The ONLY way to truly prevent your child from being a victim of bullying is to give them true confidence. Confident kids almost never get picked on. They never become the target.
Think about it.
How do bullies pick their victims? Bullies will always pick on someone who may seem different, lacking confidence, or struggling with shyness. Teaching real social skills is the answer.
Remember this old saying, Sticks, and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. In the past, this is what we as children would say when we were picked on. However, bullying is such a big problem today.
A constant taunting, teasing, and cruel words could actually hurt a child or even drive them to take their own life. A bully is always trying to get a reaction to the victim with his words. They try to find a flaw in someone’s appearance and use that against them. your child may be teased about their size or height, being too shy, or even teased about what they wear.
The bully wants to hurt a child emotionally and make them think what they are saying is true. This is where your child’s confidence is put to the test. Either your child will or will not be affected by the bully’s words.
Do not allow your child to be picked on by a bully. Teach them how to have confidence in themselves. What would a person with confidence do if they encountered a bully? Would they let the words of a bully affect them? Or would they have enough confidence in themselves to know what the bully is saying is untrue?
The root cause of bullying is that bullies pick on the weak. Bullies know that kids who are not confident will not fight back and they will be easy targets.
We need to protect our kids from bullying. However, we cannot change how bullies are formed.
We cannot eliminate them from our schools. We cannot control their behavior. The only thing we can change is how we choose to deal with them.
The thing is, we can choose is how confident we are on the inside. Your child can learn to be confident.
Confidence is something that if you fake it till you make it long enough, eventually you get to actually be confident.
It’s never easy to witness your sensitive child’s inability to stand up for himself. Are you worried your child won’t defend himself against kids who are picking on him? Do you think that his lack of confidence might cause him to become an easy target for bullies in the future? As his parent, you will need to teach your child to stand up for himself when needed.
Sensitive Children And Bullying
A sensitive child might portray himself as being shy, quiet, and lacking confidence. Teach your child to feel confident even though he might not feel like it. Practice having eye contact, sitting up straight, with head up when having a conversation. This teaches your child how to portray confidence.
If someone cuts in line and in front of your child, teach them how to politely say the line is in the back with their head held up high, strong voice, and eye contact. All while still being polite.
Teach your child to be assertive. It is okay to stand up for yourself if a bully is being mean or saying something wrong. Teach them how to have eye contact and look the bully in the eye and firmly say, Stop doing that and try to walk away.
The "If" Factor
One of the techniques we taught in the seminar was “harnessing the power of if” This technique is learning how to think in terms of “if”. In other words, If I were the president of the United States and someone tried to bully me, how would I react?
Let’s say that someone in the crowd told me I was short or that I was a nerd, would that affect me? I am the president of the United States, one of the most powerful nations in the world yet some nobody is trying to insult me.
If I were the president that insult would carry no weight with me. I would be happy with who I am inside. I would be comfortable in my own skin.
Turn The Crowd Around
In addition to bullying not affecting me, Anyone within earshot of the insults would instantly turn on the bully. they would think that there was something wrong with the bully himself.
It would be such an act of social ineptitude that people would possibly think that the bully was mentally ill.
What if you could harness the power of “if” and not be affected by bullying? Even though you are not really the President of the United States you have the confidence of the President. What if you are just as confident and comfortable in your own skin as the president WITHOUT being the president?
If you have enough confidence, you become bulletproof to all insults. If you have enough confidence, you can turn the bully around and make the bully seem like a total jerk and you are the hero. With hardly a word being said, You can do all of this. You could accomplish this with mostly body language alone. In my opinion, this is the only true way to deal with bullying, any type of verbal technique will either work or fail depending on whether or not you have enough confidence to pull it off. If you are confident in who you are there is basically no need for any type of physical technique to be applied.
However, if you layer on top of inner confidence the knowledge that you are capable of defending yourself in a physical confrontation, that is icing on the cake.
You Know You Could Do Something
Internally, you know that you could damage the bully. You know that if it came down to a situation in which you had to defend yourself you could. Remember, you have put in the work. You have trained hard. Inside, you know.
Combining Inner confidence with the knowledge of self-defense you can enable any child to NEVER get bullied in the first place. We can do it, but it takes a lot of work and perseverance. A recent bullying statistics revealed an alarming fact that 1 of every 7 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 has been a bully or has been bullied.
We have to do something about bullying. How many children must we lose before we act?
However, preventing bullying is not easy. It stems from a basic lack of parenting skills of the bully’s parents. They fail to teach their children basic respect for others, and skills of politeness and courtesy. There will always be ignorant parents out there who do not raise their kids correctly and let them become bullies. We are NEVER able to change this fact.
