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  • Writer's pictureLisa Dixon-Wells

These Targets of Bullying are Often Overlooked

Updated: Mar 13

provocative children

Does this seem familiar? Targets of Bullying:

Provocative children

Often bright but lacking social skills - Can irritate others because they don’t know when to stop - May fight back when bullied, but lose with great distress

Reactive children

Unpredictable - Easily slip in to fight, flight or freeze - Remorseful after an outburst

Are you using the most effective interventions?

targets if bullying

Tactics that help reactive children self-soothe involve breathing exercises and utilizing tactical and oral stimuli.

For example, “hot chocolate breathing,” pretending to hold a cup of hot cocoa, then breathing the smell in and breathing out to cool down the beverage, is a simple breathing exercise that can help reactive children self-regulate. Our program details five sequential steps to help move reactive children from escalating distress back to calm.

Provocative children miss social cues like changes in tone of voice and body language. They can be loud and lack sensitivity to personal space. Strategies to help provocative children learn social cues often include a strong visual component, as these children are typically very visual learners. Behavior charts, role plays and recording videos of their interactions and reviewing them together, will likely be much more effective tools than conversations and lecturing.

Dare to Care's school-wide comprehensive bullying prevention programs include professional development and parent education modules that focus specifically on targets of bullying such as provocative and reactive children. Our program provides extensive tips on recognizing these children and offers evidence-backed strategies to help them develop social skills, recognize social cues, and regulate their emotions more effectively.

For questions about our program, contact me at

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