How to Stop a Playground Bully

Hello CJs,

I promised a story and so here it goes. Quite a few years ago, I was doing my CJ emotional intelligence program at an after school program. There was a young 3rd grade girl, do not remember here name, who was being bullied every day in the playground during lunch. She had complained to her teacher. That hadn’t worked. The principal was told and attempted to put an end to it. But the boys were clever and it became a he said, she said. She complained at home but that didn’t work for her either. Her parents were too busy working and trying to stay ahead of the game. When I was teaching her CJ’s way of stopping bullying, she asked if it would work on the bullies out in the playground. Well, honestly, back then, I was hopeful. I was also hopeful that she would try it and see if it worked. At first, she was very reluctant, but with encouragement and the real desire to stop it, she decided to be so courageous and give it a try.

Now she really needed courage for this one. My belief is that attacking your bully is not the answer. Ignoring it, does not stop it. But blasting it with positive energy and putting the onus back on them, well I know it worked so far and was hoping this instance would be no different. What she had to do is wait for those 5 mean boys to show their ugliness. And of course they did. She was to say to them, “Can I have a happy thought, please?”

Yes, that is the phrase all right! She was courageous and she did it. So what happened. Well, the first time she did it, they just laughed at her and continued to bully her and she just kept saying it. They eventually walked away. Then day 2, right on schedule, they arrived in her little corner of the playground. They started taunting and she said the same one sentence, “Can I have a happy thought, please?” This time 3 stayed but 2 walked away just shaking their heads. She was encouraged!

Day 3 and this time only 4 showed up. She was making progress. They began their usual nasty remarks. Now,
what did she say? Yup, “Can I have a happy thought,please?” Well, one walked away and the three left just looked at her but they did become quiet. She was quite excited as she related this to me.

Day 4….only 2 showed up and began their taunting and guess what she said, yes, “Can I have a happy thought, please?” Well, they stopped and she felt good.

Day 5…lo and behold….the bullies were gone and she felt like a million bucks and she and I had a good cry together and she saw that she was powerful enough to stop the bullies herself.

This is a true story and one that I tell at every workshop I do especially with the kids. It has helped and given many children the words they need to confront a bully. Let’s stop the bullies in elementary school. This is not as easy in middle school. However, I have used it and there are children using it.

My little friend felt many things and I helped to put those feelings to words with CJ’s affirmations. I said that she needed to say to herself, positive self talk…so important…I am powerful, I am courageous, I am smart, I am persistent, and the best one of all…I am lovable. This is a great way to self soothe when you are upset..will share that another time.

So CJs out there…give it a try..the next time you are bullied, “Can I have a happy thought, please?”, and let me know what happens!!

Let’s stop bullying, one emotionally intelligent child at a time! Karen

Posted in: How We Stop Bullying Blog |

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