According to the National Centre Against Bullying, bullying is defined as “when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.” With the advent of social media, bullying has gotten a new platform and seems to have been emboldened. As parents we worry for our kids. How do we protect them? Can we raise a bully-proof child? Here are four ways to help.
1. Raise confident kids
Unfortunately, bullies know who to target. Their targets are often children who are shy and suffer with low self-esteem. Teaching our children high self-worth at an early age and reaffirming this as they grow older nurtures a child’s self-esteem and produces a confident child.
2. Encourage kids to have a voice
Bullies are innate cowards. They will not target a child with a strong voice. Encouraging open dialogue at home and genuinely listening when our kids speak, teaches them that what they say is important and that someone is listening.
3. Teach our kids inclusivity
Being different in schools makes kids stand out. This attracts bullies like a magnet. However, this is only effective if our kids believe there’s something wrong with being different. We can help our kids by celebrating their differences. Help them love their eye color, their different hair and their accents. If they’re physically smaller, teach them that brute strength isn’t most important, and help them discover their own strength.
4. Teach our kids to be supportive
Bullying one child is easy. A group, not so much. When we teach our kids to support others, they build a tribe of resistance against bullies. There is indeed strength in numbers.
These tips are in no way foolproof. My intention is to help us start thinking as parents about how we can intentionally support our kids through this process. We all experienced bullying and none of us liked it. It seems to have intensified lately. Being deliberate and intentional in our support will help save many tears and hurt feelings.
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