Against Bullying- Arm Your Kids With My Simple Advice
Against Bullying with Marisa Peer
There has been a high profile case in the US media recently about children and bullying—one that is becoming all too familiar. Twelve year old American girl Rebecca Ann Sedwick was cyber-bulled and tormented over social media and technology so severely that she committed suicide. The worst part of the story, however, is that one of her bullies seems to be wholly unaffected by guilt, going so far as to admit her role in the tragedy on her Facebook page.
Stories like this are so upsetting to me because they don’t have to happen. True, there will probably always be bullies—whether they’re on the playground or on the internet—but children and teens don’t have to allow it to torment them to the extent that it affected Rebecca.
In short, you can’t stop bullies, but you can change the way you respond to them with against bullying tactics. One of my key pieces advice in my talk “How to Mastermind Your Life in Four Easy Steps” is to not let in negative criticism. From a parenting perspective, it’s true that being vigilant about monitoring your children’s usage of social media is important; but I would argue that teaching them how to not let in harsh, destructive criticism is even more important and far more effective in the long run.
People who have low self esteem feel the need to join a group, and in a primary school context that group can often mean one that bullies other kids. They feel the need to bring other people down to build themselves up. But if you don’t let them do that—or if you teach your kids how to deflect negativity—bullies will always move on to someone that will let them. Bullies like easy targets, and confident kids are not easy targets. You must remind your kids to respond to bullying in a way that shows their self worth and self esteem is not being affected. Giving your kids that confidence starts at home. Constantly remind them that they are enough, have them focus on activities and hobbies that give them self esteem and worth, and tell them that it’s likely their bullies at school are far more miserable inside than they are. This helps arm themselves against bullying in many situations.
There will always be critical people in the world, but you don’t have to be the type of person that is affected by harsh critics—and neither do your children. You are the best role model and reminding your children that it is actually the bullies who feel bad about themselves—which is the cause of their negativity—can be empowering for them. Remind them of this daily and slowly it will have an effect on their confidence and self esteem. And don’t forget to practice my favourite affirmation (I recommend putting it around your home in places where your kids can see it): I AM ENOUGH.
For more advice on raising confident kids, see my best-selling book Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets to Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day.