Bully-Proofing your Child
Bully-proofing your child has nothing to do with the bullies. Nothing.
It’s all about YOUR child.
It’s about raising a resilient child.
How does one do that in a society riddled with political correctness? In this climate of your words hurt my feelings. “That’s rude.” “You’re mean.” “How ignorant.” “So uncompassionate.” “That’s hateful!”
We are living in a world of “sticks and stones hurt my feelings and that’s awful so I’m telling!” And it’s creating emotional marshmallows out of our children.
Everything affects them. And as time passes and they hold this comment, that comment, this incident, that incident, this moment or that moment when they were left out, slighted, teased, taunted, they all add up.
And the burden becomes unbearable. So they look for ways to help them cope. And then they often turn to unhealthy things to lighten that load. Alcohol, drugs, pills, sex, relationships, shopping, gambling, even Netflix, video games, work addiction, etc. You name it, and if it alters your mood, it can be used to your detriment.
And then we often look back and ultimately blame the bullies for our child’s miserable life choices. “If only that little kid, whoseybobby hadn’t been in our class” or “If we hadn’t moved right when they switched teachers there would have been better supervision and none of this would have happened.” Or “If only we hadn’t divorced.”
So, as a parent, it is your job to get educated. Get inspired. Get empowered.
And then you take action.
So your child can feel empowered too.
Here’s how . . .
3 easy steps. Yep, you read that right, just 3 EASY steps.
You’d be surprised how many people are committed to having this process be difficult, painful and very involved!
Their pain from being bullied themselves throughout their lifetime or their pain from watching their children be bullied is not easy. Not by a long shot. It’s very difficult, so they naturally think the solution must be just as difficult.
It can be jarring to hear that it can be stopped quickly and easily. It means one has to change . . . look at one’s own victim mentality. The narrative you have been carrying around your whole lifetime.
And that takes courage. The stuff heroes are made of. Many of us won’t do it for ourselves, we are usually so inured to the pain our stories create in our own lives because it’s always been that way, that we almost don’t question it anymore.
“Oh, that’s just how people are… you wouldn’t believe how anti-Semitic, or anti-gay, or anti-trans, or anti-black, or anti-Asian, or anti-immigrant, or anti-Muslim, or anti-Christian, etc., people can be!”
But once it affects our children, we usually stop and take stock. But we usually take stock with the same consciousness that discovered the problem. And as Albert Einstein so wisely stated, “You can not solve a problem from the same consciousness that discovered the problem.”
You have to get new information. New ideas. New perspective. New tools.
And here are the tools.
1. Teach your children to stay calm.
Make it like a game for them. Start with something small. Like a comment such as “you’re stupid” or “you’re a meany” or “I don’t want to play with you”.
Tell them the minute you get angry or sad. You’ve lost the game.
2. Agree with the person or ask them if they believe it.
“You’re right! I can be so stupid sometimes.” or “You can think I’m a meany if you want to.” “Sometimes it’s difficult to play with other people and taking a break can be good.”
3. Use humor.
Child A: “You’re stupid.”
Child B: “I can be such a ding-dong sometimes!” or “You have no idea! This is even a good day for me!”
Child A: “You’re a meany!”
Child B: “If you think this is a meany, you should see my mom before she’s had her coffee in the morning. This is nothing compared to her!”
Child A: “I don’t want to play with you!”
Child B: “I understand. Maybe we can play later on.”
Let’s take it a little more seriously now.
What if a child says he’s getting made fun of for his sexual orientation?
What do you do then?
The exact same rules apply. Exactly.
Child A: “You’re such a fag/fairy/homo/tranny!”
Child B: “Oh my goodness, you could be totally right!”
Child A: “I know I’m right! Look at those fag pants/shoes/hair, etc.!”
Child B: “You got me! You are totally clever. You figured it out! I told my mom that these did not go with my whole look, but she bought them anyway!”
Child A: Yelling to all those around, “Hey, everybody, so-and- so is admitting he’s a fag/fairy/homo/tranny!”
Child B: In same loud voice, “Yep, yours truly! Probably no big surprise to most anyway!”
Child B: “See ya around! I have to get to my next class now!” Or I have to run off and meet a friend!” Or “I have to go get a drink of water.”
However, this is usually how it goes. Because we didn’t know any better.
Child A: “You’re such a fag/fairy/homo/tranny!”
Child B: Ignores Child A.
Child A: Repeats the same thing louder or adds something else to boot. “You’re such a fag/fairy/homo/tranny . . . and you’re deaf!”
Child B: In a stern voice, “Please do not talk to me like that. It is rude.”
Child A: Mimics Child B in sing-songy voice “Please do not talk to me like that. It is rude.” Then adds, “What are you going to do about it, you little tranny?!?!”
Child B: Mad and indignant answers, “I’m going to tell the teacher. Report you to the principal. My parents are going to report this as a hate crime!”
And this becomes the child’s life.
And we parents can help stop it.
Having a joyful, engaging, life where our child flourishes is all we wanted for that little bundle of potential and light when they placed him or her in our arms immediately after birth. Learning how to help our children achieve it is our job. Shine the way!