You can’t just teach your child how to sucker-punch their adversary on the school yard. Violence is a caveman’s tool. And while it’s another thing to teach your child how to turn the other cheek, or maybe how to zing a few stiff comebacks towards their challenger, that’s not enough. There’s a good chance that some damage has been done here, and that needs to be repaired. Moreover, you’re hoping to turn this unpleasant episode into an empowering life lesson for you kid, and that takes just a bit more effort.
Working from the foundation up.
The first order of business is to restore your child’s ego. This will be the foundation upon which the rest of your solution is built, so don’t shortcut it. Set aside time in which you can pull out photos or videos of your child’s favorite accomplishments. Make a collage of photo’s that portray them in powerful and/or confident situations. Then post the collage on their bedroom door. Next make a list of their awards, friends, achievements and good deeds. Then casually drop those recollections into your conversations throughout the day and upcoming week. This process will begin to counter the feelings of self doubt brought on by the bully.
Next we give them the power to take back control of their social environment. Take the time to educate your child on the causes of bullying. Help them understand that they were not singled out because they were weak, and that it is completely natural to feel hurt and embarrassed by the anti-social behavior. Finally, make it 100% crystal clear that bullying is unacceptable behavior – it is a crude tool used only by those who are burdened by social or psychological stresses of their own. This last point is particularly important, because many kids, teachers, and even some administrators, tolerate bullying as a normal or even humorous facet of teen interaction. Your words here must speak louder than their actions. Click on the download button to print out more tips on this subject.
Meeting with school officials.
Be forewarned that it is unrealistic to expect your school officials to eradicate anti-social behavior. This unfortunate truth has more to do with the social stresses of adolescence, than the perceived apathy of school administrators. Furthermore, when dealing with bullying issues, many well-intentioned school officials become hopelessly entwined in an endless barrage of accusations, counter-accusations, threats and lies. So in meeting with your designated school official, understand that your main goal isn’t to have them completely solve your problem. The most important objective here is to establish a specific Go-To person for your child. Whether it be a guidance counselor, or a favorite teacher, your child needs to feel that they have a specific advocate available to them when you are not around. The general supervisory umbrella of “the school staff” is irrelevant to your child at his point, because it has already failed them. In order to instill a sense of hope, we now need to give them a name and face that is aware of this specific problem, and is available as a resource.
This meeting also serves notice to school officials that a certain problem requires attention, and falls under their purview, but it should be viewed as the beginning of partnership, rather than a solution in and of itself. Click the download button to print out more tips on this subject.