What are good bystanders or allies?

Learn about: What are good bystanders or allies? from Joel Haber, PhD,...
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What are good bystanders or allies?

Parents have a great opportunity to teach their kids what we call good bystanders, upstanders or allies, which supporting a kid whose targeted. I like the word allies because it means that kids who are targeted need someone to help them. But a culture in a school is the first thing to happen to help a kid feel safe, to do the right thing. If a child feels like they are going to be picked on themselves, if they stand up and say something, they are not going to do it. So a culture that rewards upstander behavior or ally behavior, is doing the right thing. Now, here are the tools. If your child is being bullied, what does the child need? They need support. I divide upstander support in two ways. Most kids won't do high-risk behavior, which is getting up in front of a bully and telling them to stop, because it's too scary, it's too risky. I don't think they should do that unless they are totally comfortable with themselves. Only a small percentage of kids will do that. What they can do is low risk behaviors, which is support a child. They can stand next to the child, if they are comfortable. Later on, they can go up to the child and say, "I'm really sorry that happened. I didn't know what to do. I was afraid, but let's go tell a teacher together. Why don't you walk with me to class tomorrow. Spend time with me at lunch." They show support so the child who is targeted doesn't feel alone. You encourage children to do what's right and support someone, you build their empathy. They are better citizens. They feel better about themselves. We have to have a culture that encourages that. As a parent, you need to tell them to do something, because if they just watch and do nothing, they actually support the bullying child.

Learn about: What are good bystanders or allies? from Joel Haber, PhD,...


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Joel Haber, PhD

Psychologist, Bullying & Parenting Expert, Author

Dr. Joel Haber is a Clinical Psychologist and internationally recognized bully prevention and parenting expert. He was selected as a webinar leader and a speaker for the Obama Administration Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention initiative.  He was also an invited participant to the Second Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit in 2011. His recent book, Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good set the bullying standard for schools, camps, sports, organizations and families dealing with bully prevention and intervention. He recently published The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive, Not Reactive Parenting.  He is a consultant and expert to the American Camp Association, and to LG Electronics as a member of (LGTextEd.com), providing cyberbullying and mobile harassment expertise to parents and families. He is an advisor to Cartoon Network’s anti-bully campaign: Stop Bullying: Speak Up.  He is an expert for No Snap Judgments: The Addams Family Broadway Show- National Campaign to promote acceptance and tolerance amongst our youth. He is also co-founder of Tool Kits for Kids (toolkitsforkids.com), recipient of five national parenting awards for helping parents and kids develop the tools and emotional life skills to overcome worry, build confidence and develop resilience. He has written and published extensively, speaking each year to thousands of parents and educators to help make children’s lives, safer and better. 

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