Bullying can be devastating to a child’s or teen’s self-esteem. And the damage can last a lifetime. It can have a negative effect on their progress even into adulthood.
No, it isn’t your fault. You and your child are innocent in this, but you still must do some damage control.
The parents of bullies should teach them kindness and empathy, yes. However, the targets’ parents also have work to do- they must teach their children confidence. Neither side gets out of this without some degree of responsibility.
I realize that it isn’t fair that most of the confidence-building work must be done on the target’s end. But nothing in life is fair and we can’t change that reality. We, as parents of bullied children still have to take action. We still must do our part to ensure our children’s confidence stays in tact so that they’ll be able to flourish. Therefore, it’s up to us to tip the mental health balance more in the target’s favor.
Teaching targets confidence involves teaching them never to look to bullies, or anyone for that matter, for confirmation of their worth and validity. Most of all, it means creating experiences for them that naturally balance out all the negative experiences they face at school. To neglect this work would be devastating for our children!
How do you do that?
By giving them opportunities to make friends outside their toxic school environment.
For instance, they can join a martial arts class, a scout troop, or go to summer camp, to name a few. There are so many options available for targets to forge lasting friendships. And you will be amazed at just how it will help build their confidence and self-esteem.
Yes, kind words, encouragement, and verbally re-enforcing positivity to your child is important. But giving them the positive experiences that back up your well-meaning words will work doubly well because it will serve as confirmation that they really are good and normal kids and give the self-esteem that extra boost.
So, give your bullied child fun, exciting, and positive experiences that they can look back on with confidence and assurance! They will thank you for it later! I guarantee it!
With knowledge comes empowerment!