Do bullies call your child names? Does he come home crying? Look inside to find out how you can strengthen his character and deal with bullies. Anna Julia Cooper once said, “Bullies are always cowards at heart and may be credited with a pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey.
Let’s say your Weston, age 8, frequently comes home in tears. The neighborhood bullies call him “baby, wimp, stupid,” and other names we can’t mention. Weston always reacts with tears.
Bullies are cowards at heart. They have an instinct for sensitive kids. Your Weston is the perfect prey. Everyday it’s the same sad merry-go-round. Your child ends up disliked, picked on, and lonely. How can you strengthen his character?
First Parenting Tip – Ask him what names they call him:
Respond by saying, “So they call you names. Names can never hurt you.” Teach him the same jingle you learned as a kid.
“Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.”
Tell him to say this to himself often and to bullies when needed.
Second Parenting Tip – Explain what’s really happening:
“Weston, you’re on a merry-go-round. When they call you names, you listen. They tease. You argue. They tease some more. You cry. They laugh when you run home in tears. They win because you proved they were right. Would you like to get off this merry-go-round?”
Weston says, “Yes.”
“What would happen if you didn’t listen, didn’t cry, and didn’t come home in tears? What would happen if you got off the merry-go-round?”
Listen to Weston’s answer. If he says, “I don’t know.” Tell him to guess.
Third Parenting Tip – Talk about bullies and magnets:
“You and the bullies are opposites. They’re words are harsh. You’re feelings are sensitive. Like magnets your feelings stick to their words because opposites attract. What happens when you put the same ends of two magnets together?”
Weston says, “They can’t stick together.”
“That’s right. Next time make sure their names don’t stick to you. Realize their mean words describe who they are and not who you are. Like a magnet, pull away from them. Don’t let their words touch your feelings.”
Fourth Parenting Tip – Create a character building chart together:
Add the words at the top of the chart, “I Ignored the Bullies.” Get some stars. Each time Weston comes home without crying, discuss how he did it. Then give him a star for his chart.
Fifth Parenting Tip – Count how many weeks it takes for the bullies to find a different victim:
Discuss how changing his behavior changed the bullies’ behavior toward him. When he didn’t react the way they expected, they looked for someone else to bully. Let Weston know how proud you are.
Conclusion – Building Character When Bullies Call Your Child Names:
Bullies know which kids are sensitive and fun to tease. When you have a sensitive child you need to strengthen him on the inside. He must learn how to ignore bullies, not let mean names stick to him, and he must change his own behavior. If you can help him do that, you’ll be teaching him a valuable lesson for life. He’ll never become someone else’s easy prey. He’ll be a strong person with character.
Jean Tracy, MSS publishes a Free Parenting Newsletter. Get yours at http://www.KidsDiscuss.com
Is your child lonely? Does he need friends? Pick up Jean’s Social Skills Kit for Kids at http://www.kidsdiscuss.com/parent_resource_center.asp?pr_id=kd011. Watch your child turn loneliness into happiness.
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