How to Deal with Bullying
OK, hands up whose ever been on the other end of a bully? Lots of us then. And hands up whose children have been bullied at school or elsewhere? Sadly I’d guess quite a few.
I’m in both of these categories having been bullied as a child (quite a bit actually for being rather porksome as a wee one!) and as a grown-up by a particularly narcissistic manager.
And now I’m a Mum I’m doing my best to support my own children who are already coming into contact with bullies at school. It’s the reason why I create artworks like “Be Brave, Be Bold, Be You” and “Embrace Your Inner Strange” – positive messages for both the kids and for me.
The brilliant charity “Young Minds” describes bullying as “when somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you” which is serious stuff. But little things like whispering behind hands cause lots of hurt too.
So how do we support our precious children? Here’s my “at home” checklist:
- Lead by example, no secrets, no whispering behind hands, no being mean.
- Be kind. Aways. And challenge any unkindness between family members – there is never any reason for it
- Learn ways that you can be more resilient so they can model what you’re doing.
- Have open channels of communication – nurture an environment where they feel comfy to come and talk to you. Kids are unalike to divulge information when pressed so make plenty of time for talking about not much – it’s these times when stuff comes out.
- Discuss boundaries with your kids. What’s OK and what’ not?
- Demonstrate resilience where ever you can – even if you don’t feel it – and teach this to your kids.
It’ the last step that I need a little help with and thankfully there is plenty out there to go at. “Emotionally Healthy Kids” is a great website to get stuck into packed full of smart, practical advice on how to teach your children assertiveness. Becky Goddard_Hill also offers coaching to develop strategies to support your child through tough times and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She’s also very lovely to work with.
An excellent book which Becky also recommends is “Cool, Calm & Confident” a workbook to help kids learn assertiveness skills which I’ll be ordering when I’ve finished this blog!
And lastly – my favourite podcast at the moment is “The Guilty Feminist” with Deborah Frances-White. Tune into her hilarious podcast (number 50) called “Fighting” which has the brilliant Sharon Horgan discussing how to instil a fighting spirit in girls and how she developed her own!
And remember, be brave, be bold and be you!