A new approach for helping the bully as well as the one being bullied is proving to be very successful. It was developed by a Jewish school psychologist and is based on the teachings of Jesus. Izzy Kalman has been training adults on how to help children who are victims of teasing. This ten-step method is given in a children's manual at: (http://www.bullies2buddies.com/manual/kids/index.html).
First Step: The manual tells us - stay calm. Getting upset reinforces the teasing and makes it worthwhile to the bully. It is easier to stay calm if the parents have not failed to notice and comment on all the good points of their children. The manual advises what to say to the bully, such as "If you enjoy making fun of me you can do it all day long." This will stop the bully very quickly but must be said without without anger and with assurance of really meaning it. Inserting a thought of silent pity for the bully may help give the needed confidence to answer in this manner.
Most of us have experienced the sting of a put-down. It is easy to come up with a good retort, but that becomes a mini declaration of war. The bully is usually jealous or envious. An old adage tells us, "A sharp tongue can cut your own throat." It would be interesting if this proverb was first said by one of the sages recorded in our "Sayings of the Sages" blogs.
When my eldest brother began to be called "Mosquito Legs" as his slim figure stretched to six feet five inches he just laughed about it and then it was soon forgotten. Another student a little older than him sometimes called out "Hello Paulie" when he walked by their place. This diminutive for Paul soon changed its tone later when he just waved and smiled, almost like it had been a compliment. The two later became good friends. This gentle giant became a favorite to all his siblings and when our parents were away we listened to him with confidence and assurance. My second brother later referred to him as our "mamma-daddy" when our parents were away.