I don’t want my child to be bullied. Nor do you.
We are afraid of bullying. We are afraid because we know how terrible it feels to be bullied.
We know this because at some stage or the other of our lives – all of us have been bullied.
Childhood bullying is a much talked about topic and so we focus on bullying in schools and playgrounds. But you know as well as I do – that bullying does not end with childhood.
Bullying happens at the workplace, bullying happens in marital relationships. There is the possibility of being bullied in family relationships, in friendships and in every situation in life that involves another person.
No parent ever plans to rear a child who will become an easy victim for a bully. But in many cases without ever intending to – we weave the very characteristics that bullies are looking for into the inner fabric of our child’s personality.
Bullying is a mind game. And if we don’t want our children to be bullied – we must fortify their minds against bullies.
As parents we wield immense power. With our words and actions – brick by brick, we build our children’s personalities.
Be careful not to say the following things because they can create cracks in your child’s personality.
“What is wrong with you? Can’t you ever do anything right? You are useless!”
When we demean and criticise our children like this, criticism becomes their inner voice. Such children begin to believe that there is so much wrong with them that they become easy targets for anyone who wants to bully them. With our unthinkingly uttered words – we destroy their self-esteem.
Make sure you build your child’s self-esteem by emphasizing that life is fun only when we embrace and overcome difficulty and that failure is a part of the journey, not its end.
“Why can’t you do this? Everyone else is able to do it.”
Comparisons that we make with the intention of motivating our children to do better – only makes them feel inferior because they are different. Bullies target those who are ashamed because they are different. And a child who believes that he is inferior because he is different is easy prey for any bully.
Every moment of every parent child interaction must focus on how unique and special children are – because they are different from everyone else
“How could you do this – what will other people say” or “How could you do this – what will other people think”
Bullying is a mental game and one of the commonest ways a bully threatens and coerces a victim into submission - is by playing on his fear of what others will think or what others will say about an incident or a characteristic. Bullies use this fear. But this fear is created and established in the minds of children by their parents.
It is impossible to read the thoughts and minds of others. And teaching children to torture themselves by imagining what someone else is thinking is useless. It is impossible to know what someone else is thinking and even more impossible to change that - so why bother.
Do your bit to eliminate bullying
Bullies are cowards. They never target the strong or the brave.
We can prevent and eliminate bullying. And we can do that by bringing up our children to be strong and brave. We must tell children to love themselves and take pride in who they are and what they have.
Let us teach our children to accept, acknowledge and take pride in their flaws and differences before a bully comes along and convinces them that they should be ashamed.
Let us eliminate bullying by ensuring that there are no more victims.