Bullying has always been a part of growing up. But how a child deals with it and the repercussions of dealing with bullying have changed dramatically.
Incidences of bullying vary in severity. One thing that’s certain is repeated attacks whether verbal, physical, written, or on the internet erode your child’s fragile self-esteem. The CDC linked bullying to isolation, drug use, violence, and suicide! But your child does not have to be a victim. Follow these tips…
Use The Secret Word to Stop Bullying Before it Starts
The assault can be verbal or physical, either way the first line of defense remains the same. It’s one word… Confidence! Here’s why; Bullies choose their victims much like a criminal would choose a victim. They go for the easy and obvious target. So if your child looks like a kid who will get bullied, guess what, they’re going to get bullied. On the other hand if your child radiates self-confidence they are less likely to be a victim, it’s almost that simple!
Body Language is Key
Your child needs to walk with their head up; their shoulders square, and make eye contact with people. Just doing so, even if your child needs work on their self-esteem, will keep bullies away from them. This is easier said than done, but it can be learned. So having them change their body language (what they are saying non-verbally) will have a huge impact. Teaching this can serve as a quick fix. However, going to work on their self-confidence will have a greater long-term affect on keeping bullies away.
Embrace Your Role
Children get their first layer of self-confidence from parents. The love you show your child and the time you spend with them gives them their feelings of self-worth. It has been said that the number one role of parenting is to develop a self-confident individual.
Teach your child how to speak up clearly when they first meet someone. Teach them the importance of making eye-contact when they talk to you. Get them out of their comfort zone and have them explore new things. The more you have them confront fear and discomfort the more confident they will become.
The first few tips are meant to stop bullying before it starts. Now here’s what your child can do if the bully chooses them…
Create A Boundary When Confronted By A Bully
The next layer of defense is to create a boundary. Children can protect themselves with an assertive body posture: Feet apart a little, one foot in front, shoulders square, chin up, eye contact, and most importantly, hands up as if making a “Stop” Gesture! We call this our self-defense stance. Its purpose is to communicate neutrality, awareness and, assertiveness. This stance is designed to get them out of trouble.
Using Words Properly
Finally, your child will have to use their words. Simple phrases and commands said in an assertive voice will tell the bully that they will not be a victim. Simple commands like; “Stop, Back Off, Back Away!” Said in the right tone will stop the bully in his tracks!
Of course if none of the above works (and the truth is nothing works every time) then your child will have to defend themselves. But only if and when their safety is threatened.
Defeating the Cyber-Bully
Text messaging and social network sites open up a whole new avenue for bullies. Sit down with your child and be sure they understand not to give the bullies any ammunition. Make them aware the minute they text someone or send an email those words can be taken out of context or used against them. Absolutely under no circumstances should your child ever send inappropriate photos of themselves or allow anyone else to take photos that go against good judgment.
Cyber-bullying can be stopped with confidence and respect just like physical bullying.
As you can see dealing with a bully has its challenges. There is no one way that works every time. However, when your child develops high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence a bully’s words or actions will role off them like water off a duck’s back.