Knowing that your child is being bullied is one of the hardest things to deal with as a parent. So many emotions go through our minds; from what we should do to stop it to how can we help our child gain back the self-confidence that he lost through being bullied. One question you may find yourself asking is how to empower your child in front of a bully. How can you help your child stand up for himself, or at least minimize the impact of the bully’s words and actions? The answer depends quite a bit on your child’s personality. Some children can take a more assertive approach, while others are non-confrontational in nature and may need subtler forms of empowerment. Check out these tips in how to empower your child in front of a bully and use them as inspiration to find the right method for your child.
Ways to Empower Your Child in Front of a Bully
1. Be self-confident…or at least fake it well. A child who is self-confident may still be the victim of bullying, but he is better equipped to handle it because he knows the words aren’t true. Bullies lose their power when they can’t break their target. If you child projects an aura of self-confidence, even when a bully is calling him names, he stops being an easy target and may become too much of a challenge to the bully. Unfortunately, self-confidence is often broken down by constant bullying. While you’re working on restoring that, teach your child how to fake it by walking tall and proud. Practice it at home every day.
2. Walk away with power and conviction. When bullies engage their targets with name-calling, they expect those targets to shrink in embarrassment and fear. Teach your child to walk calmly away, not to shrink back or run. Tossing out a simple retort such as “thanks for your opinion, have a nice day!” can really throw the bully for a loop. The goal is to project an “I really could not care less what you say about me” image that will empower your child in front of a bully.
3. Let it out at home. While you want to empower your child in front of a bully, you also need to make sure he has a chance to let out all those emotions that he’s trying to hide at the time of the bullying. Let your child know that home is a safe place to vent or cry.
4. Foster a sense of pride in being an individual. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I don’t share often. I was a frequent victim of “the mean girls” in middle school. I spent a lot of time trying to fit in, and crying at home when it didn’t work. Around age 13, I found my own identity. I was the girl who wore the crazy patterned tight and dyed her hair different colors way before it was cool. I was still picked on, even worse sometimes (I was also a vegetarian before it was “in”), but I was so secure with my own identity that it didn’t really have the impact it used to. Teach your child to be proud to be an individual, to be strong enough to go against the grain when it feels right.
5. Practice scenarios and develop a plan of defense. Walking away with a witty retort isn’t always possible. Sometimes your child gets backed into a corner and needs a way out. Practice different scenarios and give your child an arsenal of verbal tools to deal with them. It is also a good idea to set ground rules on when it is okay to physically fight back. Every parent has different opinions on this, so you’ll need to decide what works for you.
How do you empower your child in front of a bully? We’d love to hear your tips!