I’m a mum of two boys 5 and 8 years old, my 8 year old has started getting picked on by another boy in his class we have spoken to his teacher but the bullying often goes unseen. What can I do?
Answering these types of questions is always difficult because not everyone’s behaviour management style is the same and with such a sensitive topic I can’t promise my answer will suit everyone, but more often than not in our PC world, no one likes to answer these types of questions so you’re left with no where to go, and an upset child with an unresolved issue.
For starters i’d always reflect firstly on your childs behaviour, you can’t control that of the other child but you can develop the behaviour of your own child. Consider whats going on for them at that particular time and how you can help with anything that may contribute to them being extra sensitive than usual.
A classroom has 30 different families who’s children will be all communicating differently and when chucked in a class it’s just a big over crowed fish tank of fun. I have 5 steps I recommend for supporting your child through bullying but first a few personal thoughts on bullying.
We human animals have been historically wired to survive in a fight of the fittest world just like a lion in the jungle. The need to out think, outperform or over power another animals, is vital for survival. When you look at the behaviour of bullying there are a lot of similarities and although unpleasant in my opinion is very natural. However since our children aren’t lions these behaviours need to be managed but not stopped. WHY? Might you ask, well as parents we want our children to excel. We want our children to out think competition to get them into better sports teams and hopefully later the better jobs. Perform well, to have choices we didn’t have and of course have the ability to be strong and over power anything that might be bad in the world to keep them safe.
Are these things normal? I think so but still this doesn’t mean bullying is acceptable it’s more about how these behaviors that lead to bullying are managed. so here are my 5 tips
So how do we manage these? Here are 5 tips!
1 – Support
Your child needs to know they are supported so when your wee cub is in the fields they know that should they need their pack they will be there to support them. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and the situation, tell them your there to talk them through it. Talk to your child regularly about what went well, what didn’t go well and what they might improve on next time. Praise your child for identifying things that didn’t work so well because that’s all part in studying the competition and improving your game. It will also take the pressure off having to succeed every time.
Cubs wouldn’t be sent into the jungle without some training so neither should our wee cubs. Our children need to feel they have the right and the strength to defend themselves and I’m not talking weapons, rather strategies. Talk about the situations when they get bullied and come up with some pre prepared solutions of how they choose to manage or leave the situation. They always have a choice.
If they choose to manage then how we teach our daughter is acknowledge, warn, take action. The child should acknowledge to the bully what is happening and that they want to stop in a calm manner, should it continue then they might warn their bully and set their boundaries and repeat what they said to them but with a stronger voice, eye contact and strong body language, then should they need to they might take action. Depending on the situation that might be involving an adult.
3 – Practice
Before implementing these strategies you may want to practice them with your child and run through some possible outcomes so that when they are in the situation they have some options up their sleeve.
4 – Image
Like animals appearance is important, in the wild some animals might puff themselves up make themselves feel bigger or even camouflage themselves. Either way its an appearance they feel confident with to deal with the situation at hand.
Children unlike animals shouldn’t need to fight but confidence is key. Discuss with your child how their clothes make them feel, do they feel clean and smell nice. If they believe in themselves, others will see it. Theres nothing scarier than confidence.
5 – Practice makes perfect
So once you have your first success and this may be after weeks or even months of teaching the bully your childs boundaries, once this is set don’t tell your child well done that’s over. You should prepare them for the next time because this is part of life and it doesn’t need to be a negative thing because now your child knows the steps you will now have a confident, resourceful and powerful little cub who is safe to be let out into the wild alone now because they have experience. You never know they might just befriend their bully #ahakunamatata