Helping your child become independent and building their self self esteem will prepare them for the future. Whether your child is being bullied or started to be a bully, it is up to you to deal with the bullying in the most effective and loving manner possible. Bullying starts early; successfully reacting and dealing with the issue right away will help tremendously when it comes up again later. Promoting good self esteem and independence will help your child create shields and boundaries with bullies in life. CBR goes over a few helpful tips for parents.
- Identify the reasons for bullying. Your toddler is at a very vulnerable age, so it is natural to be protective. The important thing to understand is the reasons for the bullying, which can come in many forms. Pay attention to verbal attacks and threats like put downs, name calling and taunting at this age, as well as physical attacks, punches, shoving, pushing, pulling, kicking. There could also be relational bullying such as exclusion from the group, social rejection, rumors, gossip. Don’t ignore small incidents or brush them off because these small things accumulate and escalate. Talk to your child’s teacher or the other child’s parent when you are aware of signs of bullying.
- Provide ways to address bullying and move on. When bullying is identified, the important thing is to identify the experience and use rational reactions like compromise, respectful negotiation, forgiveness and acceptance to overcome the situation. Explain to your child that no matter how bad someone else is behaving, it isn’t right to react with violence or aggression. Teach them how to stick up for themselves in a positive way with strength and confidence.
- Promoting your child’s independence and self-esteem. This is your best ammunition in protecting your child against bullying. The more they rely on themselves for their own happiness and don’t let the opinions and behavior of others affect their own self worth is the most important life lesson they can learn. Make your child feel valued at home. Pay attention to them and listen. Be a good friend and lead by example. Take an active interest in their interests and encourage them to follow their passions. Don’t over praise or be too overbearing, let them seek opportunities on their own to engage in the activities they enjoy and lend a helping hand when needed. Let them take healthy risks and take responsibility. The more they can self-motivate and problem solve on their own the better off they will be in the long run. They will develop more confidence knowing they have the ability to make good choices and be self-sufficient. Make sure they know they are always loved unconditionally and encourage them to follow through on tasks they begin.
- Reward them on a job well done and help them overcome problem areas. Kids who have low self-esteem may doubt their abilities or give up and quit something. Instill confidence in them and explain everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and challenges to overcome. Make sure they are taking on those challenges, rather than avoiding them. However, make sure they are also leaving room to excel at the things they are really good at and enjoy. Build their confidence through the natural gifts they have and taking pride in their accomplishments. They should feel capable and accept themselves when they fail and bounce back from mistakes. Today I tried to jump on a log but I missed so I’ll try a little bit harder tomorrow.
The more they understand that the bullying isn’t really about them but more about the bully they’ll feel better in their own skin. If you have a bully, what is going on that you can help with? Talk with a counselor/seek professional help. Teach self-love and love for others. When kids feel understood and accepted they are more likely to have better self esteem, so be a good role model, set goals, praise their efforts, help them learn and listen to their concerns and find active positive solutions. Developing “a can do” attitude during the worst days makes all the difference in your child being able to shine through to their best days.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult your child’s healthcare provider directly for medical advice, diagnoses, and treatments. If you have specific questions or concerns about the health or development of your child, consult your child’s physician.