“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.” ― Donna Schoenrock
My oldest child remains true to himself moreso than most adults I know. Unfortunately, that has, at times, made him a prime target for bullying. Bullies are nothing more than those poor souls who are either too afraid to let their own light shine, or whose adult and societal influences have caused them to forcefully hide who they truly are.
Hurt people hurt people. That’s just how it goes. Explaining that to your children goes A LONG WAY in helping them to understand and then – most importantly – IGNORE bullies.
Explain the chain reaction.
It’s easy to see with siblings. I’m an only child, but I can truly see this happening with my kids. I tell my oldest he needs to get something done.He’s not too happy with what I’ve told him, so at the next opportunity, he tells my younger son – the next oldest – something HE needs to do. Well that doesn’t go over any better, so he tells my youngest to go pick up some toys she left around. Next thing I know, Miss Diva is yelling at the cat to get down off some perch.
It’s a domino effect, and the same thing happens with hurt people, unless they recognize that they own their own feelings – and can choose how to feel (which is nearly impossible for most children and teens).
Tell them their options.
Is it always an option for your child to react to the bully? Of course. Truth be told, it’s hard not to at first, especially given all of the anti-bullying legislation and so-called rules running amok. Don’t get me wrong – something needs to be done to change how children treat one another. I highly disagree with the focus being actually RIGHT ON bullying, though. The focus should be on treating each other well – a kindness initiative. It’s clear that ignoring and shunning behaviors is what works best to eradicate them. When we place so much FOCUS on trying to stop behaviors, that’s exactly when they escalate.
Your children have the option, though. School administrations will do what they do – and we all know some administrators who handle both the bullied and the bully in the best way possible. We also know administrators who handle those situations in such a way that only increase the problems. Your children are outside of that, though. They are still autonomous, and they still have EVERY RIGHT and also THE POWER to ignore the bullies. If that takes them leaving the classroom, so be it. Just know that you as the parent will have to step up and stand your ground to the administration if your child is disciplined in some way for leaving a classroom.
I tell my children to ignore if at all possible, then leave the room and go directly to the main office and let the administration know why they left the room. Engaging with the bully – asking them to stop, telling them to stop, yelling back – only encourages the bully because any kind of reaction is what they are after.
Help them feel and show compassion.
The single greatest thing I ever did when helping my oldest child deal with bullies was to explain that kids bully when they are hurting. That no matter how their lives may appear to us, something is CLEARLY going on within their homes or another part of their lives that is causing them to take it out on others. I explained that it doesn’t in any way make it RIGHT, but that what they need is love – not more hurt.
Now I’m sure as hell not going to tell my children to go give the bully a hug. But a hug isn’t necessary – just sending loving, compassionate, healing vibes will help. Those help both the bully and the bullied. Forgiveness and understanding go a long way…and quite frankly, when the bully isn’t getting a rise out of your kid, chances are, he/she’ll leave your kid alone.
By no means is this the complete package to end classroom bullying. But it’s a start. Perhaps, too, some adults will begin to see the ways in which they bully others or are being bullied and will take heart and better action.
Love one another. That’s why we’re here – that’s what we are.
Love and light,
What other constructive, positive ways have you found to help your kids deal with bullies? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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