Unfortunately the world can be a cruel place for our little ones and we might not always be there to step in and protect them. Most parents and adults are ignorant of the amount of teasing and bullying that takes place in schools and other social circles. And your child may not want to come to you with these issues due to feelings of shame and embarrassment. Although you can’t be there to defend them 24/7 and you need to let your children handle issues on their own, this doesn’t mean that you abandon these issues all together. There are some ways in which you can prepare your child to stand up for themselves or teach them how to cope with the teasing before it gets into their heads. Here are a few tips to help your child win against teasing and bullying.
1. Tell Them It’s Okay To Ask For Help
Sometimes it’s hard to stand up for yourself as an adult. Can you imagine what it’s like for a little kid? It may be scary and intimidating. That’s why it’s important to tell your kids that it is more than okay to ask an adult for help if they are unable to deal with the situation alone. Encourage them to talk to a school teacher or counselor. If they want to seek out help by seeing a therapist, support your child’s decision.
2. Listen To Your Child
Talking to your child about what they are going through in school is important. But listening to your child is the best thing you can do for them. Make your child feel heard and understood. Just knowing that you’re there to help and support them can be a big relief for your child. Try not to react with strong emotions because your child might stop talking to you in fear that you’ll get upset in the future. Keep in mind to never try to find a reason in your child’s behavior to explain why they are being teased. It is not their fault that they are being bullied. And convincing them that they should accept blame for something they didn’t cause will only make them more anxious and reclusive.
3. Name What Is Happening To Them
Regardless of if it’s teasing or bullying, it is important to use those words while you are talking to your child about what is happening to them. Most parents avoid doing this as they think it is harmful for the child but it can have the opposite effect. These words are very negative, and it can be empowering for kids to be able to attach them to a certain behavior, like when someone’s calling them names. So next time, just call it what it is.
4. Practice Visualization For Protection
Visualization can be a very effective technique that teaches your kids how to handle teasing and bullying, especially if it is verbal. For example, you can ask your little one to imagine that they are a strong superhero with a shield that protects them from hurtful words and thoughts. Or they could pretend that the words are literally bouncing off of them due to this protective shield every time the teaser says something bad about them. This will help them understand that what other people say about them doesn’t need to be given any importance and doesn’t need to affect them. Words only hold the power we give them. If your little one learns how to take away that power, they won’t get hurt.
5. Teach Them How To Agree With Facts
If the teasing is based on something that is true, like your child having freckles or a pointy nose, you can teach your kid to simply agree with the teaser and carry on with their day. No one can make you feel embarrassed about something unless you let them. Teach your kids to love themselves the way they are. There’s nothing wrong with wearing glasses or having freckles. Make sure your child understands that their physical attributes are nothing to be ashamed of. If it is something that makes them feel insecure about themselves, then you can both address it together. As soon as your child doesn’t seem affected by what the bullies are saying, they’ve won.
Childhood isn’t all fun and games. Children can be mean to one another and this is a normal part of growing up. However, it is important to prepare your kids to encounter all kinds of people. With these tips in hand you and your child will be more equipped to win against the bullies. Happy parenting!