Women's Empowerment Program

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

Stop Bullying Me!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no matter where bullying comes from, whether it’s a corporate boss, the neighborhood school bully, or the president of the United States, you should always take a stand against bullying.
Just today, I had to have “the talk” with the parent of my child’s elementary school-age bully.
I made sure I approached the parent with a friendly conversation starter. One that talked about how much our kids both like their teacher. This neutral topic allowed us to start on common ground and agree on something before engaging with the issue.
I went on to mention how I was concerned that my child liked playing with his daughter but has been coming home lately saying they no longer like school because she felt his daughter was excluding her and being mean. I remained calm and conversational as I talked to the parent but noticed that my unconfrontational behavior was not being mirrored.
The other parent immediately began to react in a defensive body language and tone of voice. He kept his arms crossed and defended their child’s behavior by saying the ridiculous statement that is often used to excuse
intolerable behavior, “She was only teasing”. Then he continued on, “My child’s not a bully, anyway, they’re too young to be bullies at this age.” 🤬
What? Are you serious? I thought.
I kept my composure… Although I wanted to unleash the mamma bear.
I shook my head and simply thought, nice try, but you’re not going to fool me with that crap. 
I politely reminded him that I’ve written books on the topic and that I lead an award-winning organization called Kurukula to prevent bullies. Adding, “I’m pretty confident that I know the difference between teasing and bullying”.
(In case you’re wondering as you read this post: Teasing is an isolated incident that is said among friends to reinforce their friendship. It’s said in a joking way and doesn’t offend the intended receiver. Teasing however crosses over to bullying when it happens repeatedly, and the receiver is clearly upset by the behavior, often asking the person more than once to stop.) And for the record,
bullying of course happens across all age groups, from preschoolers to seniors.
There’s no justification that can be used to excuse bullying. If a person feels they were mistreated, then they most likely were.
Often times
the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree... 🍎 🍏 Bullying adults often raise bullying children. But we can (and must), call them on their bad behaviors and speak up (yes, even to the grown-ups) if we want it to stop.
For younger kids, it’s essential that parents and teachers get involved. It may be hard for kids to communicate effectively on their own when a situation occurs. Therefore, we need to prepare our children with assertive words and body language to defend themselves, always without drama and emotion
I’ve spent the day trying to understand the other parents’ reaction. Honestly, it boggles me. If you approached me in a friendly way and told me your child felt scared to come to school for several days because of something my child said or did, the first thing out of my mouth would be, “
I’m so sorry, let me talk to my child about that.” That, I think, would be a mature reaction.
Imagine how hard it must be for a child to confide to their mom that they are being hurt by a kid at school. That takes courage and guts for a young person. Now imagine the uneasiness of you approaching the bullied parent to say that you believe their child’s behavior was the cause of their pain. Most people would not enjoy that conversation and would want to avoid a further confrontation.
Wouldn’t it be human nature to empathize with the victims’ experience and pain? It’s no different, than the victim blaming that our culture does when a woman finally speaks up that someone sexually abused her. Defensiveness or judgement have no place in these situations— even if you feel you are innocent. The point is,
even if you were innocent, and didn’t intentionally harm another person shouldn’t the first thing out of your mouth be ‘I’m so sorry that happened to you’?
We have lost touch of our human connectedness. It’s not an us versus them world. We are all one.
If a child feels bullied at school, then our entire school system is not successful at protecting our children, and all parents need to help solve it. Just as if one woman is a survivor of sexual assault, then our entire culture is lacking in decency and respect to how we treat women and we are all responsible for it.
We are one human race. One species trying to survive together on one planet. We need more empathy for each other. When one of us falls, lend out a hand to pick the person up, don’t simply walk by. It’s time we understand how our actions and words are hurtful to our neighbors, classmates, friends-- our entire human family.
I felt sad that the other parent reacted to my inquiry that way. My intention was not to be blaming or confrontational but rather, to have a mature conversation on how we can best get our girls to be friends again. Unfortunately, the dad walked away with a “huff” and a “sigh” to clearly demonstrate to me that this conversation was over and not worth his time. And with that, it was over.
I went home and reassured my child that bullies are not as confident as they appear. The best defense is to avoid them and search out better friends. Friends that treat them how they deserve to be treated.
We can’t be responsible for how others choose to live their lives or raise their kids. But we can strive to do our best to connect and empathize with the people around us in this world.
Arming you against bullies (and sexual assault) is my jam. I often feel like the Robin-hood of the innocent. I want to
protect and empower you with tools you can use. And nothing makes me happier than knowing you’re living with confidence and fearlessness, and that you no longer need my trainings.
If you’re dealing with a bully harassing you or your child please reach out to me. My
Jerky Johnny game was designed to equip you and your young person with these exact skills. Or of course, if you prefer to experience my badass trainings in person then schedule a call with me. I’m happy to help. 
When you see wrong in the world, speak up. Especially for those who may need help asserting themselves. Your children are watching your every move. And when you behave with maturity, integrity, dignity, and respect it gets modeled in their behaviors. And that’s, how we change the world.
In support of you,
Dara