Bullying causes heartache for children and parents. But all heartaches have a silver lining if you know how and where to look.
Parents protect and shelter their children. It’s what we do! Of course, things can get a bit tough, especially when we realize that we can’t control every aspect of their environment. In fact, this lack of control can be downright painful.
We can’t prevent our children from experiencing negativity in their lives. But we can help our children to learn and grow from their experiences. As parents, we have an innate ability to alter our children’s perspectives. The way we respond to moments of pain and sadness can have a powerful effect.
Before calling your child a victim of bullying, it is important to learn the facts. It also is critical to keep an open perspective. As parents, we try to protect our children at all costs. It is a response that we must be careful to keep in check. Acting like a “mama bear” can be a good thing — but only if it is appropriate.
As parents, we trust our children. We want to take their words and feelings at face value while still remembering it is important to do research. Before making judgment calls, we need to understand all of the details and exactly what is happening. This is not to say our children are going to consciously mislead us. It is to say that humans are biased by nature and parents may influence their children’s biases. Note: There is more than one side to every story!
When your child is distressed, make sure to keep things calm and in perspective. Keep your biases in check and review the facts. Once you are certain that bullying has occurred, don’t hesitate to intervene! It is your responsibility to help your child. You are their advocate and you can help them weather this storm and find calm water.
It’s Not Personal
Bullying is a reflection of the bully and not a reflection of the victim.
Your child may be the victim of bullying but that doesn’t mean the bullying is about your child. Bullying is a reflection of the bully and not a reflection of the victim. Our children see the world from their own unique perspectives. As a result, they may think they are somehow responsible for the way a bully is choosing to treat them.
Helping our children to see the bigger picture is important. They need to realize and understand that who they are as a person has nothing to do with the way they are being treated.
Bullying happens. Bullying in any form isn’t right. Bullying in any form isn’t acceptable. BUT the reality is… bullying happens.
Some children aren’t nice. (Some adults aren’t nice either!) Such is life. I am not justifying mean behavior. I am acknowledging that mean behavior exists and always has.
When children are victims of bullying they need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that bullying happens. They need to know that hatred is present in our world and they have now experienced it. Our children cannot control the thoughts and actions of others. They can only control their own thoughts and responses.
Many of our children exist in a world that we have created for them. It is important to shelter our children until they are strong enough to deal with the cold hard world. It is part of nurturing our young. It is how we give our offspring the best odds of survival.
When bullying occurs, our children’s blinders are removed. Bullying is a reality check. It forces a child to acknowledge that problems exist in their world. Bullying is just one problem, of many, that will grace the story of their lives.
It is good for our children to know that they are strong. They can and will experience problems. They can and will survive.
If children know how and where to look, every scenario has a silver lining. Physically, we build stronger muscles by damaging original muscle fibers. Psychologically, we build strength and character by experiencing and overcoming controversy.
People who threaten and insult others show a lack of strength. People who experience threats and insults but rise above them show immense strength. Being the victim of bullying can help our children to build an inventory of personal values and strengths.
When children experience negative behavior, it provides them with a unique opportunity. It is an opportunity to focus on positive behavior and character traits – a way to take sadness and pain and turn it into pride and conviction. After all, kind behavior has always been, and will always be, better than cruelty.
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