People are talking about how to stop bullying. But the obvious elephant in the room is how to help those children who are driven to such desperate measures that taking the lives of others feels like the only option. As adults we cannot really communicate with the kids directly as it’s often considered adults just being condescending to them. So the reality is, we NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME COMMUNICATING WITH OUR KIDS. Not just about asking if they are bullied, but if they know if others are.
It’s not just a matter of our own kids and what they do that we should be concerned about. The Native Americans’ believed that raising a child was a community effort. And even though you might not think it’s your responsibility to take care of others’ kids, it is important to stop and think about those others kids and their capability to feel safe. Because those children not feeling safe leads to these desperate non-logical thinking events in an attempt to eliminate threats to themselves and that safety they need, including your child. So that means we as parents really have to be concerned as much about the happiness and well being of those children around our child, as of our own.
For example, when my son was being bullied in the 1st grade, instead of approaching the parent to address the issue, (being a former bullied child myself) I knew a few of the reasons that might drive a bully to do what he does, which includes feeling unsafe or wanted. So I invited the child to my son’s birthday party, despite my son’s asking why because the kid didn’t like him. Not only did the bullying END, but they became friends after that. Bullying issue all but ceased after that. My son told me just today says he regrets asking why I wanted to do that, and is grateful I taught him this important lesson. He now applies this thinking of how others might be feeling to those around him at his new school.
Obviously dependent on the age, the options of what a parent can do to address bullies changes. Before 4th grade the group play dates is an option, but after that, it becomes more a matter of helping bullied kids feel less alone. Because as a bullied child, it’s when they feel completely alone and the only way to protect themselves is to FIGHT BACK is when issues like lately occur. The easiest way to help your child be safe, is encourage them to get to know the “odd ball” kid who might not seem to have a lot of friends.
Now there is two trains of thought here. First off this encouragement helps that bullied kid (formerly me) feel less alone and safer in their environment, so at least they know someone cares if they live or die. Secondly, this getting to know others different from them helps your child learn to accept and welcome others that are different than their usual group of friends.
But as parents, ultimately we can’t do this for our kids, we need to teach them to do it for themselves. So stop and think the next time you are riding in the car talking about bullying and how wrong it is. However wrong the act of bullying might be, the best way to fix the problem is to help not only your child but the other children, by helping them feel less alone. So encourage your child to talk to the “odd ball” kid. Maybe suggesting they start a conversation about how bullying sucks/is stupid. Give them an easy starting message to get the ball rolling. Because it’s important to help ALL children, not just ours be happy and feel safe in their schools.
Another one of Life’s Secret But Still Abridge Manual’s tips