If I had to identify the biggest challenge for those of us who work with young people is helping students identify bullying behavior and coming up with solutions. Elsbeth Martindale, PsyD, has created a wonderful tool, How to Spot a Bully card deck. Dr. Martindale reached out to me (and was generous enough to send me a deck for my review). I was so impressed with How to Spot a Bully I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you.
The deck comes with directions that are simple to follow: the dark teal cards ask the child questions to help them determine if their conflict with a peer(s) could be considered bullying. While working with a student, you can give them the teal cards and ask them separate them into three piles, “yes,” “no,” and, “unsure.” If the child is unsure of their answer, Dr. Martindale thoughtfully asks more specific questions on the back of each teal card to help them answer the main question on the front. The child then is asked to put the card in the appropriate pile according to their answer. From there you can help the child understand why they put their card in certain piles.
If the child finds themselves as a target, bystander or bully the deck has three solution decks for each role! I particularly like the solution deck for the bully. Dr. Martindale expresses empathy for the bullying child and helps them understand their behavior from the outside.
I can see using this tool quite effectively with children from Kindergarden to 5th grade. Not only can you come up with a solution but you can use the cards to further explore issues of self-esteem, aggression and conflict resolution with the child you are working with. With some creativity, the use of these cards could be endless!
If you would like to know more about How to Spot a Bully or Dr. Martindale, please see her website at Courage to Bloom.