Every day, millions of young people suffer in silence after having long had their voices and person-hoods stolen by vicious and relentless bullies. But what if I told you that bullying doesn’t exist unless there is a victim? What if I told you that if we could shrink the pool of victims, the number of bullies might also decrease?
It’s not only about holding bullies accountable, it’s also about teaching victims the confidence needed to effectively assert themselves. This is not to say that bullies do not need to be held accountable for their evil actions because they do. However, we should focus more on how to reach victims, help them find time and space away from their tormentors to heal, then teach them ways to protect themselves against future attacks. When the victim is taken out of the equation, the bully instantly loses power.
Without realizing it, victims unwittingly give power to the bullies by the way they respond to attacks and more so, the body language they use (putting the head down, slouching, avoiding eye contact, etc.). Often, this conveys to bullies that they have low self-esteem, leaving them wide open to receive more and worse attacks in the future.
So how do we teach victims confidence and the proper body language to ward off future incidences of bullying?
By using positive re-enforcement- praising them for each good deed performed, showing love and affection, and never hesitating to let them know how awesome they are and how much they are loved.
The longer we give these victims positive re-enforcement, the better they will feel about themselves, the higher chances are that they will eventually see their own value and the better they will be able to counter any future attacks and bullying.
Think of it as putting money into a bank account. The more money you deposit, the bigger your account grows and the wealthier you are. It is the same with bully victims and positive re-enforcement. The self-esteem is like this bank account, the more love, care and positive praise you give a victim of bullying, the bigger and better you will build their self-esteems and the healthier he/she will be. They now know their own worth and can better counter the incendiary attacks of bullies! Positive words and actions toward the bullied person by family members, teachers, pastors, rabbis, etc. must outweigh and outnumber the negative attacks and assaults of their bullies.
If someone you love is being bullied, it is imperative that you deposit money (positive re-enforcement) into their dwindling self-esteem accounts and do it every day, as much as humanly possible. As mentioned earlier, you must outdo the bullies’ negative messages with your own positive messages toward the victim. Only then will the victim’s self-esteem begin to repair itself, he/she will begin to slowly awaken and open his/her eyes to their own value, and regain their confidence.
Finally, when confidence is fully restored, the victim will reclaim his/her power, be better able to combat bullies and maybe even cease to be a victim!