Teaching your child how to deal with bullies

Today was a bad day for Ethan. A fellow student insulted him and told him that he’s ugly.  What I’ve heard from my son this afternoon was worth pondering.

E: I’m sorry I stayed so long in the canteen because a boy from another class made face to me and called me ugly.

M: Did he hurt you?

E: No.

E: Come on mommy, let’s go to the canteen. Talk to him.

M: Don’t bother; it’s just a waste of time. You are not ugly.

I’m sorry baby this is happening to you. You’re seven years old now and this happens any time to anyone. You will meet unpleasant people, but you have to stand and defend yourself. Mommy won’t talk to him because he might think that you are not brave and you’re a mama’s boy. But when you see him and he say those words again, you have to tell the teacher right away.

E: I even showed my monitor badge but he still keeps on doing it to me. Maybe I will tell a prefect (fellow student monitor but from a higher year)

M: or just tell him, that what he said was bad and he can get into trouble if he do it again. And if he won’t stop, you have to tell the teacher.

Suddenly everything was quiet. I saw Ethan’s face, he was thinking hard.

M: Ethan, we are not bad people, the way he said those words to you, we are not like that. But we can stop him by not using bad words. Don’t fight fire with fire. Fight fire with ______?

E: Electricity! Because electricity cannot be defeated by fire!

 

My little fire fighter. I love your sense of humor. You made our lows go away.

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A good motivational campaign slogan from Yumin Primary School

Here’s a good motivational campaign slogan from Ethan’s school

I just hope I get my point across to my eldest son, but when I heard him say fight fire with electricity? It made me contemplate a little more.

What is bullying?

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuseintimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying)”

Bullying culture can develop anywhere. Family, school, workplace even in churches, there are bullies too. I don’t want my child to become a bully nor being bullied at. And so I made a guideline which I have learned from the experts on how to deal with bullies.

1.      Bullying is about power; don’t make them underestimate you or your child. –  My child is correct about fighting fire with electricity. If he just stayed quiet and walked away, the more likely this will happen. He is a boy and he is seven years old now. He should learn how to defend himself. The schoolmate will think that he is superior over my child and this can lead to a habit. (Ethan is scared too, but when he told me that he showed his monitor badge to his schoolmate, I was a little relieved knowing that he’s taking an action to defend himself) But please note: Do not advise your child to get physical with another child. This will worsen the situation.

Here’s an excerpt from http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/1012/Bullying-The-advice-you-got-is-wrong.-Here-s-what-really-works

which I find very helpful.

““Just be nice” doesn’t work
The advice to “just be nice” needs revisiting. Being kind is important, but what’s crucial is setting boundaries. Doing so, without being mean, helps make a child “bullyproof.”
For example, when a child is the target of a cruel remark, a brief response such as “Why would you say that?” takes the focus off the insult and places it back in the aggressor’s lap, without bullying back. Saying something as simple as “Really?” or “Seriously?” can have the same effect. A bored-sounding “whatever,” a confused “what?,” or humor is often enough to derail an aggressive interaction.”

2.      Act as if you’re not affected – If you think that your child can not handle wordwar or psywar, just tell them to walk away with confidence. This will make the bully feel defeated. Tell your child that bullies like them are not worthy of your child’s time. Go someplace else and talk to a friend. 

3.      Always-always report what happened- The safety of your child is being compromised, and there’s no better way of dealing with the situation than reporting it to the authorities. I told Ethan if the boy won’t stop telling him bad things, report the boy to the teacher for an immediate action.

I am very transparent about my feelings for my children, but for this instance, I have to show them my toughie side. If they see you not dwelling in the situation too much, they will also forget about what happened and they will think that it’s a waste of time. After hearing from them and giving them a piece of advice, don’t ask anymore, give them sometime and they will soon get over it. But tell them that if this happens again, let you know right away.

If you find this article helpful, please feel free to comment, like or share.

 

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