How to Handle Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger.

How to Handle Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

How to Handle Bullying, Interview with Candice Dugger

BTW- before we start I love the photo of the girl above. She has don’t-even-try-to-bully-me nonverbals!

We are so glad this week to talk again to our friend, Candice Dugger, whose work and ministry is to help young people heal from bullying. Not only that, she works to help young people, families and organizations create a safe, anti-bullying culture. This week we will talk about how to handle bullying and build some conflict resolution skills.

Many of our podcast family know Candice, but for those of you who are new, let’s share a bit about her story. Candice was happily working in the business world for years when she was sidelined with a serious illness. During that time, she almost lost her son to suicide when he was twelve years old due to horrific bullying.

Candice found that the bullies were present in everywhere her son’s life because the same bullies were in his school, church and scouting groups. She realized the leaders in these institutions were not equipped to help her son or change the culture. So, true to Candice’s can-do style, she created an organization to help: Bullied, Broken and Redeemed.

Bullied, Broken and Redeemed has helped many young people and organizations heal and turn things around.

These days Candice is trying to get the word out about the “GenZ bullying” that young people are experiencing. They are experiencing bullying not only in their in-person lives but:

  • in the social media world
  • online gaming
  • even revenge porn

She has resources for young people and families who have been affected by these GenZ bullying harms, as well as community leaders who want tools to help.

Let’s talk about conflict resolution and handling bullying

You may have notice that traditional conflict resolution skills do not work when trying to handle a bully. So the first step in dealing with a tense situation is to train young people to discern whether this is:

  • Stress or conflict with a person OR
  • A bullying situation

How to identify a bully

Break it down into three easy steps called ARP:

  1. Is the behavior aggressive?
  2. Also, is it repeated or a strong probability of threat?
  3. Is there a power imbalance?

If there are those three things, bullying is present.

Also, remember: The intention of a bully’s actions is not about conflict.

In normal conflict situations (because conflict is part of the human experience), at the end of the conflict event, both parties are upset. Not only that, but both parties want to restore the relationship and create a resolution. Normal conflict is an occasional, not a frequent, event.

Normal conflict can be hurtful but usually does not leave deep, emotional scars.

Bullying is different than normal conflict

A bully’s goals are to:

  • Overpower another person
  • Harm them
  • Inflict pain on them

They do not wish to resolve a problem with their victim. In fact, they do not want the situation to stop.

Unfortunately, over time, some bullies learn skills that help them perpetuate the bullying behaviors. For instance, when confronted by an adult authority figure like teacher or coach, they will put on a smile and act like they want to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, as soon as the adult is not looking, they go back to the bullying behavior.

Bullying can leave deep emotional scars and psychological issues like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder that can last into adulthood. That is why Candice is working so hard to help!

What to do to help young people handle bullying?

So, we do not want to train our young people to use their conflict resolution skills on bullies. They use their conflict resolution skills with family, friends and their groups situations. Most of life will require these skills on occasion. That is great.

Now, let’s look at some handle-bullying skills!

  • Start with evaluating: Is this a bullying situation?

    • Do the ARP. If it is bullying, proceed.
  • Note what kind of bullying is occurring

    • In person
    • Cyberbullying
    • Gaming bullying
    • Family member bullying
  • Do not engage with the bully

    • If it is online: Block the bully
    • If it is in person: Walk away
  • Remind young people that if they are bullied, it is not their fault

    • They are not being bullied because of something they did.
  • Help them become less a target

    • In person: Learn empowered non-verbals (this is something we teach in 7Sisters Social Skills booklet)
      • Shoulders back
      • Chin up
      • Walk with purpose
    • If they are in a situation, teach them to remove themselves
      • Discuss this with your young people.
        • Develop a plan together on how they can remove themselves from a situation that feels like it will become unsafe.
        • Choose a “code word” that they can text you or say to you in a group situation
    • Talk early and often about bullying and tell them never to keep secrets from you, even if a bully tells them not to tell!
      • Let them know that you will always be there to listen and help.
  • As an adult, beware of retaliation bullying

    • Remember, normal conflict resolution skills do not work in handling bullying situations.
      • If you put the bully and a victim in a room together to force them to “solve their problems”, there will likely be a retaliation against the victim later
    • If you are in leadership at an organization, help set anti-bullying policies
    • As a parent, train your children with anti-bullying skills
  • Train teens that if they see bullying, report it!

  • As a parent, if your young person is being bullied: document, document, document!

    • Take screen shots, keep notes and logs
  • Also, find your young person some support

By the way, these tools are the same tools that we adults can use in our adult world. That is because bullies do not always outgrow their bullying behaviors.

Check out Candice’s resources at Bullied, Broken and Redeemed for texts, classes and more. Her program includes a .5 credit towards a Health class for homeschool high school transcripts.

Not only that, please check out these interviews with Candace on Homeschool Highschool Podcast:

Join Vicki and Candace for a helpful conversation on handling bullying.

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