Dealing with Bullies

March 8, 2012

 

In response to the article Raising Kids to be Kind, one of our homies asked for a post on dealing with bullies and mean kids.   As I prayed about my response, I felt lead to these suggestions:


Overworked Business Woman By Michal MarcolDon’t Act in Anger


First of all, acting in anger won’t help the situation.  As parents, we have an initial defense response, and it can be pretty ugly.  However, hurling out insults and threats doesn’t get us anywhere.  In fact, it reduces us to the level of bullying that we are so hurt by ourselves.  Lashing out in anger just doesn’t help.  So…


Let Your Emotions Cool


Let your emotions cool by seeking God in prayer before you confront the situation.  Ask Him to help you see the circumstances from His perspective.  Ask Him to help you cope through your own hurt.  Release your own insecurities to Him.  Then, ask him to help you comfort and advise your child.

 

Pray Together and Talk with Your Child


Ask God to bring peace into the situation.  Ask Him to comfort your child through a very real and very painful problem.  Each situation in dealing with bullies will be as unique the bullies themselves.  Together with your child, ask God to highlight what is causing this specific problem and to help you come up with a solution.
Help your child understand that dealing with bullies is a pretty common problem.  Most people have had some sort of situation that involves a form of bullying.  Encourage your child to know that it is a pretty normal part of dealing with people.  However, also make sure she knows that it is NOT okay. 

 

Get the Whole Perspective


Ask your child to give you the whole story about the bullying situation.  Is there anything that your child is doing that may be hurting the other child or causing the bully to react negatively?  Find out exactly what the bully is doing and/or saying, and look for any patterns that are related.

 

It may help to get help from another adult who may be involved in the situation.  Xander once complained that a young girl at church was mean to her.  However, she was never able to give me any specific mean behavior.  So, I asked a trusted church leader to observe the situation and get back with me.  I didn’t seek any action at that point, I just asked for a third-party perspective.  This helped us avoid an unnecessary confrontation.

 

Come up with a Plan


Come up with a plan to help your child deal with the bully.  Each situation will be unique. If there seems to be something he is doing causing the bullying, encourage him to alter his behavior.  If there is no connection, encourage him to try setting firm boundaries with the bully:  “You know, your words are very hurtful, and that is not an okay way to talk to me.”

 

Continue to pray together frequently and talk about the situation until it is resolved.  Afterwards, remember to occasionally check on the bully problem.  This shows your child that you care, and that you are serious about supporting her!

 

If the Bullying Continues


If the bullying continues, you should seek intervention from an adult in charge.  You may need to schedule a meeting between the two families with a mediator present.  Insist that parents are present, and try to set a mature example in dealing with the other parent.  Release your anger and frustration to God, pray before the meeting, and great them with an open mind and a forgiving attitude.

 

 

RESOURCES:


Two books that I have read are helpful in coping with anger and dealing with people.  The Bait of Satan by John Bevere has been essential for me in learning to release my anger to God and forgive people.  Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend taught me to deal with people and set clear and firm boundaries.

 

 

 

 

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