The Importance Of Eye Contact
Have you ever spoken to someone who did not look you in the eye for the entire conversation? Maybe this person was able to look straight into your eyes for a couple of moments, but then they relapsed into looking down or away.
The ability to hold eye contact while speaking to people is challenging for many people who have not practiced it before. This is an extremely important social skill that you cannot sidestep when raising your child.
Making strong eye contact influences the opinions others to have of you.
In social situations, your eye contact shows that you are paying attention and are focused on what is being said. It shows that you are sincerely trying to listen to them and create a connection or bond.
Your belief about where you fall in the social hierarchy is conveyed by your eye contact or lack thereof. People who believe their social status is lower than someone else will avert their gaze first. You could almost think of it as a staring contest. If someone cannot hold eye contact it is often because they believe he is not on the same level as the other person.
Not having strong eye contact influences the opinions others have of you.
The first thing a bully notices is the lack of eye contact. In Western society, this signals a lack of confidence. If you are insecure with yourself you do not want to make eye contact. Insecurity is a major flag for bullies and says I am a target. Pick on me.
The Commanding Voice
Have you ever watched a bunch of preschool kids playing? It is fairly easy to see the beginnings of bullying behavior. You can observe those kids who lack confidence even at this early age.
As kids get older the bullying will gain momentum. Bullying can be devastating and children who are bullied may even commit suicide. It is a very real danger.
However, there is good news if your child is being bullied. You can bully-proof your child.
One of the best things you can do to help your child is to teach them the behaviors and mannerisms of confident kids. As you know confident kids never become a target. Bullies will choose their victims based on perceived weakness.
The Command Tone
The most important part about your tone of voice is what we call the command tone.
Imagine calling your child for dinner, your voice might be happy and upbeat. However, if your child still wasn’t at the dinner table and you call their name again, your tone of voice might change to a commanding and powerful voice. Just by your tone of voice, your child would immediately know that he/she was supposed to be at the dinner table 5 minutes ago.
Actually the command tone should be neither angry nor stern. The commanding tone should have a slightly downward direction at the end of your sentence.
I see so many parents use the opposite approach when disciplining their children and it’s no wonder that their kids don’t listen to them. For example “Are you supposed to be doing that?” Where the tone is rising at the end. They pose their discipline in the form of a question.
For males especially, if they use the upward lilt at the end of a sentence, both females and bullies see it as a sign of being beta rather than alpha.
The tone of voice when meeting someone for the first time is also very important. If your voice has a rising intonation, and you lack eye contact you might be perceived as being shy, insecure and lacking self-confidence. The first 10 minutes are very important when meeting someone for the first time. People will base their perception of you by your handshake, tone of voice, eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and the conversation they had with you.
Control Your Emotions
Does a bully's comments deeply affect your child? Does your child have a negative attitude? Wish your child could handle criticism?
Sometimes a bully will try to affect someone by saying mean things. A bully could taunt a child for months or even years. How many times have I read on Google devastating news about a child taking their own life due to the constant bullying?
When will this stop? Why are kids so mean? Just last month, another teen has taken her own life due to being bullied by possibly 15 other kids her age. This poor child was only 12 years old.
One way of dealing with negative comments or a bad attitude is to have children believe in themselves. The keyword is “believe” for with a positive belief comes confidence and great self-esteem. Belief in oneself is a very powerful tool.
The solutions are for children to believe in themselves. We do teach them how to have a positive attitude. Here are a few helpful tips:
1) Instead of “No one likes me,” have your child say to him/herself “Some people like me.”
2) Instead of “I can’t stand when people criticize me,” have your child say to him/herself “I can handle criticism.”
3) Instead of “That bully is making me angry,” have your child say to him/herself “This bully will not affect what I think and feel about myself, and for how I behave.”
Crazy Monkey Bullying Defense
In our anti-bully seminar, we taught the children and parents a technique called the “Crazy Monkey”. This technique teaches parents and kids a way of dealing with a bully’s teasing or negative comments.
We taught the children to respond to a bully by having a confused and puzzled look as if the bully were some kind of “Crazy Monkey” Jumping around and eating bananas. They should respond back with not angry words but instead a question. Parents and children did an exercise and practiced having a puzzled look on their face and saying to a bully, “Why would you say something like that?”
By asking a question it might take the bully by surprise because that is not the response a bully was looking for. Also, if there’s a crowd of people they might look at the bully and think to themselves, “Why are you bullying this kid? What did he do to you?” The attention has now shifted to the bully and his unreasonable actions towards your child.
By responding back to a bully with a question it might help diffuse the situation. A bully might not be able to answer your question and not have a comeback to your response. At that moment, a bully might feel vulnerable or weak and thrown off guard.
