Verbal bullying is an all too common event that children face both in and out of school.
This situation happens most commonly in school but it can also happen outside of school hours at sports events, parties and other areas where teens congregate.
Knowing what to do and how to respond to verbal bullying is something that all teens, children and parents must learn.
Leave the Situation
Whenever possible, someone who is being verbally bullied should leave the situation if it is possible to do so safely. Leaving the area before the situation escalates can help to avoid serious physical injury.
Walking away without saying a word may sometimes be the best way to respond to verbal bullying.
Preparing to Respond
When walking away from the bullying is not possible, teens may need to come up with a verbal response to the bully. Strategizing about what to say to the bully can help things go as smoothly as possible. Having a plan can help a teen prevent overreactions and can lead to enhanced self-confidence.
Practicing ahead of time can help a teen when such a situation arises.
Maintaining a steady voice, making eye contact with the bully and speaking in a confident way are essentials for a good response to verbal bullying. Teens can try to diffuse the situation by using these types of responses:
- Fogging. This is done to confuse the bully. Fogging responses include a single word or just a few words that are neutral or positive. Examples of fogging responses to a bully include “so?”, “who cares?” and “maybe.”
- Agreeing statements. These statements confirm the facts regarding the verbal bullying. An example of an agreeing statement is, “Yes, you’re right.”
- Comeback lines. These responses are meant to stump the bully and make him or her think twice about his or her actions. Comeback lines may include statements such as, “whatever you say.”
Responses to verbal bullying should not try to incite anger or escalate the situation. Using a comeback line can be tricky; this type of response requires careful practice and assessment of the situation to ensure that the situation does not worsen.