Bullying is a widespread problem that affects children of all ages and can have life long effects on their mental health, self-esteem, and overall well-being. As a parent, it’s important to take steps to bully-proof your child and give them the tools they need to stand up to bullies and protect their mind, bodies and spirit! Below are a few ideas on how you can help to Bully-proof your child now and into the future:
- First off, you need to build strong confident kids that can withstand the inevitable social attacks they will face throughout their lives. Confident kids are less likely to be bullied because of the way their hold themselves and interact with others. Look for and encourage your kids to try new things, teach them to find solutions to difficult tasks and help them to celebrate their individual achievements! Also, help them to recognize their strengths and find opportunities to expand upon those when ever possible. For instance, if they are outgoing and funny, you might want to explore acting and drama classes. If your child has a great smile, teach them to smile all the time and they will usually find positive situations that come up. exude confidence and are less vulnerable to the attacks of bullies. Encourage your child to try new things, celebrate their achievements, and encourage them when they struggle to persevere.
- Teach them to assert themselves: One way that you can do this is to teach them how to introduce themselves properly to other adults. They should learn to make eye contact, clearly state their name and offer a firm handshake. It’s considered old fashioned, but it’s still the Gold Standard in formal introduction and interviewing. By learning this one skill, you kids can build a life of strong and effective communication with others. This too will help them to stand up to bullies and express their needs and boundaries in a clear and confident manner.
- Encourage them to see things through the eyes of others: By learning empathy, children can learn to think about consequences before making judgemental choices and jumping to negative conclusions. Encourage your kids to serve in places like church or at hospitals and animal shelters where they can learn that “it is better to give, than to receive!” This biblical principle has stood the test of time when it comes to building empathy and the heart of service to others, one’s country and the world!
- Talk with your child’s school about their anti-bullying policies and speak with your kids about it. Then teach them about the 3 T’s where they learn to Talk, Tell or Tackle the bullying. Teach them to first try and talk it out with the bully. Find out why they are being targeted and then offer practiced solutions to discuss with the bully to help prevent further incidents. Then if that doesn’t work, teach them to walk away and inform or tell a teacher or leader about the incident so that they can begin building a support team around them in case the situation continues. Then teach them that their last resort action is to Tackle to situation head on by confronting the bully on their terms. That might mean that they will have to get physical, but sometimes this is the only recourse to surviving life long mental torment. Put your kids into a strong martial arts or self defense course that can help them to find confidence in their ability to handle a physical confrontation.
- Role-play different scenarios: Have scripted and practiced lines that can help your child to deal with a bullying situation without them having to make it up on the spot. By rol playing these situations, they will feel more confident and prepared if they are ever faced with bullying.
- Monitor their social media use and let them know that what they put out into the world, they can never get back once it’s online. Cyberbullying is a huge problem, and it’s important to teach kids how to use their online space safely and responsibly. Encourage them to only connect with people they know and trust, and to report any mean, abusive or threatening behavior to you or a trusted adult.
- Finally, make sure that your child knows where they can go for help. Let them know that it’s okay to ask for help and that you are there to walk with them as they look for solutions to the situation.
Review these tips with your kids and give them the tools they need to stay safe, confident, and happy. Remember, bullying is never okay! But there is always something we can do to make sure that we are creating strong confident kids! Together, we can all create safe spaces and welcoming environments where everyone can thrive and live a life full of joy and happiness!