Where did the summer go? Geez…. I didn’t even get to enjoy it much! With that said, my kids returned to school this week. I am actually sad…. I have so much homework to help out with, and I don’t like all the hussle and bustle… I love the laid back atmosphere of the summer. With that said, my kids and I had a chat about bullying and how to handle it.
I grew up that dorky, geeky, skinny, redheaded kid. I was picked on, taunted, and teased. Relentlessly. Nonetheless, I handled it well enough that it stopped. What was my secret? Well, think about it…. why do kids bully other kids? Low self esteem, behavior they learned at home, to make themselves feel better (which goes back to low self esteem.)
I first addressed with my kids the behavior that they may have learned at home. There is a need to have some compassion for a child who has grown up under not the best of circumstances. NOT to the detriment of yourself or others, but to at least have an understanding of where they are coming from in order to best handle it. Of course, being the sassy person that I am, I would say right to them…. “oh, I am sorry…. do your mommy and daddy pick on you at home? Do you need me to call some adults to help you out?” I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS ONE!!! BAD IDEA.. I just am sassy and I don’t care. The beating that may result from the bully isn’t worth it to you to say that to them… for me, that is another story. 😉
The other issue is MUCH easier to address. The bully is wanting attention, negative or otherwise, because for some odd reason that fills a need that they have… or perhaps just a want. Regardless, my daughter, now 23 years old, came to me when she was 16 or 17 and said that bullies would not leave her alone and would say awful things to and about her and her twin sister. I advised her to reply with “thank you for sharing your opinion with me. Is there anything else that you would like to share?” The bully stammered while the other kids standing around started snickering. The bully turned around and stomped off.
Not to be defeated, the bully returned the next day to try again. After all, the ego was damaged from the previous day and they had to “save face.” The usual insults were hurled at her, and she gave the same response. The bully replied with a shove. She stood her ground and asked them if they now felt better, and asked if there was something that they wanted to talk about. The bully replied with a hurl of insults as they stomped off.
For the week to follow, the bully had NOTHING to say to her. What good was it to try, when they would just end up looking stupid? She came home and proclaimed me a “genius” for helping her solve this issue. I am FAR from being a genius. I am certain that this will not work for every type of bullying. Some bullies are just downright nasty and physical, and those require a totally different type of intervention. Kids who bully are mean and awful, but it is so out of control right now that the issue needs to be addressed at a higher level than I could ever provide. This is just a suggestion from a mom who has been there…. this isn’t the total answer to bullying. But, at least it is a start…..