Being the victim of bullying feels humiliating, shameful and embarrassing. Not to mention the feeling of powerlessness. There may not be any way to be prevent bullying 100%… we can teach valuable skills to minimize the amount of impact that a bully has, get them to turn away, and empower our children to get out of dangerous situations.
Build a Positive Social Network
A group of friends and adults that support and care serve as a barrier to bullying in many ways, giving your child the courage to overcome the challenges a bully can present. Being connected to others socially is proven to improve happiness also. You definitely want that for your child, right?
So, how can you help your child create their social group?
Starting inside the home with a strong parent/child relationship is essential. Your child needs to know they can trust, count on and confide in you. Without this first piece, you might not ever know there is a bullying issue. Teach your child how to use positive and respectful communication so they have the skills to talk with you about their challenges, as well as their triumphs.
Expand connections with neighbors, relatives, members of organizations your child is a part of, etc. They say it “takes a village”… the bigger the village, the bigger your child’s barrier.
Teach your child relationship and friendship building skills, such as introductions, eye contact, body language, how to start conversations, and joining group activities.
Increase Emotional Intelligence
A child who understands his emotions and knows how to process them is less likely to be caught off guard by the things that a bully says or does. He can deal with the emotions of fear, anger, sadness, frustration and confusion.
Teach your child how to talk about feelings, not just his own, but others’ too. Giving names to the emotions increases his ability to explain and validate the feelings they are experiencing.
Teach your child ways to regulate his feelings, ways to calm himself while he is working through difficult emotions. Being able to figure out how to calm his mind and body, allowing reason and rational thought to return, will go a long way in preventing negative reactions to stressors.
Teach your child how to resolve conflicts and solve problems. Role-playing and giving example situations are excellent ways to practice and help him figure out ways to diffuse the problems. Use the follow-up question: how would this help with a bully? These practices will give him more confidence that he can stand up for himself when an adult isn’t readily available.
Bullies are on the lookout for potential victims that are alone or appear weak. Being assertive means that your child will use his voice to stand up for himself without aggression. Here are a few tips:
Boundaries – Teaching your child what boundaries are, both physical and emotional. Teach him that he has the right to leave a friendship that does not respect their boundaries. It is 100% okay to say “no” if something feels wrong or bad.
Decision Making – Allow your child to make choices for himself. Small practice sessions such as what clothing to wear or what foods to eat will pay off when faced with bigger choices, like peer pressure related to drugs, alcohol or other detrimental behaviors.
Role Play – The more practice your child gets the more confident he will be. Teach him what words to say and practice them until he feels comfortable with his new assertive vocabulary. Use situations where adults are not around, and make sure he understands that “tattling” is not the same as “telling”.
We invite you to take care of yourself and your child, have fun, learn self-defense skills, and so much more! MP-USA offers Martial Arts classes (ages 6 to adult).
Send a text to (801) 609-4412 and set up your appointment via ZOOM or phone!