Desperate Times Call For The Anti-Bullying Coach

Parents Worried About Their Children In School Get Proactive

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — It’s one of life’s most difficult lessons — being bullied.

The Department of Education estimates as many as 160,000 children a day stay home from school because of the threat.

Now, a number of families are fighting back with the help of anti-bully coaches.

Remember the video of the father who stormed onto his daughter’s school bus to confront the kids who were bullying her? His response may have seemed extreme, but many parents who are fed up with feeling helpless against school bullies say they identify with him.

School should be a place where kids go to learn and make new friends, but one mom told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois it’s a place where her son gets teased and bullied.

“They marked him from the beginning on the first day of kindergarten,” the mother said.

The bullying is so bad she was afraid to show their faces and names, fearful it’ll just make matters worse.

“I spoke with the bus driver. I’ve spoken with each teacher that he’s had,” she said.

Nothing has worked. It’s a feeling 12-year-old Jacob said he knows all too well.

“Sometimes friends can turn on you. Middle school changes people a lot,” he said.

And for some children bullying can have devastating effects and has even lead to suicide.

“It can cause a drop in grades, emotional issues, depression,” said Michelle Boykins of the National Crime Prevention Council.

Making matters worse, the harassment often continues outside of school. Now, the mom Dubois introduced you to earlier is turning to somebody outside of her child’s school for help — an anti-bullying coach. It’s a new kind of service that is gaining popularity.

“A parent calls me in desperation because their kid has been bullied. They don’t know what to do and their kid doesn’t want to go back to school,” Dr. Joel Haber said.

Haber, a White Plains psychologist, is an anti-bullying coach. He said, with the right training, kids can become “bully proof.” But he said his first step is to train the parents.

“Most parents feel that rush of adrenaline, that emotion and they want to take control of it themselves,” Dr. Haber said.

Haber said this is one of the biggest mistakes parents make because taking on the child’s problem forces the child to become more withdrawn.

“They cut off their kid from talking to them,” Dr. Haber said.

Instead, Dr. Haber said parents need to stay calm and find out what’s really going on. He said he tells parents to ask pointed questions, something more like the following:

“Show me how you get picked on. And I’ll try to show you a way that won’t work,” Dr. Haber said.

Haber said he also uses role playing as a big component of his coaching. He teaches camp counselors how to identify and stop what he says are the three main types of bullying — physical, verbal and exclusionary.

All across the country similar training programs are popping up.

Experts said bullying has become so alarmingly common that a number of schools are going so far as to hire these anti-bullying coaches.

“In our research we found that 43 percent of kids report being the victim of bullying,” Boykins said.

But coaches like Haber said there are ways to beat the bullies — and it’s not in the form of fists.

“If you hit them back, you’re going to get in trouble,” Dr. Haber said.

Instead, experts agree the best way to deal with bullying at school is:

* Remind your child that he or she isn’t alone. A lot of people get bullied at some point.

* Call on your child’s teacher or counselor to intervene.

* If you’ve tried these methods and still want to speak to the bullying child’s parents, do so at the school where an official can mediate.

For the mother and son Dubois spoke with, they said they hoped the coaching will help them put an end to the teasing at school, so the real learning can finally begin.

A handful of states, including New Jersey, have adopted strict anti-bully laws. They require awareness programs for students and for teachers.

RELATED: Westchester DA Hosts Anti-Bullying Conference

For more information on anti-bullying coaches, please click here and here.

Did you find this story helpful? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Er

    Bullies are NOT always bullied at home. They learn it because they are trying to meet their needs and although it is not okay to take power over others, they make excuses for their behavior and it would be so sad if we did too. All kids are trying to meet their needs the best way that they can but Bullies just chose this path. And I think all kids (the bully and the victims) need something. And I think the vicitms also have a hard time meeting their needs as well but the bullys make the victims feel defeated that their rights and their need for respect and other needs might ever get met. It is the whole picture we need to look at. Victims of constant bullying can feel overpowered and learn this is the way they need to be. It can affect the entire endocrine system of the victim from adrenals to thyroid problems that can remain out of balance long after that bully had been gone. I would like to see more balance of power between students and people and see bullys be made to take more responsibility… not punish them but rather teach them that they will be made powerless to harm others by the higher authorities if they make others powerless.

  • John Ruiz

    The truth about bullies now days is that some of the teachers in th school system tend to be blind to what is going on either they don’t want to get involve or are affraid of what the ramfications or consecuences. The truth is that bullying does has never stopped in the school play ground. You as a parent have to be an advocate for your child, and get to know your child well. I am a father of 5.
    Bullies now days are singular attackers and sometimes more than one. It can be a group bullying your child. In the old times it use to be one as time progress is taken a different take that no one is addressing here. Multiple bullies on your child. Streets have change and so are the bullies. Lets talk about their new weapons, internet, cellular phone with cameras, As a self defence instructor and a parent I educate my children and my students in different ways to engage this issue. Lets see once an individual puts their hands on you is considered simple assault in most cases. If you being a child tell them to take their hands off and you push their hand away from your body, the bully in other will assume to retaliate on your child. Mentally and physically your child must be prepare to defend themselves at that moment. Voice command is crytical issue, bringing the attention to the bully around when there is a concern adult is symple, sometimes saying with a bit of a loud voud voice “OKAY YOU MADE YOUR POINT” “NOW LEAVE ME ALONE” that might doit. The adult at that moment gets involved.
    Loosing face in front of others the bully gets angry and waits for your child sometimes with one and sometimes with frinds of his level. It gets worst. Those are things that some of these Anti-bully coaches should also talk to your child about. I am a Self Defence instructor and I believe that a train mind is the best weapon but sometimes even warrios went to battle with shield and swords. Dont mean to bring a weapon but get your child involve in a self defence class..where they have fun and learn real self defence..mind, body and soul.. The day that school puts in order, that a child can have a cell but not with a camera, and we make someone like those networking pages as responsible, for what they publish, parents that give children a camera phone to take the school who have had previous issues with bullying responsible for their actions we might have a better control on the issues. Then again I hope you all understand that thi is just my opinion.
    I guess the two big words are Bullies and Responsability. Peace to all of you. Another tip: spend more time with your children, get to know them, be their parents and be their best friend.

  • Windy

    How sad

  • Jill Greenbaum

    Parents can also help by participating in the Schools Unite Network “SUN,” based on the premise that in a digital age it takes a hi-tech network of caring parents to raise a child.

  • Jordana

    Teachers are harassed and bullied constantly. Children live what they learn. Out of control administrators are all over, and it sends the message that bullying is okay.

  • Justin

    I own a Japanese Karate School. We’ve been teaching anti-bullying techniques for 5000 years now. Get with it.

  • Anti-bullying mom

    We are all in denial regarding bullying. Bullying is a growing problem among pre-teen and teenagers. It gets worst in middle school. Bullying affects children’s mental health and if it is not addressed and the victim does not seek help it can have long-term consequences into adult life. e.g. Columbine masacre….Do you know that LAST YEAR ALONE there were about 25 “bullycides” (suicides due to bullying), it increased dramatically from 2009 with 11 confirmed cases to 25!!!! We all have to teach our children bullying is bad. The problem is that some bullies are being bullied at home too.

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