Develop a Healthy Response to Bullying
Today, I want to share some thoughts about bullying. This is such a hot topic and one that tends to make a parent’s ears perk up and their protective instincts to rise.
The idea of someone bullying our child is almost more than we can bear and creates a response in us that can feel overwhelming.
Like any topic that finds its way into the spotlight, there is a lot of room for misinterpretation and confusion as you hear things on the news, discuss it with your friends and even draw up your own memories of being bullied.
The result = fear….and anything that puts you into that state is worth learning more about.
So, I want to talk about Developing a Healthy Response to Bullying as a parent, but also as a person living in a society where bully-type behaviours are super common and we experience them happening all the time.
This is not something reserved for kids…this is something we all deal with in our lives. To me, this makes it really important that you understand what's going on and have a healthy way to deal with it whenever it appears in your life.
I'm going to focus this conversation mostly towards dealing with a child, and I'm hoping you'll be able to recognize that, with minor modifications you can use these ideas when working with adults as well.
Sometimes, despite all our efforts to stand firmly behind our kids and support them through this situation, things continue to escalate. When this happens and you feel you must take action, Hogan Injury provides a great article on how to proceed.
Okay…so let's go back to how hearing about bullying as an adult that is aimed at your child, tends to cause hackles to rise and fear to shoot through us. This fear-response shifts us into protection mode for our kids or loved ones.
There are a couple major problems with protection mode.
First, to really deal effectively with a challenging situation we need to be able to be at our smartest. When we move into protective mode we are unable to think clearly as blood is diverted to our muscles from our brain.
Over-reaction becomes very likely and often creates a response that looks much like you bullying someone else. Since we are always role modeling for our children this behaviour is inappropriate, regardless of our reason for doing it.
Secondly, when we move into protection mode we tend to take over from our child sending a message that he or she is not strong enough to deal with this situation.
Above all else, we must let our kids know they are resilient and can handle whatever life throws their way. It might not feel great to live through these undesirable experiences, but it is part of living and makes people stronger when they embrace it as part of their life challenges and learn skills to deal with it.
Listen to the podcast for the 5 tips for raising resilient kids who can handle anything – including bullying
Bullying, always involves a perceived power imbalance. Someone is stronger, bigger, older, wiser, has authority over… the person who is being bullied feels threatened and believes the other person will follow through on their threat. They believe there is no way out, but to do as the bully tells them to do.
Don't call it bullying if it's not…
People have become so afraid of bullying and how it might negatively affect their child, that they are starting to label any unfair, mean or hurtful behaviour as bullying.
Relationship challenges with peers are important ways for your child to learn how to navigate disagreements, practice assertiveness and communicate what she is feeling.
Although there is always the potential for a situation to escalate into something more, in most cases peer disagreements are a golden opportunity for growth and teachable moments.
Listen to the podcast for an example of how your accidental over-reaction can set your child up for a lot of negative experiences as well as ideas on what you can do to really hear your child and strengthen them despite this challenging situation arising in their life.
Ready to stand in your power? I can help you with the skills, tools and mind-set needed to raise confident kids, build healthy relationships and leave previous trauma behind. Set up your free no-obligation discovery call with me. Sometimes just talking to someone is enough to get your creative energy flowing!