We teach our children to “Say no to bullies”. And we do this, in hopes that it may work. However, the reality is that our relationships with our children impact how and if they can stop bullying. It is not easy and there are no classes to teach us as parents how to help our children prepare for bullies. We forget bullying today is everywhere and constant. Our kids are connected to peers via electronic devices and social media. As a mom, I worry. I may not always be aware or understand who my son is connecting with and receiving messages from. I ask myself, how I can teach my child to come to me, speak up and empower himself?
Here are four basic lessons to conquer bullying together:
The first lesson is trust. I find that I can not have a relationship with my son without trust. Hard work can build trust with our kids. Know your child, their likes, dislikes, values and morals. Spend time together and have in depth conversations. Ask about their friends, ask about the school culture and how they connect with their peers. Help them feel that no matter what they experience, they can come to you with no doubts or worries of punishment.
I have to listen to my son, to have a healthy relationship with him. I do not mean solve his problems, what I mean is just hear what he has to say and understand what he wants to do. Kids may not always say what you want to hear, but the point is that they are sharing. Take what they are saying and help them see that they have positive choices they can make.
I was a kid and teen years ago, sometimes I forget what it was like to be a kid or teen. Remember what you needed at your child’s age and try to relate. They want to feel understood and they are seeking validation. You were not always a parent and you had some growing pains too.
Finally, the last lesson, I encourage my son to make his own decisions. Let your child come up with solutions, talk about the solutions and if all is safe let your child implement the solution. Your child may choose to tell a bully to stop, or they may talk to a school teacher or administrator. If the solutions your child proposed are not working, then step in and try to help resolve the bullying.
Our love and support is always the key for our children to be able to stand up to bullies. We can teach our children that we are their best allies. We can strengthen our relationships and encourage them to connect with us. With our help, our kids can learn important lessons to stand up for themselves and learn how to stop bullies everywhere.