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Pretending It Doesn’t Bother You

Growing up I remember my mother telling me over and over again to pretend it doesn’t bother you. YAH RIGHT! I don’t know how many times I tried that strategy only to have the aggressor in my face screaming and calling me names. Now he wasn’t only making fun of me he was broadcasting it to everyone waiting to go into school. It was so embarrassing I would run into school just trying to get away from everyone.

Dr. Kaufman, Dr. Raphael and Pamela Espeland in their book “Stick Up For Yourself!” writes, “Don’t ignore the bullying. Bullies want a reaction from the people they are picking on. If you ignore them, they’ll try harder.”

Here are three tools available to a child that may be targeted by a bully:

1) Teach them how to use eye contact. Practice in the classroom and or at home. When they are asking you a question remind them to give you eye contact. The more they practice this the easier it will be for them to look an aggressor or a child bullying them in the eyes and tell them to stop it.


2) Demonstrate how they can refrain from giving the aggressor the response they are looking for. Brain storm ideas on how they can avoid crying, getting even and losing their temper. For example when I was in 4th grade a kid used to steal my hat and throw it in the mud. I used to get so mad and cry. So my friends and I brainstormed an idea to put an end to the bullying. I went to the second hand store and bought of 15 hats. Then next day I put them in my coat pockets. At school when the kid ran up to steal the hat, I would not get mad or upset I just pulled another hat out of my pocket and put it on my head. After about ten hats he stopped, never bothering me again.


3) Start laughing as loud as you can as you walk toward a large crowded place, near a teacher or parent or friends. Just laugh and laugh. I used to do this when a big kid was calling me names, it really freaked him out. Laughing wasn’t the reaction he wanted and he quickly stopped teasing me.Remember instead of telling our kids to just ignore the aggressor teach them how to stay calm and work through it. If you have other suggestions that has worked for you or your children please email me your suggestion at, comment on this blog or on our Facebook page


Also remember from January 20 – 24, 2014 students across the country will participate in the 10th Anniversary of No Name-Calling Week. If you would like additional information on how you can participate email us at

Copyright Richard Paul 2013

2 Responses to “Pretending It Doesn’t Bother You”

  1. I totally agree, dont tell kids to walk away, do nothing or ask the bully to stop, it only makes them do it again. Once they get it , the bullying stops very quickly, in therapy this takes one to two sessions!

    refer my book , ” Bully Blocking ” (JKP2007) Evelyn M Field
    By Evelyn Field

  2. This is such a relatable post Richard- thanks so much. I know there a lot of well meaning parents and teachers out there advising the same. Having a strategy is the best practice. A strategy that is empowering and will effectively set boundaries, and tell any bully you aren’t buying it! I have commented many times here and shared some of our personal family experiences. Finding what works for each one of us over time is possible and necessary! There will always be toxic people out there who thrive on some form of bullying or control tactics, but an important part of loving ourselves is taking care of ourselves on every front.
    By Lisa S.

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