We can be encouraging and ask open questions to help us understand and allow our child the opportunity to process the bullying. Bullying does not have to make sense. The Target may never know why they were bullied and the Bully may never fully understand why they chose to bully.
The important thing is children who are involved in bullying have the opportunity to really talk it out and process the feelings so they can move forward feeling more confident and be less likely to be involved in bullying in the future.
Once you have your child talking you can use these encouragers to keep them going and make sure they have really processed the bullying.
Encouragers are simple sounds and phrases. Communication does not have to be difficult.
Another useful tool I use when I am coaching is asking open ended questions which prevent yes and no/good or bad answers.
I try very hard to practice what I preach. As I was practicing the above I noted there are two possible mistakes you will want to avoid.
1) Avoid leading questions. For example if you say "Hey, kiddo, did you have a good day?" well, first this is a yes/no question. But it also tells your child what you want to hear...you want to hear about the good stuff? Same thing is true in the opposite. Did you have a bad day? Leads them...
2) You don't want it to be an inquisition. Firing off questions back to back and not really listening for a complete answer will shut them down faster than...well, fast.
I have the most interesting conversations with my girls. They are brilliant in their own unique ways. It has become an important tool in my parenting tool chest.
One of the best side effects of allowing our children to process the bullying fully by connecting with us and talking about it is they will be the bystanders who will take action to stop bullying in the future.
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