Let’s face it, the very first minute you look at your newborn’s bleary-eyes, you vow to protect them no matter what. You make up your mind that you’ll do everything in your power to make sure they never get bullied. Then comes the day when you finally prepare your little one for school with adults and children you don’t know. Like most of the parents, you too hope and pray that they can take care of your child. And then one day the dreaded news comes when your little one comes home with teary eyes and says – “Someone hurt me!” What do you do now? As devastating as this may be, dear parents, we have some good news for you. By helping your child develop the skills needed to stand up to bullying, you can help them overcome the situation.
Wondering how? Here are some pointers you’d want to read and discuss with your little one-
1. Keeping Your Cool - A bully is seeking to create an environment of fear and control. All experts agree that the most important thing your little one should do is stay calm. This applies in all raised-anxiety scenarios. They should think clearly and speak softly. A bully is out there to seek a reaction. Children should never give them what they seek.
2. Walking Away - As stated above, a bully seeks a reaction more than anything else. If possible, kids should simply walk away from the situation. This steals away the thrill for a bully. Not being there to hear their threats or insults can likely stop their behaviour towards their victim altogether.
3. Knowing there is Strength in Numbers - Whenever possible, ask your children to plan to walk with friends when they are in areas they have been confronted before. This might be the recess, the lunch room, or in between their classes. It is more intimidating for a bully to single them out when they are surrounded by their supportive friends.
4. Facing Your Fear - In some cases children confronting their bully is the only option. They should not engage in any kind of physical or verbal assaults. Simply standing up for themselves and telling the bully to stop is the right way to go about it. They can even use a few well-timed comebacks. Such as, “Aren’t you tired of your behaviour yet?.” Then simply walk away.
5. Knowing Thy Enemy - The most powerful weapon on earth is undoubtedly the human mind. Use it! Kids should try to consider the person who is bullying them and what circumstances he/she may be under. In almost all cases, it’s observed that they are acting out in reaction to troubles in their own life. All sorts of tragic events could be the reason for this behaviour. If an opening is seen, they should offer their support and understanding towards them. They might end up saving a life.
6. Telling an Adult - It is important for children to learn how to handle their own social situations. It’s a part of the growing up process. However, if the bullying turns to threats of violence and/or emotional harm, it is time for them to come to you or their teachers. Letting an adult know what has been happening is important and they should know that by doing so the necessary steps will be taken to end it.
7. Self-Confidence - Children with low self-esteem are the usual targets of bullying. Taking steps to improve this is the right way to go. Martial arts such as tae-kwon-do offer an excellent way of helping a child gain their confidence as well as maturity. Above all, make sure your own house is a secure and nurturing place.
Lastly, bullying is something no child should go through and know that today, parenting in a rapidly changing world is not easy, so be kind to yourself and make small changes to bullet-proof your little one to bullying!