Talking strong is delivered in a moderate volume voice with shoulders back, a stand-up-straight posture with head up and a confident look on the face. A strong voice may be a bit lower in pitch than a joking voice would be, but it is not at the level of shouting. Take a few moments to practice talking strong with your child by mimicking a weak voice, followed by a too-strong, nearly shouting voice and then settle into the voice in the middle that is confident and strong.
Walking strong is essential for kids to understand and practice. When teaching kids this skill, we have the kids walk around the room with us in three different ways. First, we have the kids walk the way someone who gives the appearance of a victim or under-confident person would walk. A victim body posture would be small steps, shoulders caved inward and hunched over with a worried, meek or sad look on the face.
Next, we have kids do the exact opposite and walk with maximum swagger as if they are way too cool for school. We generally get lots of strutting around at this point in the exercise and, of course, a lot of giggling.
Then, we settle everyone into a walk that is in-between victim and swagger. Here we teach the kids to hold their shoulders back, and heads up high, but not too high. Take steps with purpose but no stomping. Hands are relaxed and may be put in pockets or thumbs hooked on pocket edges, belt loops, or lightly crossed in front. The walk may include the tiniest bit of swagger.
By practicing the look and sound of walking and talking strong (and we encourage kids to fake-it-until-you-make-it), your child will become less likely to be the target of a bully and will build his or her inner confidence.
For more on how to prevent bullying and managing conflict, Bully Busting and Managing Meanies: Tips for Kids on Managing Conflict is coming August 19th to Amazon.com.
Click this link for an interesting Ted Talk about the research that explains why this is effective.