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Group-Based Bully Intervention
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In the last section, we discussed five advanced techniques that students can use to deal with verbal bullying. These five techniques are Tone Twisters, Disconnected Comments, Playing the Game, Blocks, and Pushes.
In this section... we will discuss helping students fight bullying as a group by using the Anti - Meanness Chart.
Remember Brandy from the last section? Brandy stated, "I’m having pretty good luck with the advanced techniques we talked about. Stephanie gets really confused when I use the Tone Twister with her. She’s hasn’t been calling me names so much. But it’s not like I don’t have other bullies to deal with. And my friends get picked on, too. Sometimes I feel like bullying is just too big of a problem for me to deal with."
♦ Anti-Meanness Club
I stated to Brandy, "I noticed you mentioned that some of your friends are also bullied. Do you think that teaming up to deal with bullying together might make the problem seem less overwhelming?"
Brandy stated, "Yeah, I guess so. I already taught my friend Alice about some of the stuff I’ve learned. But what are we supposed to do, like, start an Anti-Meanness club!?"
I stated to Brandy, "Actually, that’s not a bad idea. It wouldn’t have to be a formal club, or something you put up posters for at school. But you and your friends could make a commitment together to deal with bullying sort of as a team, and help each other learn new techniques. You could also track your progress together." I explained to Brandy that one way an Anti-Meanness group or club could organize to keep track of their progress is to have each member keep an Anti-Meanness chart.
♦ Anti-Meanness Chart
The Anti-Meanness chart breaks learning to deal with bullies into four steps.
1. The first Anti Meanness step is not returning meanness with meanness.
2. The second Anti-Meanness step is using the techniques we have discussed on the previous sections to interrupt and confuse a bully who is using meanness to hurt others.
3. The third Anti-Meanness step is thinking about a situation after it happens, if you were not able to figure out what to do at the time.
4. And fourth, think about the day at school and decided whether you had any meanness directed at you.
I stated to Brandy, "To help each other use these tools, you can put each of these four steps into the Anti-Meanness chart. Each time you successfully use one of these steps, you can award yourself or your friends points." To make the Anti-Meanness Chart, your client starts on the left hand side of your paper. Write, "Anti-Meanness steps". Below this, list the following steps:
I did not use insults, arguments, "shoulds", accusations, or explanations to handle meanness today (5 points)
I was able to handle someone’s meanness with compliments, questions, agreements, golden nuggets, I-statements, understanding, reversers, tone twisters, disconnects, blocks, pushers, or humor (5 points)
When I got stumped by meanness, I was able to figure out what I could have said later (5 points)
No meanness came my way today. I must be doing something right! (3 points)
Below these steps, make a box labeled, "Total". An example of the Anti-Meanness chart is included in the back of the Manual that accompanies this course.
Across the top, write the days of the week. I stated to Brandy, "Each day, mark how many points you have earned on the chart, and write the total for the day at the bottom. Everyone in your Anti-Meanness group can keep track of how many points she or he earns during the week. At the end of the week, you can congratulate each other for your points."
♦ Group Efforts with the Anti-Meaness Chart
For students using the Anti Meanness chart to facilitate a group effort to deal with bullying at school, I often recommend that the group agree ahead of time on rewards that can be given out when the members total their points at the end of the week. For example, Brandy’s group decided that the member with the most points each week would be treated to lunch. Brandy’s group also decided that any member of the Anti Meanness group who earned over 50 points in a week would get a small prize, such as stickers, a new pencil, or a hair decoration.
♦ Using the Anti-Meaness Chart with Parents
Another use of the Anti-Meanness chart involves the parents of the child who is being bullied or dealing with meanness at school. Nathan, age 7, had been brought to see me by his father, Luke. Luke was highly concerned about Nathan’s response to bullying at school. Recently, Nathan had become aggressive in response to verbal bullying, and had been sent home from school on one occasion after he bit the boy who had been bullying him.
After I explained to Luke how to make an Anti-Meanness chart with Nathan, I stated, "It might be helpful to post an Anti-Meanness chart for each week in a location that both you and Nathan see regularly, maybe on a corkboard right outside his room. You might set a time every day when you and Nathan can mark his points for the day on the chart. This gives you an opportunity every day to discuss with Nathan how things are going at school. Agree with Nathan ahead of time how many points he will need to earn to receive a reward. The reward can be anything that you think would be motivating to Nathan, but I do suggest that the reward is not food-oriented." Of course open communication is the key to discourage dishonesty to get the reward and impress the child’s parent.
Think of your Nathan. Would helping her or his parents implement the Anti-Meanness chart be useful to her or him?
In this section... we have discussed helping students fight bullying as a group by using the Anti - Meanness Chart.
In the next section... we will discuss two concepts for helping students work together to deal with bullying at school. These two concepts are, intervening, and the anti-meanness test.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Beduna, K. N., & Perrone-McGovern, K. M. (2019). Recalled childhood bullying victimization and shame in adulthood: The influence of attachment security, self-compassion, and emotion regulation. Traumatology, 25(1), 21–32.
Bell, C. D., Raczynski, K. A., & Horne, A. M. (2010). Bully Busters abbreviated: Evaluation of a group-based bully intervention and prevention program. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 14(3), 257–267.
Casey, E. A., Storer, H. L., & Herrenkohl, T. I. (2018). Mapping a continuum of adolescent helping and bystander behavior within the context of dating violence and bullying. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(3), 335–345.
Grant, N. J., Merrin, G. J., King, M. T., & Espelage, D. L. (2019). Examining within-person and between-person associations of family violence and peer deviance on bullying perpetration among middle school students. Psychology of Violence, 9(1), 18–27.
Juvonen, J., Schacter, H. L., Sainio, M., & Salmivalli, C. (2016). Can a school-wide bullying prevention program improve the plight of victims? Evidence for risk × intervention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(4), 334–344.
Nickerson, A. B., & Mele-Taylor, D. (2014). Empathetic responsiveness, group norms, and prosocial affiliations in bullying roles. School Psychology Quarterly, 29(1), 99–109.9.
What is one way an Anti-Meanness group or club could organize to keep track of their progress?
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What are the three anti-meanness steps?
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