Yes, as parents and grandparents, we can help our kids deal with bullies. And it's that important.
When I left the teaching profession back in 2006, conventional wisdom contained a shift in thinking about this difficult subject. The move was from counseling kids to not bully to HOW NOT TO BE A VICTIM. Psychologists and others were telling us that in actuality, it wasn't bullies who were the instigators of mass shootings, but VICTIMS--people who were marginalized by society. And we see that over and over again in today's news.
So this is just another way parents and grandparents can help--and help we must!
I culled articles, books, and blogs on the internet to find suggestions. I've listed some here:
How NOT to Be a Victim of Bullying!
My added thoughts~
I write this blog primarily for grandparents, but I'm hopeful that my friends who are young parents will also take to heart the information in this blog. In the list above, probably the #1 that grandparents are good at is helping your grandchild have good self esteem. We grandparents are good at telling our grands how special they are, how smart they are, how beautiful they are......and the list goes on and on. The only thing I would add is to be specific with your praise. For example, if they always help you when they come over, tell them how much you appreciate that. Say something like, "I am really grateful to have such a fabulous grandson who is always willing to help me when I ask." That way it's not hollow praise. They are learning the traits they have that are special and valuable. You might tell them they are great problem-solvers or have wonderful manners and are respectful which you appreciate. All of these specific compliments help them to realize they ARE special and valued. When they have good self-esteem, they usually think enough of themselves so as not to give in to peer-pressure or bullying. And although I addressed this comment to grandparents, of course parents, aunts, uncles and older siblings can heed this advice too, and build each other up! Let's help our kids out.
Also remember that bullying is not always someone that wants to harm them physically. Most times it's just those "mean girls," or someone who is making fun of them. Those are the sorts of things that really hurt. Help them to deal with that. All the suggestions on this list apply to bullies who use hurtful words.
I don't know about you grandparents or parents, but oftentimes it's helpful to me to have a checklist of things I can do to help my sweet grandchildren navigate this big world. I sure hope this list has helped you, and please let me know of other techniques you have tried.
We're just walking each other home. . .
Information on the "Buddy Bench Project"~
An easy checklist for kids:
Closing thought from Henry James~
"Three things in human life that are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is be kind."
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!