I have over 15 years of experience With working with children, youth, and their parents. I have worked with bullied children and the bullies themselves. I myself was bullied often as a kid and even as a young adult. I am also the parent of a bullied child. I have personally helped many children build themselves out of bullying, whether the bullying took the form of verbal, physical or sexual bullying/abuse. There is hope, and as a parent, there are things we can do to give our children the best tools needed to face a tuff and sometimes-dangerous world.
‘warning, if a child/anyone is ever physical abuse please get the police involved. Physical threats should never be ignored; they should be addressed at the highest level possible. Constantly bullies children are encouraged to participate in self defense courses.
Below are the lessons that I have learned as Youth Pastor and now as Lead Pastor. Ultimately, my prayer is for God’s grace and divine protection to be over your families always in all situations, not just the struggles but also the Victories.
1. Seek positive mentors for your children. someone you trust and you know cares about your child. Many times the child will not tell the parent what is going on in their life, but the mentor can bring up conversations and topics that the child might hide from the parent. The mentor should also be willing to advise and share information of importance to the parent in a decent and confidential way.
2. Snoop around. You need to know whom your child hangs around and talks too. A parent should have full access (with or without the child's knowledge) to a child’s cell phone, social media pages, and their friends. It is ok to be nosy, your child might not understand it now, but later they will thank you.
3. Talk to them. Sometimes children do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about bullying because it is not something they are used to talking about at home. Your child must feel welcomed to talk about any topic to their parent. Our job as parents is to create an environment where all these topics can be talk about in a nonjudgmental way. One way of doing this is by talking to your child about bullying, your child will appreciate it, even if you feel unconformable talking about it yourself. Reflect on your own upbringing, and share with your child your own experiences. It will comfort them knowing they are not the only ones that struggle with bullying.
4. Build their self-esteem. l have heard many parents say that they encourage and build up their child’s selfesteem, only to later catch them calling them names and insulting their intelligence. We must be conscious of the words we use with our children. Loving and supporting words go long ways.
I also want to mention, that we must toughen our child’s skin, the world is tuff and will only get tougher as they get older. Toughing up your child happens in many different and creative ways depending on the child’s age and maturity. For example, once my 5-year-old daughter came home to tell me that a kid had pushed her out of line in school, which in turn made her cry, I realized that I needed to build her confidence. With confidence, she would be able to focus her anxiety in such a way that would let her response in a strong and assertive way. That evening and the next morning, I told her that we would practice how to respond. ”If you are pushed again, stick your hand out and yell, Stop pushing me,” I said. I then pushed her and waited for her response. Her response was very weak, but that evening I would randomly push her waiting for a response, It wasn’t working. The next day before I walked her into the school I pushed her one last time, this time she stood straight stuck out her hand and yelled,” stop pushing me”. I smiled and said, ”Nice!” as we gave each other a high five! She smiled all the way to school.
If you would like to meet with me to discuss your child’s situation feel free to contact me at 612-202-7168