Tips for Bully Proofing Your Child
Bullying is not a new endeavor taking place in schools across the world. In fact, there have always been bullies and even adults are forced to deal with other adults who could be considered bullies. Today we will briefly cover tips for bully proofing your child.
The truth is that the best thing a parent can do is learn how to bully-proof their child. Starting when your child is a toddler, instilling a sense of self-confidence as well as coping and social skills can be all it takes to ensure that your child is not a target.
You may feel like you want to wait until the time comes to reveal the unnerving characteristics of school and friendships. However, then it may be too late.
One of the first things you should do is empower your child with words. Bullies rarely pick on a kid (at least not more than once) who asserts himself or herself.
Your toddler doesn’t have to ‘fightback’ with pushes or shoves but should be able to recognize when they are being mistreated or disrespected. This starts at home.
By listening to your child when they act out and trying to get them to describe their feelings- and most importantly…having compassion for their feelings, you can help your child not become a target to bullies.
Sure, stomping their feet or yelling at you or a sibling isn’t the ‘right’ way to handle things. But instead of pushing manners – show your child how they can assert what they feel and remain within the rules of society.
Additionally, you should role-play with your toddler. Set up scenarios that might occur on the playground or during preschool so they know how to react. In role-playing, you can be the bully and encourage your child to use their voice and body to restrict their chances of being a target.
Tell your child they should be firm (and show them how firm sounds and looks), and that they should use the way they feel as a guide to whether or not they are being mistreated.
As time goes on, this role-playing makes them comfortable talking to peers who may be taking advantage of your child.
Self-confidence is also critical. Many studies have revealed that kids with low self-esteem and who are more likely to be passive when confronted are normally targeted by bullies. Ensure that your child knows they have avenues to help them.
You as well as other teachers and adults are instrumental in helping kids feel that they have an army behind them. Show them how to tell, without being a tattletale.
And perhaps most importantly, listen to your children when they talk about injustices they have felt at the hands of classmates or friends. Don’t just blow them off or teach the ‘hit only if you are hit first theory.’
When you see your child being treated meanly by another, it is heartbreaking for a parent. Your first response to protect often causes parents to give the wrong advice.
You can allow your child to rise above the behaviors of a bully by offering them an opportunity to be compassionate toward the bully. They may not want to be their friend per say, but helping them understand why some children act the way they do can make your child feel like less of a victim.
Who knows, it may even be a blessing for the bully. The point is that your child doesn’t have to become a victim. With your help, understanding, and leadership you can bully-proof your child before bullying even becomes an issue. The earlier on in life a child learns these skills, the better off they will be.