Creative Child

Bully-Proof Your Child with These 3 Skills

by Rebecca Eanes on May 2nd, 2017

If you’ve ever been the victim of a bully, you know too well how it feels to humiliated and overpowered. While there is no way to 100% bully-proof anyone, there are important skills we can teach our children to minimize the impact a bully has, to turn them away, and to help our children get out of sticky situations.

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Help your child build a positive social network.

Connection with caring friends and supportive adults act as a shield of sorts, giving your child strength to overcome the challenge a bully presents. In fact, being socially connected is an important factor in overall happiness. How can you help your child build this network?

  1. Keep the parent/child relationship a top priority. Maintaining a positive relationship with your child is essential. They need to know they can confide in you. Otherwise, you may never know they are being bullied. By practicing positive parenting, you can both guild your child while keeping your relationship strong. Teach and practice respectful, positive communication so that they have the skills and comfort level to talk to you about what’s going on in their lives.
  2. Foster as many positive connections as you can with relatives, friends, people at church or in other groups, etc. The bigger your child’s village is, the bigger his shield.
  3. Teach your child friendship-building social skills, such as how to introduce themselves, how to start a conversation, eye contact, showing interest, and joining a group activity.

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Give Your Child the Gift of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays an important role in our relationships, social status, success, and happiness. A child who is comfortable with her emotions and knows how to confidently handle them is less likely to be shaken by the words or actions of a bully. She is better able to move through emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and disappointment. Try these tips to increase your child’s EI.

  1. Talk about feelings. Start the discussions at an early age by helping your child verbalize what he is feeling. “You’re sad that we have to leave Grandma’s already.” “You’re upset that I won’t buy you this toy.” By naming emotions, we increase our children’s emotional vocabulary and, at the same time, validate what they are feeling.
  2. Teach regulation skills. The calm down area is a good tool for children to learn to get a grip on those big feelings. At first, you’ll need to sit in the calm down area with your child and teach her how to self-regulate. Provide sensory and calming items such as a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a calming glitter jar, books, paper and pencil, or balloons filled with playdough. Figuring out how to soothe the mind and body so that logic and reason can come back online is a critical skill that will keep children (and adults) from reacting in a negative way or lashing out and regretting it later.
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