Ways You Can Lessen the Likelihood of Your Kids Being Bullied
You want your kids to be safe and happy and free from bullying. While you likely cannot bully-proof your kids, there are some steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied.
Bullies tend to pick on kids that are identified as “different”. Disabled kids, overweight kids, kids who are dressed in less-than-trendy clothing, and other “different” kids are often targets for bullies. To lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied, ask your kids’ schools to require sensitivity training on such differentiators, speak openly with your neighbors about valuing differences and what makes your kids’ differences special and wonderful (i.e., your Down’s Syndrome child’s warm and loving personality), and orient others to the perspective that we are all “different” in some way and what joy can be found in embracing those differences.
Bullies tend to pick on kids that are submissive. To lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied, teach your kids to strike a healthy balance between reasonably submitting to authority (i.e., parents, teachers, etc.) and resisting unreasonable “authority” (i.e., when being bullied). Also teach your kids constructive techniques for standing up for themselves and their boundaries.
Bullies tend to pick on kids that are shy. To lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied, encourage your kids to be gregarious. Role play things that your kids can say or do to strike up easy social conversations with their peers.
Bullies tend to pick on kids that don’t have strong social support. If bullies think that school teachers, administration, parents, adult neighbors, and/or a group of friends will stand up for their intended target, then bullies tend to move on to easier targets. Therefore, to lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied, ensure that your kids and their social support system are coached on how to stand up for people being bullied, your kids’ school and social environments have safe places and people to which they can go when they feel vulnerable or bullied, and your kids’ schools have a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying and an environment that makes it feel safe for kids to report any bullying that they may experience or witness.
By following the steps above, you can lessen the likelihood of your kids being bullied.