Words can be very hurtful, especially to children.
The rash of suicides due to bullying is evidence of how hurtful words can be.
Attitudes are contagious
As parents, we must become proactive in empowering our children with the tools that they need to conquer bullying and to overcome its effects.
It is a fact of life. There will always be people who elevate themselves by putting others down. Don’t allow that to be your child and do not allow your child to be victimized by them.
This is a tough, but necessary task.
Schools are breeding grounds
Bullies are festering bacteria that infect your child’s happiness and success. Schools are their breeding grounds.
Schools celebrate conformity. Individuality is discouraged and creativity is questioned. Differences are not tolerated.
The popular people in schools, the “mean girls” are the least creative and the most likely to conform. They are the slaves to fashion, to trends, unable to think beyond what is popular, unable to determine their own preferences and goals. They allow others to row their boat.
“Fitting in” can also lead to self-destructive behavior, especially in teens. The desire to belong is often the rationale that leads otherwise sensible young people into drugs, alcohol and teen pregnancy. Need for companionship often overrules common sense.
It is individuality and creativity that leads to the most success in our society. It is the Steve Jobs and the Bill Gates who think outside of the box that become the most successful in life
Do not allow your child to become a prisoner of conformity. Encourage them to explore their individuality. . Individuality breeds dreams. Dreams build success.
Teachers can be bullies, too
Although you want children to respect authority, teach them that age and authority are not recipes for wisdom.
Teachers can be the worst bullies. I have heard teachers tell students that they are stupid, worthless, losers and the schools are virtually powerless to control them. Teachers who turn the other way when a child is being bullied, teachers who pass students along without demanding performance, are all obstacles to your child’s success.
Every one of my college math students who struggle has a story about a fourth or fifth grade teacher who told them that they could not do math.
Acidic words from one teacher can destroy a child’s self-esteem and threatens their academic success.
Empowering your child
We fall for the opinions of negative people because of their age or authority over us. We teach our children to stay away from strangers, even if they are adults. We must also teach them to stay away from crippling opinions of them, even if they come from those in authority.
Teach your children to question other’s opinions about them and reject those that are not in line with who they want to be, even if this is a teacher. Teach them the magic words, “no I’m not” to reject definitions that they don’t like.
Empower your child to prove that teacher wrong by working extra hard at that subject. Show them how to challenge without being vocal. Encourage inner-satisfaction from accomplishments.
Get involved when teachers bully your child. You would not allow a teacher to physically hurt your child, do not allow them to psychologically damage them, either. Defend your child when they are being bullied, whether by a teacher or a fellow student.
Stand up for them and protect them. Let your child know that you are behind them and their success. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
Beware of haters
We teach children to beware of strangers yet we neglect to teach them to also beware of haters. Haters damage the mind. Anyone who wants to hold you back is poison. Become allergic to them.
Teach your children never to give sanction to negative people. They are not the kind of people who you want to be, therefore their opinion is of no use to you. Teach them to become a new kind of snob – one that is too good for negative people.
Misery loves miserable company. Negative energy attracts negative people and repels positive ones.
Challenge them to be a leader and create a new norm – do not run others down.
Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music. – Mac Anderson
Low self-esteem may cause your child to become a bully.
Because they cannot accept themselves, they need constant approval from others. Many times this approval is gained in negative ways. Do not ignore this behavior, it must be addressed immediately.
You must not bully your child, either.
How do you talk to your child? Do you put them down, curse at them, belittle and degrade them? If so, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Children learn how to relate to others through imitating you. Become a role model to them. Behave in ways that you want to see them behave.
As a parent and an educator, I am a firm believer in discipline; setting limitations for children. But there is an empowering way and a disempowering way to set limits. Degradation and humiliation is the wrong way to build your child into a successful adult. It only leads to low self worth and low self-esteem.
Everyone has something that triggers insecurities – these things can be overcome.
Focus on developing your child’s strengths and interests. Give them opportunities to build on their talents. Become their cheerleader.
Beliefs as to what events mean, not the events themselves, shape our lives. Your children cannot control others, but they can control their own behavior and interpretation of events.
Help them interpret events in empowering ways. Become their ally in the battle for self-esteem.
Teach children to affirm others and admire the accomplishments of others.
Synergy occurs when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Use the concept of synergy to break the power of bullying in your child’s school.
Your child is not the only child who is being picked on in school. Seek out others. It takes eleven positive people to overcome the effects of one negative person. Build a positive energy team. There is power in numbers.
Encourage relationships with positive children. Schedule fun activities with other positive children. Encourage your child to spend as much time with them as possible while at the same time discouraging relationships with negative people.
Teens are a special case
Careful – especially in teen years, this may have the opposite effect.
Rebellion may cause your child to spend time with the very people you want them to avoid. Communication during calm periods may be the best approach. Don’t be confrontational and don’t argue about it.
If they are hanging around the wrong people, ask them what they like about those people. Ask them if they truly think that their friends are good for them and in what ways. Ask them what good habits they are picking up from their friends. Hopefully, they will come to their own conclusions about who they choose as friends.
Let your teen think that it’s their idea. Give them the oars to row their own boat.
We need a minimum of 12 laughs per day to stay healthy.
Don’t forget to give your child a daily dose of laughter each day, it has the power to heal.