Just a few weeks ago the whole of Australia was gutted by the death of Dolly. The gorgeous little 14 year old that took her own life after being bullied for so long. She was trapped and didn’t see any other way out. It’s stories like these that leave me feeling suffocated as a parent. There are so many things we can’t protect our kids from, and just the mere thought of any child suffering makes me want to be sick.
Bullying is one of the things high on my list of worries when I think about my kids being out there in the big wide world without me by their side to protect them.
No one is exempt from bullying; in one form or another it will smack each of us in the face at some point in our lives. At times, I was bullied as a kid in primary school, sure…we could say it was normal ‘girl’ clique-y issues happening in the play ground but it was a factor for me and my confidence for the entire time I was in primary school. My only saving grace was that I got to go home to a loving family where I was totally cut off from it. Kids today are smothered everywhere they turn, at school and at home. Social media is a beast no one can rule and it’s bringing so many kids down.
My son is 6 and was in his first year of school in 2017 and already he was confronted with bullying. Naively, I thought kids were too young to know how to bully when they were in Prep…but I was wrong.
No one is exempt from bullying, in one form or another it will smack each of us in the face at some point.
We had to learn how to deal with bullying much earlier than I had anticipated and I found a solid support in The Blossom Program while I was navigating through how to teach my son to respond to the bully and also how to not be ‘guilty by association.’ Hayley Roper is the founder of The Blossom Program, which was developed to help kids going through a hard time. To teach how to correctly deal with, and overcome challenging issues relating to bulling, peer-pressure, anxiety, depression, body image, self-esteem, broken families, social media and much more.
The program is a real cracker and in light of school going back soon, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips that I have learnt to help with bullying.
Here are some ace tips to help your child if they’re nervous about going back to school because of bad experiences in the past…or just great tips for how to manage it in your household.
- Bully-proof your household. Lead by example!
- Don’t gossip about people with your friends in front of your children and always speak nicely about others.
- Don’t allow television shows that condone bullying or shaming in anyway (most reality TV shows).
- Always focus on your child’s positive attributes
- Encourage communication
- Always be empathetic
- Limit social media and make sure your children understand that social media is not ‘real life’ and people are only displaying their highlight reels
- Avoid arguing and poor behaviour with your partner in front of your children
- Keep them healthy, active and well nourished. If they feel good, they will have a positive mind-set.
- Little things like this can not only help your child from being a bully, but it will also help them to avoid and/or cope with bullying.
The 4 main aspects of bullying:
- If you are being bullied:
- Try to become resilient to bullying – it is important to understand it doesn’t actually have anything to do with you (it will become easier with practice).
- This in turn will stop you from being a ‘bully target’ (a bully doesn’t take too much interest in someone that is unaffected by them).
- Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good and just know that the bullying will pass (your years in the school yard are a very small snippet of the amazing life you have ahead of you!)
- If you are the bully:
There are different reasons why kids bully.
- Sometimes it’s because they need a victim – someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker which makes them feel more important, popular or in control.
- Any form of bullying is just a reflection of how the bully is feeling.
- Negative actions come from a negative space.
- Recognise the above and communicate to someone your feelings.
- Bully by-standing
- In most schools there is generally one main bully and then their circle of by-standers.
- It is important that your child doesn’t get caught up in treating people the same way the bully does.
- What goes around comes around; therefore we want to act with kindness and empathy toward every human.
- If the bully doesn’t like this and stops being a friend, then that is not true friendship.
- Encourage your child to surround themselves with positive, warm and kind people and to treat everyone the way they would like to be treated.
- Social Media
- Encourage your child to limit and only use social media at certain times of the day and to be present as much as possible.
- Teach them to get caught up in their own amazing lives – not other people’s social media lives.
- Teach your children not to compare themselves to others and to never make assumptions about other’s lives especially based on social media.
- It is most often only a highlight reel of peoples’ lives and we can only hope they are as happy as their social media lives portray them to be but often this might not be the case. Being happy in ‘real’ life is what is important.
- Teach your children also, if they are using social media, to use it for good things only.
- Deliver positive messages and only ever make positive comments toward others.
- Remember, every action has energy behind it and comes back around in some way – so only put positive energy out there.
- The people that are present in the real world are the happy ones!
If you would like to know a little more info on The Blossom Program – have a read below.
The overall aim with The Blossom Program is to create happy, healthy and resilient young people.
Negative behaviour results only from negative feelings – happy children don’t try to bring each other down.
The program provides an education and insight for teachers, parents and children into how to overcome the typical challenges they face, with ease and positivity, as well as empowering young people to act with integrity, follow their dreams, surround themselves with the right people and to live happy, healthy and positive lives.
For more information on The Blossom Program click here.
Aussie actress Tammin Sursok spoke to us about her experience with being bullied as a child. Have a listen below, then head here to subscribe to our podcast.