How Can I Help My Child Avoid Bullying?
This is the question EVERY parents desperately seeks the answer to.
Five Ways to Proactively Help Your Child
Use Your Mind
Teach your children to be aware of their surroundings. You can make this into a game; kind of like “I Spy”. When you walk into a store, ask them “what color shirt was _________ wearing?”, or “how many _______ were there in that stack of ________.” The options to “play” are endless. The lesson is priceless. Beyond just playing a game, discuss with them the importance of being aware of situations, or even people, that make them uncomfortable. You aren’t encouraging paranoia. You are teaching your children to see the full picture.
Use Your Words
Teach your children to be C.A.L.M. if they ever find themselves in a bullying situation. First, COOL DOWN, and don’t let your emotions (fear, anger, frustration) control your response. Then, ASSERT themselves, and LOOK the bully in the eye. Finally, MEAN it. When you show confidence in the face of a bully, often times, this is enough to deter their actions. Remember: Bullying is defined as “repetitive, persistent patterns of conduct by one or more children that deliberately inflicts physical, verbal, or emotional abuse on another child where a power differential is in place.” While saying “You’re ugly” once is mean, it’s not bullying. Bullying occurs over a period of time, and is repetitive.
Use Your Legs
If your child is in a bullying situation, teach them that if they can’t talk their way out of it, the next step is to walk away. Ignore the situation, and go the other way.
Many times, the lack of response is enough to encourage the bully (remember, their intent is to gain power, and hurt feelings) to move on.
Ask For Help
Teach your children that it is NOT tattling when they REPORT to a trusted adult that someone is mistreating them. Reporting is when you let someone WHO CAN HELP you know that you (or even a friend) are being treated in a disrespectful manner.
Don’t Be a Bully: Be a Buddy
When you are a buddy, you perform acts of kindness with no expectations in return. Strength and kindness go hand in hand. Teach your children (and remember, they do what they SEE you do, not what you merely say), to buddy someone daily.
For more on how to help your children have the BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER, check out the A, B, C’s.