”
           “Okay, so are you trying to make sure I don’t push anyone around?”
           Jimmy says, “I think it’s great that you care so much about other people
           and you want to protect them.
           Michael says quickly, “Don’t get smart with me!”
           “I really mean it. I’m sure you have friends and family you care a lot
           about and you want to make sure that no one jumps them or gets the best
           of them.”
           “That’s right…”
           “Hey, I think that’s cool!” Then, Jimmy just walks away.

          Or, the prejudice could be about someone who doesn’t wear the “right”
          clothes. Rebecca comes from a very poor family and cannot afford to buy
          nice new clothing. Ashley has been making terrible comments to Rebecca
          about her clothes. As soon as Rebecca walks into the door of the
          classroom, Ashley says, “Wow, Rebecca, what trash dumpster did you get
          those shoes from?” Rebecca could try to look confused and say, “Hmm, I
          don’t get it.” “You don’t get what?” “Well, why does someone like you
          who is so popular and has such nice clothes care what I wear?” Ashley
          says, “Because you don’t fit in!” Rebecca then responds, “That’s so sweet
          of you to want to help me fit in! It’s just awful how some kids get left out
          because they can’t buy the right clothes or they just don’t know what is

          Practice looking for the “Golden Nugget,” use questions and agreeing, and
          turn insults into compliments.
More to come…

Cohen-Posey, Kate MS LMHC LMFT; how to Handle Bullies, Teasers. And Other
Meanies; Rainbow Books, Inc: Highland City, Florida; 1995

Cole, Joanna C. M.; Cornell, Dewey G.; Sheras, Peter; Identification of School
Bullies by Survey Methods; Professional School Counseling, April 2006, Vol. 9 Issue
4, p 305-313

Demaray, Michelle Kilpatrick; Malecki, Christine Kerres; Perceptions of the
Frequency and Importance of Social Support by Students Classified as Victims,
Bullies, and Bully/Victims in an Urban Middle School; School Psychology Review,
2003, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p 471-489

Egan, Luke A.; Todorov, Natasha; Forgiveness As A Coping Strategy To Allow
School Students To Deal With The Effects Of Being Bullied: Theoretical and
Empirical Discussion; Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, January 2009, Vol.
28 Issue 2, p 198

Espelage, Dorothy L.; Swearer, Susan M.; Research on School Bullying and
Victimization: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go From Here?; School
Psychology Review, 2003, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p 365-383

Giannetti, Charlene and Margaret Sararese; Cliques: 8 Steps to Help your Child
Survive the Social Jungle; Broadway Books: New York; 2001

Hall, Kimberly R.; Using Problem-Based Learning with Victims of Bullying
Behavior; Professional School Counseling, Feb 2006, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p 231-237

McLaughlin, Laura; Laux, John M.; Pescara-Kovach, Lisa; Using Multimedia to
Reduce Bullying and Victimization in Third-Grade Urban Schools; Professional
School Counseling, Dec 2006, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p 153-160

Menesini, Ersilia; Melan, Elena; Pignatti, Barbara; International Styles of Bullies and
Victims Observed in a Competitive and Cooperative Setting; Journal of Genetic
Psychology, Sep 2000, Vol. 161 Issue 3, p 261

Mishna, Faye; Learning Disabilities and Bullying: Double Jeopardy; Journal of
Learning Disabilities, Jul/Aug 2003, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p 336
Morrison, Charles T.; “What Would You Do, What If It’s You?” Strategies to Deal
With a Bully; Journal of School Health, Apr 2009, Vol. 79 Issue 4, p 204

Roberts, Jr., Walter B.; The Bully as Victim: Understanding Bully Behaviors To
Increase the Effectiveness of…; Professional School Counseling, Dec 2000, Vol. 4
Issue 2, - 148

Rodkin, Philip C.; Hodges, Ernest V. E.; Bullies and Victims in the Peer Ecology:
Four Questions for Psychological and School Professionals; School Psychology
Review, 2003, Vol. 32 Issue 3 p 384-400

Sapouna, Maria; Wolke, Dieter; Vannini, Natalie; Watson, Scott; Woods, Sarah;
Schneider, Wolfgang; Enz, Sibylle; Hall, Lynne; Paiva, Ana; Andre, Elizabeth;
Dautenhahn, Kerstin; Aylett, Ruth; Virtual learning interventions to reduce bullying
victimization in primary school: a controlled trial; Journal of Child Psychology &
Psychiatry, Jan 2010, Vol. 51 Issue 1, p104