“My kid isn’t mean, he/she is a sweetheart!” “Where is this coming from?” “Kids will be kids” “Your child is overreacting.” “My kid didn’t mean it.” “My kid is just cranky today.”– Parent excuses
Planting the Seed:
Bullying can come in all shapes and forms and can also be misinterpreted by the word alone. Getting down to the nitty gritty of it, your child is mean and is harming others emotionally and/or physically- and get this, they might not know they are doing it! Who knows, your kid might be one kind kid, but struggle with social cues or their feelings. You may not even be considering that your child is a bully right now, or you might not think anything more than your child is just angry and that it is just a phase. The scale of this issue can get so deep and so complex and can lead to many opinions and arise by pointing fingers, but have you ever taken a step back and thought, hey! maybe it’s me?
It all starts with you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you at fault first hand, but it is your responsibility to give the child the greatest understanding and ease that they can receive. There is a circle in your child’s life and it’s the closest circle that affects your child the most. You, their biological dad/mom, their stepmom, stepdad, uncle, aunt, your best friend since grade school they call “auntie”, cousin, grandparent. This is your child’s circle, people they’re expected to trust.
We’re all trying to figure out where we can place the band-aid on this issue, and as we are growing as a society we are also becoming more isolated. Cyberbullying is becoming more of an issue. Neglect is becoming more of an issue- and it will only get worse in this generation to come. By providing your child with greater communication skills, and by this, I mean personable. It can help with higher self-esteem and charisma with surrounding peers. By teaching your child how to interpret and process emotion, it can provide your child with a greater understanding of empathy for others.
Feeding your plant
Rather than being an upset parent, or a sad parent, you should take it at a different angle and be a supportive and understanding parent. This sounds a lot easier said than done, but treat this as a milestone and grow as a family by introducing problem-solving to your child.
- “What’s wrong?” Give your child the opportunity and comfort to allow them to express themselves freely to you. This might require time and trust from them and the consistency and patience from you.
- “What had made you feel like this?” This can take a lot of interpreting on your part. Your child could be scared to fully express themselves, so you might have to get creative. Example: My daughter has “bad dreams” This could be her interpreting her putting into words on how she’s feeling. She’s telling me what happens in the dream as a metaphor, even though she doesn’t know what a metaphor is.
- “Do you understand this feeling or problem?” The feeling that they can be expressing they might not understand. Anxiety, anger, irritation, isolation. They might not know what they want, and by wants I mean needs. If they are demanding a form of attention, the feeling might start with anxiety that leads to irritation, then anger, then end in feeling isolated.
- “How do you think we should fix it?” With the example expressed above, you already know the feeling. Asking them how they should be handling the situation the best that they can provide your child with an opinion and a voice that is heard. In essence, opening up communication, importance, value, and confidence in their decision making.
- “Do you know what I think might help?” Follow up their ideas by providing your suggestions on how to make the situation better. This can help distinguish morals and weighing out choices in which is the best to make.
- “I’m proud of you!” Allowing your child to problem solve on their own and giving them as much credit as they deserve in this because let’s face it. This is a huge accomplishment for them.
Your child may not know all the answers to any of these questions, because the younger they are the less they understand on expressing themselves. They will lack the vocabulary and can’t put much into words. So knowing your child is a huge tool into understanding where they are coming from, so they can understand where you’re coming from. Analogies and metaphors could be a helpful tactic- The simpler the better.
We as parents should take higher strides for our future (our kids). Not just for our sake, but for theirs. We’re paving something out extraordinary for them. They have all of the easiest resources and technology available to them making life that much easier. We work hard so they don’t have to? Wrong! It’s nice to think because we love them so darn much. Becoming a decent human being and the best being they can be is and always will be work for any individual. To this day I, myself still strive for that- As we all do! So when trying to really understand what’s going with your child, and you’re done with all the investigative work. Try problem-solving internally, rather than externally, and start with yourself and your Child’s close circle.