I don't think that it's much of a secret that #Bullies pick on those that are different than they are. It can be the color of your skin, your height, weight, any physical characteristic, your family situation, how you've handled a situation or really anything that you sets you apart.
Bullies seek to elevate their social standing by exerting control over you. Often times publicly because they are seeking to find a position of influence by isolating their victim. Often in Private as they test their strategy and an investment in their emotional leverage over their victim for the next public display.
The Five Steps To Help A Child When Being Bullied are .
- Establishing Self Esteem
- Your Emotions in Conflict (Education / Conditioning)
- Interaction With The Bully
- Interacting With Others / Creating Culture
- Interacting with Authority about a Bully
The first thing that we must do to help a child or an adult in dealing with #Bullying is to develop a healthy self-esteem. But before I ramble on lets put this in context
Remember Bullies pick on others that are different. But it isn't the different star athlete, Or incredibly good looking student (although sometimes) that gets bullied. These Children have social equity in there identity. There is a general consensus that their differentiation is valuable and therefore, it is easier for a bully to flow with the masses than to change the crowd against a "stand out" (Notice how the term "stand out" which means someone different has taken a positive meaning by placing the term in context of being popular).
So the people that are at risk are the people that don't have social equity or value by the masses. This will be critical point to remember moving forward since, most of us aren't looking to raise a conformist, but a creator an individual and leader.
So how do we establish a healthy self esteem? First, Don't lie to your children. We are are all created equal in essence as people, but not in ability. The Schools although well intentioned are ofter creating a awkward and dangerous culture in awarding everyone as a participants. The students keep track and are very aware of who excels and who doesn't. But for the schools to not acknowledge this actually creates a #Bully rich environment.
In order for people to have a healthy self esteem the must both fail and succeed they must understand the heartbreak of failure and exuberance of success. If we only place our children in easy situations, they won't know how to deal with defeat and the won't be able to sympathize with others pain in failure. We need to place children in various environments and allow them to fail and succeed. Then learn to be honest with them acknowledge the failure and or success.
Our praise should be around their effort or grit. If I see my child in a situation that is easy for them and they succeed easily with out effort. I will be honest about the situation. It isn't to be celebrated.
Praising your child for their effort allows them to develop a healthy ruler of what they can control and what they can't. My children knows I love them, regardless of what they might or might not accomplish. But when we discuss grades, sports, music or creativity. It isn't about the end result as much as the process. When my nine year old brings me a nice drawing. I might say this is beautiful it looks like you've put allot of effort into this. I might ask how long it took? And then say, I am proud of your for devoting so much time and effort. I know my daughter ability. If it is sloppy, I might say thank you my sweet daughter for thinking of me. That is really nice. Then I might say tell me about the picture, when she does I might say. Can you do me a favor? I have seen some of your art that show so much effort and focus. Id like you to go back and put a little more effort into this part or that. That would mean allot to me if you gave it your best effort.
When my 12 year old wrestles someone and beats them easily. I acknowledge the victory in its context. I might say "Great job, do you see how all the time and effort that you've put into practice pays off. Or if he loses, but tries hard. I might say "great job! I am proud that your pushed your self even when things were hard. That consistent effort is what will make you a champion in whatever you decide to pursue".
If a child's "performance value" is build on the effort and not the result it isn't their aptitude that makes them a success. It is the effort. So when a Child is put down for the outcome of their results they realize that isn't where there value lies. They have learned that they have found success in other venues based on their effort and at times experience defeat despite their effort.
This strategy for development a healthy esteem does a few things for your child. It diminishes the chances of them becoming a bully, for they know victory and defeat, they understand aptitude and they acknowledge grit. With this, they generally have a strong sense of empathy and respect for others efforts more than their accomplishments.
It increases their potential of standing up for those that are being bullied. When a child is pushed to exercise themselves in art, music, sports and academics. They understand and celebrate different gifting, abilities and personalities. Their world view is more developed and they appreciate and are willing to stand for someone that might seem different.
It gives them a healthy foundation to push off of when they find a bully testing them for weakness; when a bully emotionally corners you and tries to make you feel bad about something that makes you unique or different, You understand your value, or esteem isn't in an accomplishment, your looks or ability. In addition children they show tremendous grit and passion in sports even if they almost completely lack aptitude are less likely to be bullied since grit often presents as toughness. Bullies aren't as likely to pick on someone that doesn't give up.
This Article is a thumbnail of the complexity of developing a Child's self Esteem and Value. I value continued conversation and would love to see and interact with your comments.
A couple of Fantastic Resources for Parents Coaches and Teachers are:
The Art of Learning An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance: By Josh Waitzken
Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance: By Angela Duckworth (great video of her Ted talk below)