Isn’t it wonderful? The country has declared war on bullies! Schools all over the country are adopting anti-bullying policies and soon all children will be able to go to school without fear of bullies.

Or will they?

Do you have two or more children? If so, there is a very good chance that they bully each other every day, perhaps even all day long, and all your efforts to stop them are useless. If you can’t stop your own two kids from bullying each other, can you really expect one teacher to get twenty or thirty kids to stop doing it?

Often, school anti-bullying policies actually intensify the bullying between students while turning educational institutions into law enforcement agencies. The teachers have to do investigations into incidents (in most of which no one is even hurt). Parents tend to take their own child’s side against the other child so, before long, two sets of parents are fighting each other. Parents often blame teachers for doing nothing to stop the bullying, and teachers often defend themselves by blaming the parents for raising aggressive kids. The distraught principals then find themselves in the rotten situation of playing judge not only between kids but between angry adults.

Put yourself in a situation where adults try to make kids stop fighting. Let’s say you are my classmate and you hit me. I tell the teacher and you get punished. Does that make you like me? No. Does it make you like the teacher? No! It makes you hate both of us. You want to get even. So you will look for the next opportunity to hit me again, and you’ll want to do it even harder than before. Or you’ll try to get me in trouble with the teacher. Meanwhile, the teacher thinks she’s making us stop fighting. She doesn’t realize she’s making us continue fighting. This process is identical when parents get in the middle of fights between siblings at home.
So be careful what you wish for. If you want the government to hold schools legally responsible for stopping the bullying between students, the next step may be to hold you responsible for stopping the bullying that goes on between your kids at home.

If you are waiting for the schools to make other kids stop bullying your child, your child may stay a victim for a very long time. There is only one person in the world that can make your child stop being victimized. That person is your child! You may think it’s impossible for your child to do this, but it is actually effortless when your child learns how. The solution has been around for ages. It was put in our Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, thanks to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. The solution is called Freedom of Speech, and I will explain how it works.
Kids believe they get bullied because of their differences or imperfections: they are fat or thin, tall or short; they are gay or look gay; they are lousy at sports; they have freckles or are physically handicapped; they are in Special Education; their race or religion is different from most other kids. But this is not the real reason. There are kids who are fat, skinny, tall, short, etc., who don’t get bullied. On the other hand, there are many kids who are smart, good looking, talented, etc., and they get picked on relentlessly.

So why does it happen to some kids and not to others who are just like them? There is only one reason, and it is always the same reason. It happens because of a simple mistake that anyone can make, and once you do, the torment can go on forever. What is the mistake? Getting upset when you are bullied. No one continues to get bullied if the bullying doesn’t bother them. No matter what your imperfections or differences are, people will not continue to harass you for long if it doesn’t upset you when they try.

“Easier said than done,” you may be thinking. How do you teach kids to stop being upset when they are picked on? There are many ways, and they all involve teaching the practice of Freedom of Speech. Perhaps the most effective is what I call “The Verbal Bullying Experiment.” It goes like this:

Tell your child, “We are going to play a game. Your job is to call me an idiot (or any other insult), and my job is to make you stop. If I can stop you, I win and you lose.” When the insults begin, get angry and yell at your child to stop. You will discover that your child keeps on insulting you while laughing gleefully. After a while, say, “I give up.” Then ask, “So if you want to insult me, can I make you stop?” Your child will say “No.”

Then tell your child you are going to play the same game again. This time, do absolutely nothing to stop the insults. Say things like, “If you want to insult me, it is perfectly okay,” and “You can insult me all day long if you like.” Your child will probably stop in a matter of seconds.
Say to your child, “You thought I couldn’t stop you, and look how easily and quickly I made you stop!” Explain that when you were getting angry and trying to make the insults stop, you were actually making the insults continue. And the second time, when you were letting your child insult you, you were actually making the insults stop! It was much harder for your child to insult you when you allowed the insults to continue. You will have demonstrated the power of Freedom of Speech. Your child will probably be eager to try this with the kids in school, and the verbal attacks should end in a few days.

The following is another wonderful tactic for teaching Freedom of Speech. When your child comes complaining to you that their sibling (or anyone else) called them an idiot (or some other insult), ask “Do you believe it?” Your child will say “No.” Then say, “Good! I don’t either.” And you will discover that the matter is over. Do this consistently, and before long you should discover that your child has stop getting upset by insults.

How do you teach kids to stop being upset by physical attacks? Most acts of hitting or pushing do not cause any injury or pain. But kids learn that we think it is terrible when they hit or push each other, and that we conduct investigations and punish the wrongdoer. They can get us to punish their opponent and they don’t even have to be hurt! Stop doing this. Instead, when your child says to you, “He/she hit me!” ask, “Are you hurt?” Children don’t expect this question, and they always answer honestly. If there is no pain, your child will answer “No.” Then say, “Good!” You will discover that the child stands there confused for a couple of seconds, then goes right back to playing with their sibling. Your kids will have realized that if they are not hurt, there is nothing to get upset about!

Author's Bio: 

Izzy Kalman is a psychotherapist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist who lives in Staten Island, New York, and gives seminars throughout the country on anger control, bullying and relationship problems. He is the author of the book, Bullies to Buddies: How to turn your enemies into friends, and the website,, which is full of free information on how to end the problem of bullying.