The quick answer is: YES.
You see, a child is made fun of or bullied every day by the same kids saying the same thing. Usually, a bully will pick some trait or weakness on his/her victim and expoit it. And they’ll exploit that same trait or weakness every day. Whether it’s because your child is taller, or shorter, or has bigger ears, or wears glasses, or is smarter, or not as smart, or has acne, or is of a different ethnicity, or on and on and on… They will get made fun of for that same trait all the time. It’s up to us to help our children through it.
For example, have you ever been in an argument with your significant other or your boss. And then you walk away and say to yourself “Oh, man! If I had just said that one thing, it would’ve changed everything!”. Well, we’re going to teach our children to say that one thing.
Here’s what you do:
Your child has come home and said “So & so said that I have big ears!” Well, my guess is that if he’s telling you, it got under his skin. And tomorrow he’s going to go to school and those same kids are going to say the same thing or something similar to get a rise out of your child. Bullying 101. So, instead of saying things like “Sticks and stones…” or “It’s just part of growing up…”, or worse yet, lie to him and say “No, honey. You don’t have big ears.” We need to take a different approach. Say to him, “What could you have said to get out of that situation, feel good about yourself, and walk away without escalating the scene?” Of course you’re going to phrase it with age appropriate words so your child will understand.
Now that gets the juices flowing. What COULD he have said to get himself out of the situation? Well, here are a few off the top of my head:
- “People with big ears are proven to be smarter than the rest of the population.” (can imagine your 6 year old saying that?)
- “People with big ears have bigger brains.”
- “I have big ears so I can hear everything everbody says. It’s my superpower!”
Once you have a few, write them down. Now, you’re going to role-play with your child. You’ll be the bully. Now say to him “Look, it’s big ears!” Your child can now look on his list and be armed with a come-back that’ll get him out of the situation with his own self respect intact. Have your child memorize the list. The next day when he/she goes to school, he/she’ll have the confidence to walk right past the bullies. In fact, may even look forward to it.
This is, of course, only one solution to one problem. Bullying is a multi-dimensional problem and calls for a multitude of solutions. Keep reading up on it. I’ll be post as much as I can as quick as I can here to help.
I appreciate your comments.
Dedicated to reducing bullying at your school!
John Abrams – www.AmazingSchoolAssemblies.com
Southern California’s Top Elementary School Assembly Performer