As we discussed last time, teaching your child how to deal with a bully is part of your job as a parent. Here are a few more pointers to keep in mind that might help now that school has begun and the bullies might have started to identify their targets.
Bullies tend to pick on kids who are alone and who are definitely nowhere near the grownups! Teach your child to sit up front near the driver when on the school bus. Stay toward the front of the line in the lunchroom. Use the buddy system to go to the bathroom. And so on.
Bullies find victims based in part upon how they carry themselves. For example: they target people who don’t look confident because they think those people will allow themselves to be bullied. In our classes, we train kids to walk with their shoulders up and eyes up. We teach them to speak with confidence. Body language is key.
All of these tools will help avoid the bully who is seeking out an easy target!
PARENTS – reinforce the fact that there is no shame in being picked on. It is OK to be scared. Remind your child that if he/she is being bullied that it is OK to tell an adult! Go to the teacher after walking away from the bully. The sooner your child does that, the safer he or she will be.
In that same vein – remind your child that you are there for him/her! They are NOT alone in this, and you will intervene on their behalf. It is up to you to help protect them, whether that means calling the school or calling the parent of the bully.
Play a role play game with your child. Let him/her practice what he/she will do if approached by a bully. Remind your child that bullies feed off fear and emotion, so the stronger your child is, the more eye contact he/she can make with the bully, and the calmer he/she can remain the better! Practice counting to ten and walking away.
Walk over to the victim, tell him/her you were just looking for him/her or that a teacher is looking for him/her. Try to get the victim out of reach of the bully. And if all else fails, it’s ok to yell for help. Bullies don’t like the attention.
Here at Trautwein’s ATA we are committed to your child’s well-being. Safety comes from empowerment, and strength isn’t always the physical kind. The more you can work with your child to foster his/her inner strength and self-esteem, the better the chances are that your child will neither be bullied nor be the bully. Next time: How Physical Fitness is Essential for your Student. Stay tuned!
Special thanks: Aha Parenting!