7+ Ways You Can Help Your Child Be Unbullyable

Bullying is a profound problem today. In schools, workplaces and homes, people are hurt inside and out by others who find it necessary to wield power and control over others in order to satisfy some need of their own. I think there is also a high degree of self-bullying that goes on that is equally if not more destructive. How do we address this huge problem, particularly as it applies to our children?

I have begun to look at what makes someone open to being bullied or chose a bully stance. Since I don’t believe in “bad kids,” there has to be something going on inside. I am in the process of developing some exciting programs to help students stand up inside themselves so they are less likely to be targets for bullying and more resilient when they are knocked down.

They become Unbullyable. Here is a sampling of everyday ways you, as parents and professionals, can help the children in your life Be Unbullyable!

7+ Ways You Can Help Your Child Be Unbullyable:

  1. Be Present with him or her. Giving your full attention without screen distraction to your child for even 15 minutes a day builds their self-esteem and helps them stand up inside. They know they are worth the time and attentiveness of those most valuable to them.

  2. Listen with your ears and your heart to your child. This is not listening to fix, find fault or wait for them to finish so you can be wise. It is listening to be there,and support their growth, their wisdom, to laugh with them, and learn about them.

  3. Brainstorm with them, not for them to find out what they would do in a difficult situation – either theirs, yours or one you read or hear about. Listen to their ideas, chat about them. This builds their confidence in their own abilities to problem solve and respond effectively. Let them try out their solutions, as appropriate, and then debrief about what worked and why they think it did or did not. Remember this is their discovery and you get to participate and coach.

  4. Acknowledge their specific Positive traits and behaviors. When we teach through consistent corrections and “fixing” we highlight deficits. By our acknowledging, noticing, being inspired by, inquiring further about – positive and effective behaviors, children internalize that they are valuable and that builds confidence. This is not the generic “good job,” “you are wonderful.” While those are great to hear, the specific calling out of a positive or effective behavior gives clear information and reinforces its importance.

  5. Take Healthy Risks with your child (or share ones you have taken with them.) Do something you might be afraid or apprehensive to do, let them know your feelings and that you are stretching. Share your experience of coming out the other side. Let your child support you – you may be awed by their wisdom. You might learn to skateboard, rock wall climb or talk in front of a large group of people, even try a new food. Practicing going beyond the fear incrementally and successfully builds inner reliance and resilience.

  6. Make Mistakes and get back up. My friend and mentor told me that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall but only that you get up one more time than you fall. We so often focus on the fall and not the getting back up, yet it is the getting back up that strengthens us. Allow your kids to see and know about your mistakes, trials, tribulations and how you kept going and what you learned. Encourage them to share their mistakes with you and acknowledge their feelings/experience, then coach them through getting back up. Once they know they can, they will get up faster and more triumphantly, they will try more often, they will scar less easily and they be less likely to be knocked down in the first place.

  7. Model being kind to yourself and others. We teach more through what children witness us doing than what we say – I know good news/bad news! But we can use this to our advantage and theirs. Be aware of your responses to yourself and others when things don’t go your way. Put your caring, your heartfelt response before any demands and control. Allow things not to go your way. Remember Making Mistakes and Getting Back Up Graciously is part of the process, so perfection is not necessary.Model gentleness, loving, caring, humor, gratitude in the easy times and the difficult ones and your children will build a reservoir of reference points on how/when to do the same.

  8. One more for good measure!  Be of Service together. From a very young age children can learn the joy of giving, of seeing beyond themselves. The cycle of giving and receiving helps them to both experience being served or helped and of giving to others. It evens the playing field and builds a sense of value and purpose in the world as well as understanding and compassion.

To be unbullyable and resilient, a child must stand up inside him/herself with confidence, not cockiness, but a knowing they hold a worthwhile place in the world. This doesn’t need to be said in words, it is a countenance they hold. These students tend not to be bullied or bully and they grow up into adults who also tend avoid this cycle. You can help your children build that inner strength everyday in small and powerful ways.

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Comments

  1. I don’t have children, but these sound like wonderful “rules” for us all to live by.
    Thanks.
    🙂
    D

  2. Dror Schneider says:

    I love this, Sindy. It’s so much beyond “techniques” and into insights. Thank you!
    Dror

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