3 Tips on Bully-Proofing
Last year’s high profile bullying case in a Singapore secondary school grabbed headlines and sparked national outrage. That case came to light with a viral video, showing 2 students being hit on the head repeatedly by a school bully.
Many other bullying cases are not as well-known. But they nevertheless still have a huge negative impact on their victims.
Here are some quick tips to ensure your children have what it takes to stand up to the school bully
1. Teach them to identify bullying
Most children have been teased or playfully hit by a sibling or friend at some point. This is not usually harmful when done in a friendly and mutual way. Bullying can take the form of hitting, shoving, name-calling, threatening, extortion, or even by shunning the child and spreading rumours about him. These days, cyber-bullying through social media or text messaging is also possible.
DO: Teach your children to recognise when the line between play and bullying has been crossed. Let them know they can always tell you or their teacher about bullying or how they are uncomfortable about the behaviour of others. And do take them seriously when they confide in you.
2. Develop confidence and Emotional Intelligence
There isn’t one fixed way to deal with bullies. Some times, the best thing to do is just walk away. In other situations, calling out the bully and confronting the bully’s behaviour in a safe environment is the most lasting way to resolve the issue. In yet other cases, reaching out to the bully and being a friend could be a solution.
DO: Help your children to be able to understand and articulate their own emotions. If they are able to do it under normal circumstances, their ability to do so when bullied increases. This in turn frees them to be able to think of creative, firm and even compassionate ways to handle the bully.
3. Have some basic self-defence skills.
When push comes to shove, there may not be an adult near enough to stop the bullying. Do your children have the basic ability to deal with the situation before help arrives?
DO: Equip your children to handle bullies.
- Emotional Resilience. Raise the topic before it happens, and talk your children through possibilities. Check out this article with useful talking points.
- Confidence. Confident children get bullied less. Bullies tend to look for the “weakest link” and exploit that. Build confidence in your child by encouraging their interests and letting know they are dearly loved..
- Self-defence. This is about literally fighting off an aggressive bully before running to safety. A class on this could end up being invaluable life-saving skills. And they also build up a child’s confidence and self-discipline.