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Simple Solutions to Stop Aggression

The most recognizable form of social aggression (or bullying) is bothering behavior.  If you search “bullying” on Google images, you’ll find clip art of large angry-looking kids holding scrawny kids in the air by their shirt.  While this is the stereotype, we must recognize that bothering behavior takes many forms.

The following article is based on the SQUABBLES® Theory of Aggression & the Peace Sign Approach to stop bullying.  Understand that the advice below is for behavior, aimed at hurting someone’s feelings and annoying physical behavior that doesn’t cause pain (like poking and pushing).  If a child is a target of a crime, like assault and battery, ignore this advice and treat it as the crime that it is.  Remember though, that most behaviors are simply social conflicts that students can learn to resolve on their own.

What is Bothering?

Bothering is defined as behavior aimed at seeking to psychologically dominate or control someone else.  SQUABBLES Bother Emoji
This behavior may be verbal or non-verbal, direct or indirect.

Examples of bothering are name-calling, rumors, and shoving.

The Solution for Bothering

To stop bothering, the target of aggression must demonstrate that they are unfazed by their aggressor’s attempt to emotionally disturb them.

If the target gets upset, they lose.  This emotional disturbance reinforces to the aggressor that their rude behavior is working.  If the target gets upset, the behavior will continue, and often get worse.  When a child is being bothered I teach them this…

“The upset you get, the more fun they have.  The more fun they have, the meaner they are.  The meaner they are, the more upset you get”.

The only way to stop bothering is to teach a child how to not easily be bothered.  We cannot stop someone from bothering them but we can teach them how to be emotionally resilient.  Those that aren’t easily frustrated are no fun to bother.  In fact, if you try, you look very foolish.  They can stop your mean gestures with little effort by remaining calm and kind.

I teach…
“Be Calm.  Be Kind.  Don’t get upset and treat your enemy like a friend.”

For additional resources on this approach, view the many products for students, parents, and educators in my online store.  They all teach this approach in a way that is empowering, and fun to learn.