Bullying: The Beginning, Middle, and End.
Few things feel as disarming and disturbing as being bullied. As much as we hope our child is spared, they need to be prepared and resilient. You can teach them that bullying has a beginning, middle, and end, and that their power lies in how they respond.
The beginning: the bully’s action
The moment in time when a person bullies another is the beginning. It’s painful and often unexpected. The most important thing for you to share with your child is that they hold no responsibility for the bully’s behavior. It happened outside of your child’s sphere of influence. It says nothing about your child.
The middle: responding to the bully
Helping your child accept what they can and can’t control in their lives enables them to realize their power and limitations. They have 100% ownership over the grades they earn, the words they speak, how they participate in activities, complete chores, and treat their friends. On the other hand, they can’t control the homework teachers assign, the car their parents drive, if they’re invited to a party, or bullies.
Thankfully, they have control over how they respond to a bully. The bully’s purpose is to disrupt and gain power, but your child can choose to disengage, while keeping their cool and dignity.
The middle is where your child holds the cards. The middle is where they remind themselves that they don’t care what the bully says because he’s not a trusted person. The middle is where self-confidence erases doubt. The middle is where their voice becomes the voice of reason.
The end: processing it and letting it go.
You already know not to catastrophize your child’s experiences. And you know how to calmly help your child unpack what happened and validate their feelings: insulted by a racial slur, embarrassed by private information made public, ridiculed for tripping. When we help our children name and accept their feelings, they feel understood and don’t drown in their emotions. They can then move on to cognitive processing. With the decision to let go of the weight of the hurt, their mojo is restored, and they are empowered to thrive.
You want your kids confidently equipped to handle all that life throws at them. By helping your child realize that there is a beginning, middle and an end to bullying, they can move through those stages. In the process they earn additional layers of resilience and character: they gain grace accepting that the bully does not have power over them, freedom realizing they are not a victim, and wisdom acknowledging they can choose how they respond.
©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You 2022 All rights reserved