First, the bad news. At some point in their school career, your child will probably be bullied. The good news? Getting a bully to leave you alone is a skill that can be taught. Even to children who are just starting out in pre-school.
Here are the 3 C’s that you need to teach your child so that they can get bullies to leave them alone.
Bullies bully because it works. It gives them power and control over another person. They way to get bullying to stop is to not give a bully power over yourself. This takes courage. Most targets of bullying are too afraid to confront the bullies, so they just go along with them. If you can help your child develop a strategy for what they will do or say IF the bully becomes aggressive, it will help your child find the courage to stand up to the bullies in the first place.
Another great way to help your child overcome their fear of a bully is to help them think compassionately about the child who is bullying them. Remind them that the bully is a kid, just like them and that just like them the child who is bullying them has fears and insecurities too. Helping your child feel compassion for a bully helps remind your child that a bully isn’t an all-powerful ogre. They don’t need to be afraid of them. It also helps them to realize that by standing up to the bully, they are actually helping the bully by teaching them how to behave better.
To get a bully to stop takes a consistent and concerted effort over time. Bullies rarely stop just because you ask them to. When a child confronts a bully with compassion, it can make the bullying worse. This is actually something your child should expect to happen. What your child needs to know is that to get the bully to stop, they have to stand up to a bully consistently. If they allow a bully to get away with bullying even once, it will make the bullying worse. The only way to get it to stop is to never ever tolerate it. Ever. Consistency in reporting and refusing to give a bully power over you is what makes them stop.
The next time your child comes home and tells you about a child who was mean to them, remember to teach them the three C’s. Courage – Compassion – and Consistency. These are skills that will not only help them cope with the difficult people in their lives right now, but these are skills that will serve them well into adulthood.