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Sunday, November 13, 2011

mother*wonder Monday {seven} - Bully-proofing your child


Thankfully we have not yet encountered true bullying, 
unless you count the stuff that goes on between my little guys on a daily basis.
Thing is there is no intention behind what they do.

Before beginning I just want to say I know I am only
scratching the surface of this topic.  I know it is 
discussed much more than when I was a child.
I wonder about the best way to bully-proof my children.
I am sure all involved parents do as I think we have 
learned over time that really no one is immune from it.  

I don't believe I ever experienced it myself.
People weren't always super with me, but one girl
had it in for me for some crazy reason I cannot remember and
asked me to meet her in a bathroom at our highschool.  
She implied she wanted to beat me up.  
I showed up, scared, but I showed up.   
She didn't, and I never heard about it again.
I realize though, that's how easy it happens.  
Someone doesn't like who you are, what you wear, how you talk, 
what you say, and the seed is planted.  
Somehow you have grown a giant on your back.  

Recently Ethan and I talked about bullying because 
his school had an assembly about it. 
I wish we would have known there was going to 
be that discussion because I would have talked to him first {ugh}.

In any case, bullying takes its toll and I truly believe it
can make you feel like you are nothing.  
As a parent, I can imagine this is how I would exactly feel...
Thing is our children think our opinions do not matter
because we HAVE to feel that way.  I know, I was not a 
teenager, that long ago.  

I do not necessarily think it is simply a child is bullied because 
they have low self esteem.
Especially when it happens to the young and naive, 
I think they can really have a hard time
wrapping their heads around 
why someone would want to do it.

I imagine if it happened to them, that is
what they would be thinking, what? why?

I know this is how Ethan responded,
hence the wish I knew about the assembly
 so I could explain first.

I react the same way myself wondering
how parents could allow their child to be a bully?!

The Effects
I think the combination has to be when the target is affected.
Some kids things resonate deeply.
I know I have some of my own.
This is why I worry.  
Bullies prey on kids who are affected.

I take comfort in how well-liked my oldest is,
how he makes friends easily, but I know that all can change
at someone else's hand.  I want to prepare my boys 
so they have the confidence it will take.  

Recently I saw an article about a teacher in New York
who crumpled up a piece of blank paper,
then smoothed it out.  Was it the same as before? No.
Bullying has lasting effects even after an "I'm sorry."
Even after it stops.  

Strategies to Build Confidence and Resilience 
Here are some of the common themes throughout
the bit of research I have done.

Parent positively, not overly-critical.
Work with your children on coping with their emotions.
Allow your children to be challenged some, to see how they
can do something they initially thought they could not.
Help your children understand that no one can make them
feel inferior without their consent.
{thank you Eleanor Roosevelt}
Give your children the knowledge that who they are 
does not come from what other people think of them
nor are they responsible for how someone else feels about them.
{unless they are being a bully of course}
Build confidence, discipline, and character through martial arts.  

Be aware of how you talk in your home and how you 
react to others, do you stand up for yourself?  How?
How far can sibling fights go?
Do you give your children the view that the world
is just picking on you?

I also recommend this book.  It's for children who tend to be
super bright and more in tune with their emotions.   To help them 
learn coping strategies because while you cannot change the intensity of 
what they feel, you can change how they let it affect them.  

Helpful Resources
Stress Free Kids: Bully-Proof Your Child
Wondertime: How to Bully-Proof Your Child
HealthyChildren: Building Resilience in Children
Paul Coughlin: Raising Bully-Proof Kids
Gracie Bully-Proof Program

I would love to hear your thoughts.
Are you concerned about your children and bullying?


1 comment:

  1. I love the words of wisdom in this post. Having a teenager in jr. high right now brings me back and reminds me of how hurtful kids words can be. Just this morning we experienced that. I was going to have a conversation with my kiddo this afternoon. This helps give me a few good directions to take.

    thanks, Rachel


I so appreciate your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing. I always try to reply whether it be to your email or on one of your blog posts! Wishing you a wonder*filled day! Michelle

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