Fogging

Fogging

Fogging is a technique that can be used by children when they are being verbally teased or taunted in an unpleasant way. It would not be used with physical or group bullying.

The idea with 'fogging' is to acknowledge that what the bully says may be true or seem true to him or her, without getting defensive and upset. Getting practically no expected reaction, the bully is often discouraged. To use this technique effectively children commonly need assistance from a teacher or counselor who can help them to think about what they can say or do when they are verbally harassed - all the time remaining calm and self-possessed. Here is an example:

Bully: You have a great big nose
Target: True, it is large
Bully: It looks like a beak
Target: True, it does stand out
Bully: You are the ugliest kid in the schoo l
Target: That's your opinion
Bully: You are wearing pov shoes
Target: You are not wrong

With growing confidence, the target might start asking the bully to explain. This can come
as a surprise and put the bully on the back foot. Whatever the bully says, the target just listen.

Bully:
You are such an idiot.
Target: Why do you think so ? (Wait for the answer)
Bully: Everybody hates you.
Target: That's interesting. Why do you think that ? (Wait for the answer)
Bully: You are always in the library at lunch time
Target: That's right. Why does that concern you ? (Wait for an answer)
Bully: All those kids in the library are nerds
Target: It may seem like that to you.
Bully: You have no friends
Target: Well, that's what you think.

From: Rigby, K (2010) Bullying Interventions: in schools: Six major methods. Camberwell: ACER.
Also published in the United States by Wiley in 2012.