The Funny Bullying Defense
There is no right way to handle a bully. To defeat a bully your child needs to retain their self-control and be mentally and emotionally strong. Bullies want to gain control and power over your child. They will try to affect your child’s emotions.
Teach your child to not react with anger or retaliate with physical force. They can calmly and assertively tell the bully they’re not interested in what they have to say and walk away. When confronted by a bully your kid will need to demonstrate that the bully has no control over them.
The best way to deal with a bully is to not give them the reaction that they want. Bullies want your child to feel hurt and alone. They will tease your child constantly trying to break your child down and make them feel worthless. Teach your child to retain their self-control and self-esteem
Why Do Kids Bully Others?
Kids bully other kids because of the many possible reasons. Bullies might be experiencing jealousy, wants to look tough or feel powerful, or maybe trying to escape personal problems of their own.
There are different types of bullying. Know what type of bullying your child is dealing with. Aggressive bullies are physical without hesitation. Taunting bullies verbally abuse their victims. They find satisfaction in teasing and calling people names. Cyberbullying uses email, instant messaging, or any other electronic means to taunt their victims.
Children need to be educated on how to work around or deal with a bully.
Do not react to their comments. Have your child show a minimal reaction to bullying. If you are hurt or feel uncomfortable by their words or actions, do not show it. Try to walk away. Remember not to show the bully the attention or reaction they are hungry for.
Try to find what they say as a joke and give a funny comment. If accomplished in public, this can gain laughter from surrounding peers or victims at the bully’s expense. Being laughed at is not what a bully expects. It is not the type of attention a bully was looking for. In fact, it is a bully’s worst nightmare because their position of power has decreased.
I'm The Best Bullying Defense
In this video, parents were pretending to be the bullies. The child’s goal was to not be emotionally affected by their parent's comments. Instead, they needed to try and find something funny and try to turn the mean comment into a joke.
Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing up and almost every child does experience it. In fact, at least once in our lives, we’ve all experienced being teased. Sometimes the teasing isn’t always as innocent as it seems. Words can cause pain.
Verbal bullying is when a child intentionally and repetitively hurts the other person. Making threats, name-calling, or spreading hurtful rumors are just a few ways a child could be verbally bullied.
It is very important for parents to become involved if a child is being verbally bullied. The worst thing to do is deny and pretend that everything is alright.
Help your child by being empathetic. Give your child the opportunity to talk and express their feelings to you. If your child has difficulty expressing their feelings reading a variety of articles or books on how to deal with being bullies.
Teach your child different ways to respond to a bully. A bully will try to pinpoint and attack a victim’s appearance. Your child might be teased about his height being too tall or short, weight, wearing braces, or other things that the bully sees. Although, we are different in height, weight, and some of us do wear braces a bully will try to outcast a child and make them feel different and out of place.
Teach your child to feel good about themselves. In this video, the children did an exercise that dealt with a bully attacking their physical appearance. They dealt with comments like being too short or tall, teased about their style of clothing (or lack of), or even their choice of hairstyle.
The children learned how to change a negative comment into a positive one instead of being upset or hurt. Their goal was to not let the words of a bully affect them. The children took control of the situation and did not react to the bully’s comments.
An Eye For An Eye
We recently saw a movie called bully. It was very emotional and if you have a chance to see it you should definitely look it up. While on the bus to school one of the kids in the movie was being physically bullied.
If he used an eye for an eye by being physical back to the bullies he might have mitigated much of what he was encountering on the bus.
Help your child develop social skills. Learning how to interact with other children is important in building friendships. If your child learns how to socialize with other peers he will less likely be a victim of bullying.
Do not tell your child to ignore a bully. Your child needs to learn how to stand up for himself. By telling your child to ignore the situation you as a parent are ignoring it too. There are ways to help your child handle bullying situations without damaging his or her self-esteem.
Random Attacks And Bullying
If you are old like me you may remember a movie series called the Pink Panther. There has been a reboot, but I haven’t seen it.
In these movies, a detective tells his sidekick to randomly attack him anywhere and at any time. The premise is that a surprise attack will keep the detective on his toes and his self-defense skills will remain sharp.
I believe that all of the anti-bullying techniques presented here CAN work for your child but like anything else in life, it’s not going to be easy.
The ONLY way to get your child to use some of this material is to drill it. Drill these techniques over and over again and randomly attack your child to desensitize them to verbal attacks.
If they ever believe that you are actually attacking them just tell them “I was testing you to see if you knew how to deflect the bullying” A good idea is to first tell them “I am going to randomly and continually test your anti-bullying skills. Please be ready.”
My son Isaac and I also do this on a physical level. Perhaps not as comedic or as random as the pink panther movies, but I will on occasion tackle my son and make him fight his way out. It’s really fun.