Telling kids to stand up for themselves or have confidence isn’t enough! Kids want to learn HOW to get bullying to stop. If they can learn HOW and actually get a bully to stop – their confidence in themselves will follow! Kids need practical advice, not platitudes!
We all know that it is our job to help our kids learn the skills they need to be successful in life. Unfortunately, when it comes to bullying, as well intentioned as we are as parents, we often fail to help our child cope with the most basic of skills, how to handle bullies.
It isn’t our fault, we were most likely never taught these skills either. As a result, we do our best, fail and give up, and encourage our child as best as we can to not take it too personally as they continue to suffer.
Some parents swing the other end of the spectrum by being overly protective. If they can just prevent their child from encountering bullies, then their child won’t be bullied. Right? Wrong. It turns out that poor parenting, including over protective parenting, increases the risk of bullying. (See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425214005.htm)
Why does over protective parenting increase the risk of bullying? Because over protective parents prevent their kids from learning important social skills. Since the parent is always there to solve the problem, the child never learns to assert themselves or resolve conflicts with others.
By providing clear rules about behavior while being supportive and emotionally warm you are most likely to prevent victimization. According to the study – “These parents allow children to have some conflicts with peers to learn how to solve them rather than intervene at the smallest argument.”
What our children want and need and want is concrete help to get the bullying to stop. They want you to teach them what to do and what to say so that they can fix the situation.
Telling them to figure it out on their own isn’t helpful. Fixing the problem for them is also unhelpful. Giving them a platitude like “ignore them and they will go away” without actual instruction on how exactly to ignore someone who is in their face stealing their stuff isn’t’ helpful.
What your child wants to know is how to get the bully to stop. In the absence of that help they are made to feel helpless and hopeless. So do what you need to do as the parent to learn the skills you need to teach your child so you can give them real help that actually works. The sort of education that they need to become confident in their ability to handle anything life throws at them.
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