Anti-Bullying: 4 Positive Steps You Can Take
I will never forget my first thought when I held our eldest son Bass for the first time: “God, I hope he never gets bullied.” It was my first fear and thought above anything else. The protective motherly instinct kicked in big time and the idea that someone or a group of children could be nasty to him filled me with absolute dread and fear. I remember retelling this story to my Mum, who quite rightly said: “I hope he never is the bully!”
I think I will worry about Bass and bullying the most out of all our children because I fear his personality is one that a bully could quite happily target. He can be a bit socially awkward, lacks self-belief, has low self-esteem and low confidence at times and sometimes quite simply can't take a joke. So how can we help a child who is either being bullied or susceptible to being bullied? Here are 5 steps you can take:
Explain the importance of being able to walk away
Often the most effective way of defusing a situation with someone is to simply walk away. Ignore everything and simply and calmly walk away. This process doesn’t allow the bully to get the reaction they are so desperately craving.
Be assertive and confident
Bass came home the other day upset that some of the boys had taken the micky out of his black carrier bag he was carrying his rugby boots in saying he looked like a rubbish bin man. In this instance the boys were trying to be funning and having a laugh but it’s not in Bass’s nature to banter back so he just swallowed the comments and laughter at him and came home a bit upset. So I said to him that night, “In those situations Bass think, what would Harry do?” Harry our second eldest is assertive and confident, it is in his nature and if this had happened to him, he would have said very strongly and firmly and probably with a smile on his face: “No I’m not!” A perceived confident child is far less likely to be bullied than one that isn’t. Encourage your child to use positive body language. Try to get your child to practice strong and assertive body language, making good eye contact to help them appear more confident and ultimately undermine the bully’s sense of power.
Talk, Talk, Talk!
We need to keep reminding our children that talking to someone is the right thing to do when being bullied. Remind your children that it won’t make the situation worse. A problem shared is a problem halved. It is good to talk. Talking helps.
Praise the positives to raise their self-esteem
This is so important! When a child is getting bullied their mental health suffers: low confidence, low self-esteem and low self-belief so it is key that we make an effort to praise them and to celebrate any occasions where they stand up for themselves or someone else. This will help to build their confidence and feel more positive. (You can find more ways to do this in my recent blog here). You can also have a look at my Mental Health boxes - saying a positive affirmation daily, out loud, can really really help.
If you want some further information on bullying and how to deal with it, then Young Minds have got a really comprehensive guide on their website here.
Lastly...read these positive affirmations with your child daily!
I am loved
I am special
I can be brave
I am going to smile today
I am much stronger than I think
It will be OK