Through the seventeen years of teaching that represent my professional life, I have dealt with numerous conflicts involving students. It doesn't matter their age, their size or the relationship they have with their opponent, fights unfortunately occur, especially during recesses.
At home, on the street or at any public place, certain steps can be used to avoid fights. How do you keep your child from getting in fights? Well, if your child follows the following steps, you will see a difference!
- Tell your child that "No!" is an acceptable answer! If someone is trying to force your child into doing something that they don't want to do or say, tell them it is okay to say: "No!". This word avoids confusion as its message is loud and clear to any opponent.
- Make it stop! When an opponent is threatening, teasing, calling names, intimidating or physically touching or challenging them, your child has the right to yell: "Stop!" loud and clear. Bullies are cowards. When someone yells "stop", it attracts others' attention and it means that help is probably on the way.
- Send and "I" message! If your child knows his opponent well, he or she can say how they feel about the situation. Never accuse the opponent, as they will take it as a challenge. Never use this method with strangers or someone physically threatening. Your child can say something like: "I don't like it when you call me names!"
- Send a warning! Tell your child to warn the opponent that if he or she continues to cause trouble, your child will get help from an adult. In certain cases, a friend, sibling or classmate could get help as well.
- Don't fight, get help! Don't let your child stoop to the same level as his or her opponent, as it will not solve the problem. Someone will get hurt and they will both end up in trouble. Teach your child that it's OK to get the help that he or she needs to solve the problem right away. Bullies lose their power this way as your child is not scared to take care of the problem the right way.
- Don't be scared to do what is right! Bullies are not for being cowards. They may try to intimidate your child for using common sense, but keep in mind that your child is not the reason why the bullies were in trouble in the first place. They did the crime so they did the time!
Through time, I have noticed a decrease in fights at school since these steps have been taught in class, through the Health program. Often, what could have become a fight has been stopped at the disagreement level or only the opponent landed himself in trouble. Remind your child that he or she is responsible for most of his actions and words, and that, as such, he or she must deal with the consequences linked to his decisions. Also tell him to keep in mind that nobody is worth getting yourself into trouble over.