End Bullying Now!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and it’s time to focus on this terrible epidemic that drives young children to commit suicide and keeps as many as 160,000 kids out of school on any given day for fear of being bullied.

Brooks Gibbs, one of the nation’s leading youth crisis counselors and bullying experts, is the national spokesman for the Office Depot Foundation’s “Be The Difference. Speak Up Against Bullying!” Program, sponsored by the global pop sensation band One Direction.  Brooks not only speaks as a bullying expert, he was a victim of bullying growing up.

His advice:

–  If the bullying is physical, you must rescue your child from physical threats of violence that would cause objective harm to his or her body or property.  Keep detailed notes of the event and alert the authorities immediately.

–  If the bullying is verbal, you must teach your child to not get upset.  If children have an emotional reaction to the bully like showing anger or tears, the verbal bullying will continue. If they don’t get upset, the verbal bullying will quickly stop.

–  If the bullying is online, you must teach your child how to respond using the Golden Rule, that is treat everyone like friends, even your enemies.  A brief and kind response will make the bully look and feel foolish, and the online bullying will quickly stop.

–  If the bullying involves social exclusion, you must help children to understand that not everyone will want to be their friend.  When they can enjoy a few loyal friends and refuse to seek approval from everyone else, their life will become much happier.

–  If the bullying is from an adult, you must assist your child in confronting the adult in an attitude of respect and with a desire for reconciliation.  Blaming or attacking the adult will only escalate hostilities and make things worse for your child.  Respectful confrontation can quickly bring an end to the problem.

Brooks Gibbs is currently on an Office Depot Foundation-sponsored speaking tour across the U.S., holding assemblies for students in middle schools as well as anti-bullying education sessions for parents, teachers and administrators.