Updated: Jan 9
- A response to questions from Quora.com 2020
The thought of your child getting bullied stirs up an array of emotions for any parent: anger, fear, anxiety, an overwhelming need to protect.
However, the first step in helping your child is get control of your emotions, and to recognize that at some point throughout the entirety of your child’s life they will come in contact with a bully; you have no control over this.
In fact, focus on the silver lining. What will your child gain by coming in contact with a bully?
Take a look at Elon Musk’s biography , he explains that he was tremendously bullied at school. Although he suffered and faced many difficulties, his biggest success was that he did not victimize himself and learned his true strengths. Elon attributes his very successful life to the adversities he faced in childhood, and even made a statement that he fears his son’s don’t face enough adversity; this is even after the relentless bullying he suffered in childhood.
So what’s the point? We should be thankful for the bullies of the world? No, we should recognize they exist and we need to prepare our children for them.
Explain to your child what a bully is and why they bully: such as taking advantage of others, name calling, doing hurtful things, causing harm, etc.
This may sound strange, but many times children are bullied by the very friends they have made, so they need to know what to look for. You could even tell your child to watch how a person treats others before deciding to be that person’s friend.
Also, if you find your child making friends with bullies, then find opportunities in the community (go to parks, community activities, clubs, sport, etc.) where your child can engage with new friends; thus, losing the need to maintain friendships with the bullies they have in their life.
Teach your child that they are not responsible for the bully. That they are only responsible for themselves, and they can be nice to the bully, but they do not have to be friends or associate with the bully.
You don’t want your child to be at fault; a bully, bullying the bully in an endless circle of madness.
Give encouragement. Let them know it is OK to speak up; maybe even provide examples to your child of a time you had to speak up against a bully, and give a positive outcome.
Teach them how to say no and who to go to for help.
Let your child know that they do not have to like everyone, and not everyone has to like them. The only thing that matters is that at the end of the day your child learns to like themselves.
Self satisfaction is the key to success. Your child needs to learn that they do not need the world’s approval because they will never achieve it; not even our world leaders are liked by everyone. Instead, they need to learn to focus on their strengths and that they do have a community of people who approve of them and love them.`
Explain to your child that some bullies use more than just words to cause harm. Help your child know when they may be entering into a situation where a bully may want to physically hurt them.
Show your child how to get away; find an exit.
Tell your child to yell for help if needed.
If there is no help or exit, then as a last resort help your child learn how to defend themselves; sometimes the last thing a bully is expecting is another child who knows how to defend themselves. Find classes that can help your child not only learn self defense, but can also help your child build confidence and build new friendships.
To help your child not come in contact and potentially be bullied is not a realistic goal as bullies are everywhere. But, the key is active parenting; as a parent, our role can reduce bullying incidents and help our children learn to be successful despite bullies.
All information provided is of personal and professional experience, and may not represent all individual circumstances; therefore, it is recommended to compare other information from multiple professional sources to formulate your own opinion regarding the subject matter.