I HATE bullies! I also hate the word "hate", so when you hear me say it, you know I'm really at the end of my rope.
Here's the thing about bullying: we, as parents, have to figure out whether to step in or to step back. And, that's not an easy thing to do.
Because, the truth is, if our child is getting bullied, what we really want to do is punch the bully in the face! Or, at least throw the brat over our knees and spank the crap out of them.
Okay, so we can't do that. (Darn!)
Which brings us back to the first two options...teach our kids how to handle bullies or step in some other way.
Ever tried going to the bully's parents? Often, they're worse than the kids! So, with that option out, what's a parent to do?
If we step in, we could embarrass our kids even more...but, surely we can't sit back and let someone bully our child?
We have to teach them how not to let a bully "take their power". Ultimately, each and every one of us has the ability to give someone the power to upset us or not.
I'm not saying that this is an easy thing to teach. Even as adults, we often allow people to upset us, get on our nerves, get the best of us.
I've learned several ways how to not let people get the best of me that I have tried to teach my kids, but the best "technique" so far is one that I'm not proud of.
But it works!
When someone is truly pissing me off with their high-up-on-a-pedestal, I'm-better-than-thou attitude and trying to say demeaning things to me...
I simply ignore...
And think "What an asshole!"
The fact that *asshole* is a bad word has a distraction factor in the whole bullying theme. It's the truth - the bully is an asshole!
"Can we say that, Mom?" my kids ask.
"Of course not!" I tell them. "But, you can think it! And, nobody will even know."
"God will know," one of my little smarty pants reminded me.
"Yes, God will know..." I thought quickly..."But God also knows everything and he realizes that the bully is an asshole, too."
Okay, I'll say it again - I'm not a perfect mom, my parenting ways are not perfect, even the things I teach my kids are not perfect.
But they work!
The ignore part of the "technique" is the hardest part to teach.
It doesn't matter if the words aren't even remotely relevant, they still hurt.
"You're ugly." "You're slow." "Your mom is fat." Some of the stuff that comes out of kids mouths today is just rotten. "You should kill yourself."
Words are ugly.
So, focusing on building up our children's self-esteem and self-pride is vital to battling the bullies. Bullies tend to pick on children with self-esteem issues.
We need to teach our kids that what other people say about us does not make who were are. What other people think about us does not make who were are.
We have the power to decide who and what we are and who and what we become, and ultimately, it's not whether we are fat or ugly or even stupid that leads to our success - or lack of it.
In the end, success is the key word.
Those big meanies might become successful, but they can't stop my children from becoming successful unless my children give them that power!
And that's what I drill into my kids' heads.
You have the power to allow people - or disallow them - to hurt your feelings or upset you. If you don't allow people to hurt your feelings, because you have a good sense of self-esteem and faith that you will be a successful person, then you take that power away from the bully.
So, teach your children that they own their power (self-esteem, success, faith) and they can keep it or give it away. Bullies cannot take their power unless they allow it.
So, remind them to ignore a bully, and, in their mind, remind themselves that the bully is an *asshole*. (That even brings a smile to my children's faces.)
A powerless bully can no longer be a bully.