Dealing with Bullying is all about making the bullying stop. It can be very simple if caught early or very complicated if it has been ongoing. It does not matter if your child is the bully or the target this information will help.
As a Parent there are some strategies you can use that will help your child get through this and create positive results whether they are the bully or the bullied.
Keep in mind we are all individual. Feel free to use the information that works for you and discard the rest. Doing what is best for your child is a decision only you can make.
1) KNOWLEDGE: Arm yourself with Knowledge: Learn about what Bullying is and is not. You can find the information you need here and there are some excellent books and resources. A word of caution not all resources are created equally. As you learn more question the validity and make sure the knowledge makes sense. A good example is a book I reviewed for kids which advises the bullied child to basically provoke the bullying by repeating what the bully says…have you ever had any one repeat everything you say…How annoying is it? Will that make the situation better or worse when dealing with bullying? Let common sense prevail.
2) BULLYING BELIEFS: Challenge Bullying Beliefs: As you learn to advocate for your child you will realize our society minimizes and excuses a lot of bullying as being normal child hood stuff. The odd tease, peers joking around, sibling rivalry…is normal. Being targeted, physically, mentally, verbally, socially , repeatedly over time is not normal. You may find as you advocate for your child these beliefs will pop up…Don’t get sucked into it…Your child needs your help dealing with bullying. This is not a normal part of growing up and your kid is plenty tough enough. These beliefs can make dealing with bullying much more challenging.
3) FRIENDSHIP: Bullies pick on those most often who are alone. Teach your child friendship skills. If they and other people in their class are bullied they can help each other out. This will also help your child make friends and feel better reducing the isolation and impact of the bullying.
4) ASSERTIVENESS: Teach Assertiveness: Using your voice and body in an assertive way . This will assist your child to deal with bullying. It will reduce the likely hood of a bully targeting your child and if they are targeted they will have the ability to use their words and stance to communicate it won’t be tolerated.
5) SELF ESTEEM: Innoculate your Child: A child who knows who they are…can identify what is good about themselves and knows they are loved will be less likely to experience long term issues with bullying. Dealing with Bullying is much easier for a child with high self esteem. They simply don’t buy in to the taunts because they know better. They can look at reality and say “Yeah, ok, I did not do well on that report…but that does not make me stupid…the reality is I did well on lots of other reports…or the reality is I did my best….or the reality is that report was really hard and lots of others did not do well either.
6) SCHOOL POLICY: Talk to the teacher, the principal or the bullying rep at the school and find out what the bullying policy is at your child’s school. Ideally you want to protect your child, discipline the bully in a way that will help the bully and support those who witness the bullying to be involved. If your school policy is non existent or does not work you may want to volunteer and start a task force within your school that directly targets dealing with bullying and assist the school in creating a policy that works. Dealing with bullying is not a one person solution.
7) TOLERANCE: This may be more directed to the Bully but it effects all the players. Tolerance teaches our children we are all different. It is ok and actually a result of natures wonderous variety that we are all different. We are all unique, worthy, valuable and talented. Nature always has a purpose. Each and everyone of us has a purpose and if we were not different the world would not work. If the Wright Brothers thought like everyone else we would not have airplanes…
8) EMPATHY: We need to model for our children and show them empathy and they will develop it…some kids need a little extra help and will need reminders of what it may feel like to be in someone elses shoes. Children develop empathy at different ages but I believe we are born with empathy. We rely on each other… Babies are 100% dependant on their parents being empathetic to their needs. It is part of our survival make up. However, some of us lose touch with it and need reminders now and again.
9) PARENTING STYLE: We may need to look at the way we are parenting. I know…I know…it is always the parents fault…I don’t believe it is our fault. I believe our children have a mind of their own. They are little mini adults…However there is research that shows their brains are not fully developed until late teens or early twenties so it is up to us to provide the guidance and wisdom. If we are too harsh we could be creating the bully or the target depending on our childs response to our approach. If we are too lenient the same is true. Children need to know they are loved, respected and capable and they need boundaries. It is a fine line I know . I have criss crossed many times. However if our child is part of the bullying drama we need to be honest and look in our own homes to see if there is something that needs to change that can help our child deal with the bullying.
10) LEADERSHIP: This one is my favourite. Leadership teaches our children the importance of being their best and bringing out the best in others. It is not about being the boss or getting to make the decisions…although leaders sometimes have to take these roles. Leadership when taught correctly can support our children to learn problem solving, conflict management, assertiveness, empathy, tolerance and increase self esteem. I believe it gives kids the necessary skills to be successful in the “real” world as well as to deal with bullying.
Dealing with Bullying can be as easy as modeling for your child and expressing to them what it feels like when they are hurtful and reminding them others have feelings.
Maybe all that is required is a talk with the school to let them know what is happening with your child so the schools anti-bullying program can be used to protect your child.
OR you may be up for a real challenge. If you present the problem to the teacher and you hear bullying beliefs like “Well, boys will be boys” or “Girls are just like that at this age” You will need to dig in and take more action.
Bullying>Dealing with Bullying