When you make the commitment to Lead Small and create a culture of relationships throughout your church, you will eventually walk through difficult situations with the kids you lead. One of those is bullying. So far in this series, we’ve looked at how to identify bullying (http://leadsmall.org/elementary/connecting-elemntary/bullying-part-1-identify/) and how to create a safe place (http://leadsmall.org/elementary/connecting-elemntary/bullying-part-2/) for those who have experienced the pain of being bullied.
Creating a safe place is important, but leading small also means that at some point you will move your small group of kids out into the world. Equipping them to be the church and help others is one of your most important roles as a small group leader. When kids are given something significant to do, they will in turn feel important and part of something bigger than themselves. That’s why you can most effectively fight bullying by allowing the kids themselves to be positive examples in their schools and communities of how bullying will not be tolerated.
When it comes to helping your few to influence kids who are being bullied, there are a few ideas to keep in mind:
Be Safe. While your kids probably know they shouldn’t physically engage a bully, some kids – especially boys – might want to protect another child with violence. This never ends well. Remind them that the best way to engage a bully is with words. If they feel any fear whatsoever, they should find another friend or trusted adult to help confront the bully.
Statistics show that a bully will stop his bullying if someone calls him out. They should speak loudly and assertively. They should not show any aggression as that might make matters worse.
Kids might try saying one of the following phrases:
“Stop! You’re bullying!”
“Stop bullying! What you’re doing is unfair!”
“If you don’t stop, I will report you.”
Most likely the child being bullied feels embarrassed or hurt. One of the best things the kids in your group can do is be a friend to that person. Invite him to sit with them at lunch. Walk with her in the halls between classes. Let them know that someone is looking out for them and won’t allow anyone to bully them.
Being supportive might also mean that the kids in your group encourage the child being bullied to get help from a trusted adult. Some kids feel like no one will believe that they are being bullied. Your kids can come alongside those kids and back up their story.
Be Part of the Solution.
Bullying usually happens when kids are by themselves or when a group of kids start to create an audience.
Remind the kids in your group that as they become friends with those who are often by themselves, they are helping reduce the chances for those kids to become bullied.
Kids can also be part of the solution by telling kids who are watching the bullying take place to walk away or get help. The bully often just wants attention. If they don’t get that attention, they will eventually stop and walk away themselves.
Bullying is a tragic part of growing up. Encourage your kids to be part of the solution. Move your kids out to be a friend to those who need it most.