Bullying is a difficult topic for many parents to think about. Parents want to protect kids from any threat that comes their way, but bullying is especially difficult to deal with for a number of reasons. It usually happens out of view of adults and by the time it gets bad enough for most parents to notice a lot of damage has already been done. The thing about bullying is that parents have to prepare kids to deal with bullies themselves, but they aren’t always sure where to start.
Preparing kids to turn into adults who can stand up for themselves starts when they are little. When they have an emotional outburst, coach them through it and help them understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling it. Even just naming feelings goes a long way toward understanding that feelings are valid and shouldn’t be suppressed.
It’s also important to teach kids that their feelings and wants are legitimate. This starts with allowing them the freedom to choose who they want to interact with and how. Don’t force your kids to hug people they don’t want to or to play with kids they don’t like. Autonomy is a major part of developing a healthy sense of self as well as emotional maturity.
Teaching kids how to use these skills to determine the actual seriousness of any given problem is the next step. Did a video game glitch and crash? That’s just a tiny hiccup and it doesn’t require any response. Did you see someone being threatened with physical violence on the playground? That’s pretty serious and requires adult intervention.
Preparing kids to understand and respond to different situations appropriately goes a long way toward creating emotionally mature adults who will thrive and be allies to others. Learn more about raising strong children below.