The #1 Best all time Bullying Prevention strategy is your child making friends and then being able to keep them. This skill will serve your child his entire life.
In fact, there have been books written on the subject. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was written by Dale Carnegie back in 1936 and still continues to be read today. We are born needing to feel significant and loved but the HOW is largely left up to us.
As a concerned Parent I know you may have reservations. I know you might think there are times when parents should just stay out of the way and making friends is one of those times. I tend to agree with you in most instances.
However, if your child has been labeled a bully or is being bullied your involvement is crucial. They are lonely and perhaps are missing this life skill. We really can work with our children to understand friendship and our role in the relationship. Support them in their efforts in making friends and then guide them as they learn to keep those friendships.
This will in turn help them feel less lonely. Help them develop empathy and avoid bullying. Most Bullying happens when your child is alone.
Success leaves clues. We can identify ways that make it easier to connect and start successful friendships.
1) Smile and greet people
2) Learn and remember to use their name
3) Have the courage to introduce yourself
4) Ask them about themselves
5) Talk to them about their interests
6) Be a good listener
Children should be encouraged to look for other children who appear to have the same interests and like to do what they do.
Sometimes creating new friendships is all about joining a group. I know for me this is always nerve racking. I don’t like being around a group of people I do not know. I have never been great at small talk. Put me in front of 100’s to do a presentation no problem…put me in a small group of strangers and I break out in a sweat. So when I was doing the research and came across these ideas to help kids join groups I was relieved… These ideas will make my life easier too;)
4 Tips to make joining in Easier
1) Observe, watch the group, listen to what they are talking about, how they play, etc
2) Ask a question…while observing look for something you find interesting or would like to know more about and ask about it.
3) Say something positive about the group. “I could not help but notice you all seem to have a lot of fun together”
4) Ask to play or join in? This can be hard... I understand you are risking rejection. However, the alternative is to continue to hide from the bully...not a very good option. So use your courage and ask...
Once you are playing you have to remember how to keep friends. Make sure you are co-operating, sharing and working through any difference of opinion so everyone wins.
Bullying Prevention by making friends starts with your child believing they are worthwhile and can bring something to the friendship. We all need to feel a part of something and know we are loved. It is programmed into us. Most people... good, bad or indifferent are just trying to meet their needs. This is no different for our children.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. Children who are bullied are often alone. And coincidentally many times the bully is also lonely as he does not have these skills to make friends. Bullying prevention by making friends makes sense.
Bullying has been around since life came to this planet. However, as the caring parents we are... we can help build our children up with high self esteem and good friends to support them and make bullying less harmful.
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