When you and your children put your heads together, you can establish a strategy to deal with bullies effectively. Consider the following guidelines to get you started.
Debrief Your Child on Bullies
You may think that everyone knows what a bully is, but that isn’t always true. There is such a thing as joking around that doesn’t cross over into the realms of bullying. While not exactly comfortable, this joking usually gets a laugh from both parties and each party walks away unharmed.
Rather than evoking a laugh, bullying evokes fear through teasing and control. It’s a one-sided intent to torment another person by any means possible.
Depending on your child’s age, he or she might not be able to fully grasp why a bully bullies. A bully might be treated the same way at home or simply needs to put others down to feel big and powerful.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings
Some children aren’t in tune with their emotions enough to recognize when they’re being bullied. They may simply feel weak or sad because they’re being pushed around. Some children even feel they deserve it because they are different and don’t fit in.
Other children may not want to tell an adult about the bullying because they don’t want the adult to be reactive to the situation. After all, nothing brings out the mama and papa bear in a parent like someone hurting their kids.
It’s important to listen to your children as they tell you about their daily experiences. While they may not be able to perfectly articulate what they’re feeling, they will feel valued and know you take them seriously when you genuinely hear them out.
Encourage Emotional Intelligence
Training your children how to recognize, correctly identify, and respond to their own emotions may seem like a tall order. It’s necessary when dealing with bullies, though.
Teach your kids how to recognize a bully and also when they’re being bullied. They may have been avoiding a bully unknowingly and you actually recognized the change in their behavior before they did. Maybe your child was anxious or seemed unsettled. When you finally got to the bottom of it, you discovered a bully was the culprit.
When your child is presented with a situation in which he or she has to deal with bullies face to face, self-control on their part will be needed to overcome the bullying predicament.
In other words, bullies feed off of the victim’s emotions. It may be fear, anger, sadness, or frustration. When your child learns to control his emotions he or she, in turn, refuses to “feed the beast.”
Offer A Few Strategies to Deal with Bullies
One of the most important parts in teaching your child how to deal with bullies is the bully management strategy.
While your children can’t change other people, they can influence their behavior–bullies included.
Offer some wisdom to your children. Teach them to avoid situations or places that encourage bullying. For instance, traveling down bully populated hallways when there is another route to take or going into an unsupervised room alone. Encourage the buddy system and teach your children that it’s okay to ignore another person when that person is behaving like a bully.
This is not running away, it’s employing wisdom in difficult situations. When your child fails to give a bully the chance to act out then that bully will most likely lose interest. In the end, your child’s courage to employ wisdom wins out.
Encourage Positive Socializing
Lastly, with all of the threatening and possibly negative social interactions your child faces, it’s important to foster positive socializing in his or her life.
Encourage your child not to withdraw from clubs or hobbies, but rather make good friends in extracurricular activities.
Not every social interaction will be plagued with bullies and children need to understand this. When bullying does show its ugly head, your child will possess the wherewithal to deal with it. Until then, encourage your kids to pursue hobbies and enjoy the positive, supportive people in their life.