Excerpt: At Kidpower, we receive complaints from all over the world about adults being bullied by other adults, asking if we can help with skills from our adult (Fullpower) Programs. We can. In any relationship, people might make mistakes, lash out in hurtful ways, be rude, or be thoughtless. Bullying means that someone (or more than one person) is repeatedly and deliberately trying to hurt another person with less power. When someone misuses his or her power with an intention to be hurtful to you, it can feel miserable. Figuring out how to use the power you already have to protect yourself can be life-changing.

Nothing works in all situations all of the time, but here are some Kidpower (Fullpower) People Safety skills that can often prevent and stop bullying for adults:


We receive complaints from all over the world about adults being bullied by other adults. Here are just a few of countless examples:

  • “My colleague scowls when I come into our office and tries to sabotage any idea I come up with by making up stories about me.”
  • “My boss speaks to me in a sneering voice and makes nasty remarks about my competence instead of giving me feedback on how to improve my performance.”
  • “One family member is trying to ruin my reputation with the rest of our family and is shunning me from family events.”
  • “I’m on a board of directors of a community organization. One member disrupts our meetings by threatening to resign if he doesn’t get his way or shouting others down if he disagrees about something.”
  • “My girl friend will get upset and threaten to break up if I don’t buy her things I can’t afford.”
  • “I was part of an on-line community that was supposed to support parents but found myself being ganged up on and eventually shunned.”

In any relationship, people might make mistakes, lash out in hurtful ways, be rude, or be thoughtless. Bullying means that someone (or more than one person) is repeatedly and deliberately trying to hurt another person with less power.

Someone might have more power than another person:

  • Physically: By being stronger, bigger, louder, and/or more aggressive.
  • Economically: By having more money; by controlling money you need; and/or being your boss.
  • Emotionally: By being more willing than you are to damage your relationship; by knowing how to make you feel guilty; by knowing how to manipulate you into doing things that are not in your best interest such as lending money that won’t get paid back; and/or by knowing how to upset you.
  • Socially: By being in a position to control access to something you want or need, such as where you live or access to someone you love; by being able to get other people to think less of you; and/or by being more credible or believable than you are.

When someone misuses his or her power with an intention to be hurtful to you, it can feel miserable. Figuring out how to use the power you already have to protect yourself can be life-changing.

Nothing works in all situations all the time, but here are some Kidpower People Safety skills that can often prevent and stop bullying.

1) Protect yourself emotionally.

Feeling helpless and persecuted and wishing that the bullying would stop are normal reactions.  However, feeling helpless, feeling victimized, and wishing will waste your time and energy, will most likely cause you a lot of pain, and will not make the situation better.  Here are a few Kidpower emotional safety techniques that can help:
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Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.

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