"A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided." Tony Robbins
We opened our conversation looking at How To Develop A Child's Self Esteem in preparation for the when of being bullied. The simple question is: Are we affirming our youth for their accomplishments? Creating a currency where their internal value is based on what they accomplish. Or are we affirming our youth based upon their determination or grit. Their internal value is based upon their intention. Please note, I would hope their would be a foundation where our children know they are loved unconditionally. What I am talking about here is what is build upon that.
Next we stepped into the question dealing with a persons emotions so that even while being bullied they are able to respond well. In Part 2a we looked at the education, association and motivation to effect ones emotional health. In this article we will be looking at the aspect of conditioning someone's emotions. Emotions are like muscles in the fact that they can be conditioned not only in the aspect of strength, but recruitment (ease of access). If you create controlled environment engage in being courageous and practice variations of that, You are more likely to be courageous in an unplanned and uncontrolled environment.
Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation― Ann Voskamp
So we've helped our child, adolescent, teen or young adult, find stories of victory over trials, bullying and tribulation. We helped them find quotes and people they can associate with. We've stirred their heart that there is hope. Now we move into conditioning.
Before I get into a list of activities let me talk about the why I am going to suggest this type of conditioning. A "highly skilled bully" or group of bullies don't just walk up and start fights. It doesn't work, at least not initially. A highly skilled bully relies upon emotional tension. The longer they can hold you in tension the more emotionally fatigued you become the more likely you are to crumble under preasure.
So developing stamina and strength emotionally, will not only help them deal with a #bully, it will help them in academics, in relationships and in their careers.
I have to preface this next statement with I don't have a problem letting your child play video games. Not at all. The problem with video games is they are designed to keep a child entertained. Even games with deep plots that are designed to keep you child glued to the screen for hours are developed with the idea of instant gratification by constant tension and instant resolution over and over again. These games have gobs of suspense with little emotional engagement. So we have to pry our kids away from the screen to help them in conditioning their emotions.
Strategy Based Board games are a great start. The longer the game the and the more competitive the better. Games like Go are fantastic. I recommend Chess to everyone, Risk, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan. Don't play the short versions (except on occasion or to initially start). The idea is to get your child to develop there emotional intelligence and stamina.
These games are played against real people, there is a real emotional drive to win and there is a constant tension that can't be escaped unless you just give up. These games develop problems solving, and forethought.
Now you are playing games, once everyone knows the rules, and enjoys the game. Add in conversation. Talk about lots of things, school, relationships, feelings, hobbies, life, whatever comes up. Be intentional. This is critical. In conversation you teach your child how to emotionally multitask (not let the emotion of one thing spill into another). Be verbal about your intentions to win the game. I love chess and play with my 12 and 9 year olds. Here is how a conversation might go. "Hey bud. I can really see your focus and intention is paying off. So I'm going to start picking up today. I can't take it easy on you anymore." See the pattern? I am affirming his diligence and I am rewarding him by increasing the emotional intensity. He hears this as a compliment and in-turn knows his focus must increase. At times I may ask him during the game "Are you sure you want to make that move" I will let him think and focus... The tension rises but he is okay with that since he has learned to perform in that tension. If he says yes I may show him another option and allow him to take the move back, or we may move on.
Hopefully the point on this is fairly clear. We as parents, teacher, coaches, mentors, etc... get to invest into the emotional conditioning in a way that develops these the hearts and minds of our youth. I will say as children get older friendly banter can be healthy if you keep it competitive not degrading.
"Sweat is the cologne of accomplishment."- Heywood Hale Broun
Sports or physical activity are fantastic. I will start by saying it doesn't matter what it is, find something where there is a passion and your can create a measurable matrix. This allows for the challenge of getting better. Really let you imagination sore hiking, ping pong, football, whatever. But figure a way to measure progress and to get better. The emotional conditioning comes through the chasing the progress.
In my opinion, sports in which there is a longer duration of emotional intensity and a more one on one competitiveness are the king the of sports. That doesn't mean that the length of a game but the length engagement Football your duration is 10 to 20 seconds with the lineman (or occasionally a cornerback) typically being the only people that lines up against the same person all game. In wrestling your engagement is between 1-3 minutes depending on your age. In Sports like Jiu Jitsu (submission wrestling) Your engagements are generally 4-8 minutes. In all sports where there is a measurement to success there is competition and therefore emotional conditioning. Be creative here things like rock-climbing where you are competing against the wall or yourself are fantastic.
Competition is healthy for your child. Don't be the parent that lives vicariously through your childs victories yelling or bullying your child if they don't win or perform like you want. Sports are a tool for developing character, focus on the character (emotional conditioning) not the sport.
Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud. Hermann Hesse
Lastly for the piece. Talk about life allot!!! If you go see a movie together, talk about the tension of the the hero in the movie. How do you think they felt in this part of the movie or that. What could the character have done to avoid hurting someone in the movie? Or what could they have done better? Do you think the hero wanted to give up at any point? How do you think they felt in the end of the movie when there was resolution?
Now apply those same question to your childs life, initially pointing them toward maybe their teacher, a team mate or a friend. Then apply these questions to them. Communication is a skill that is developed. Speaking on matters of the heart is scary at first and a skill that is acquired over time. This is maybe one of the most important skills and habits for conditioning your childs emotional health.
When they learn to share the emotions it dampens the words of a bully. A person that is bullied is able to think through multiple perspectives at once and their emotions aren't handcuffed in the moment.
Hopefully this will get your mind thinking about other alternatives to conditioning your child's emotions.
Next time we will take a look at the actual interaction with the Bully or Bullies.