Blog 4 of 4 Bullying-Self Protection Strategy
Bullying is a sensitive subject as it's something we have all been touched by on some level. Sometimes it feels like we have tried everything and as parents we instinctively want to protect our children from the trauma bullying causes. Schools are always looking at ways to stop bullying while parents just want to make sure it doesn't happen to their child. One thing I will say it's an important life lesson and one which will come in handy in later life because guess what? adults bully just as much and some of them get good at it with years of practise, making peoples life a misery. We have a tough but great opportunity to show the red flags so your little one doesn't become part of an abusive relationship or they can recognise abuse and how to escape that toxic relationship.
The big question is can we stop bullying? I don't have the answer on a larger scale (yet) although I do believe we can stop bullying on a personal level if we are willing to take the right actions in our daily life as parents and mentors.The starts with our own behaviour as kids mimic what they see. If you are constantly engaged in conflict and arguments with those around you then how can you expect your child to behave any different. We all have arguments from time to time but it's important children are protected from these situations
First and foremost kids and adults need to understand what bullying is.
Secondly adults and kids need to know how to deal with bullying.
Now I bet you want me to say the best way to deal with bullying is to show your kid how to go in there and punch that bully in the face being the big bad cage fighter that I am. Well no we need to understand what is actually happening by assessing the situation. First of all we need to understand if the child is actually being bullied or if they just feel this way. Psychologically if your little one is upset or down they will feel like the world is out to get them so mild teasing becomes much larger than the norm. That being said this can happen when teasing happens on top of bullying.That's why I say we need to asses the situation because every situation is unique. We also need to asses life at home.
The difficult realisation we need to come to is we need to teach our child how to deal with these situations. Role playing is a great way to help kids understand how to deal with these situations. I like to see it as sparring as you are preparing them for the real thing metaphorically speaking. Show them how they react to teasing and how it can influence the direction of the teasing as well as how they feel about it. For example.
Kid 1"You look funny"
Kid 2 "No I don't"
Kid 1 "haha yes you do look at you, you are funny looking"
Kid 2 "No I'm not stop saying that. I'm normal like everyone else"
Kid 1 "You're not acting normal you are acting like a weirdo now"
Ok so let look at kid 1's motive. He/She wants a reaction and a defensive one because he/she gets satisfaction from seeing the other kid get agitated and stressed plus they also feel empowered because they have just forced kid2 to act in a way which is less beneficial to kid2. On some level they have controlled them and made them look silly.
Kid 1 "You look funny"
Kid 2 "You're right I do like kinda funny hehe"
Kid 1 "Did you not hear me I said you are funny looking?"
Kid 2 " I know it's kind of funny I get told that a lot"
Kid 1 doesn't know what to say now
Kid 1 doesn't the reaction he/she anticipated and the entertainment factor has now been removed because kid 2 has just agreed defusing the conflict element but kid 1 has also lost all control over kid 2's emotional response. Kid 2 has just been empowered realising offence isn't given but only taken. Conflict isn't always the answer. This is just one method and nothing is fail safe but the main point I'm getting t is make a plan and give them the tools required to defend him/herself mentally
Parents please proceed with caution as when parents get involved with schools the conflict can quickly escalate. Both sets of parents are involved and the school head is now involved kid 1's parents are now against kid 2's parents as kid 1's parents aren't going to accept their child is a bully. Most parents aren't going to see their child as a bully. Not only that but both sets of parents end up locked into conflict with the school and the head teacher prolonging a situation which is now much bigger than the initial problem.
Physical altercations will be a separate Blog. This should be the last course of action. One thing I will say is. If someone is trying to hurt you physically then you are well within your rights to defend yourself physically. I stand firm on this with self defense being the key word not revenge. Only when danger presents itself but we should always strive towards reaching a peaceful resolution before we engage in physical conflict.