Oprah Winfrey has a great quote that says…
“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself and I had to make good”.
If you just read that quote for the first time, but you did not quite understand it, then I would suggest reading it again and continue reading it until the brilliance of it sinks in.
Oprah hit the nail right on the head and drove the spike home with only one blow. These are powerful words for any person to hear, but especially for a parent.
Here is a simple example of what I mean:
When children are learning to walk they fall down a lot. As a concerned parent we rush to our children, pick them up, give them a hug and a kiss and tell them something like “That’s alright, you will be okay; daddy is here for you. ”Now in the first few weeks of walking that is something that is totally understandable, however as time goes by that type of parenting behavior actually begins to hurt our children, not help them.
Instead of picking up your child every time they fall and then showering them with hugs and kisses, wait for them to stand up on their own and then praise them for getting up even though they have fallen. The difference in timing may seem small but it sends a dramatically different lesson to a child. By making this change the child learns quickly that falling down is part of life, nobody is going to pick you up, and that you are responsible for yourself. They learn that it’s up to you, if you are going to be successful at getting up.
It’s here that you may be asking yourself, “Okay, but what does this have to do with anti-bullying?” My response is, “Everything.” The quickest way to help your child is to give them as many tools as possible to keep bullies from picking on them in the first place. The simplest place to start is with their self image and confidence. If you want to build a child’s self confidence then be their mentor and guide and TEACH them how to do things. Do not do things for them. Then follow that guidance up with a big helping of rewards for overcoming adversity.
As parents, we all try to shelter our children from the bad things in this world, which is great, but we many times take that thought process too far and we inadvertently shelter our children from learning some very powerful life lessons like, “It’s not how many times you fall that matters, it’s how many times you get back up that counts. ”This teaches our kids that they are responsible for themselves and it’s up to them to “make good” in this world.
If you are truly concerned about teaching your children about how to handle a bullying situation then look at how many ways you can teach them life skill lessons each day. Also don’t hesitate to teach those lessons even if you think your child is “too young” or “won’t understand.” It’s my experience after 20 years of teaching kids that it is usually the parents’ perception of what their child can learn that is misplaced and that children are much more capable at all ages than we give them credit for. If you would like another tool to help your child with bullying issues at school you can get a free report at www.antibullyprogram.com.
About the Author
Brett Lechtenberg has been teaching anti-bully skills to children and adults for almost twenty years and is the author and creator of The Anti-Bully Program, the Anti Cyber Bully Program, and others. Learn more at Brett’s websites http://www.antibullyprogram.com or http://www.brettlechtenberg.com.
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