To begin with, it would help immensely to look at what the word ‘bullying’ means and what is it to bully:
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘Bully’:
‘Someone who hurts or frightens someone who is smaller or less powerful, often forcing them to do something that they do not want to’
Further to this the next question that arises is why would someone want to bully another person and where does such behaviour come from?
Bullying can give a person a false sense of power, maybe some children may fit in with another group of children as a result of bullying or maybe it makes the bullying child become ‘the popular one’.
In some cases, children that bully have their own internal issues in their home environment and seek consolation in such unhealthy ways. Often it is children who are hurting themselves that hurt other children, but this by no means makes it acceptable and is not the healthy way to address their problems.
You may feel that all of this is not relevant to you since your child has never experienced such problems. Remember there is always the possibility that your child may have been bullied and you do not know of this and it can happen in the future. It is very important that we prepare our children for all situations in life, since bullying is something that can also happen in adult life. Unfortunately, these things are not just confined to childhood.
So, what can we do to empower our children against the prospect of being bullied?
Model Confident and Assertive Behaviour
If you always back down in problematic situations and are always pushed around by those around you, then the chances are your children will also do the same, they will pick up this trait from you.
Show your children through your own behaviour how to stick up for yourself and be more confident and assertive whilst maintaining a respectful manner. Your children will follow your footsteps.
Keep a close bond
Maintain a close friendship with your children, talk to them about your day and also ask them about theirs. The closer your child is to you the more they will feel comfortable to talk to you about anything that concerns them. It is so important that as parents we work hard in the early years to cultivate a friendly open relationship with our children, so that they always feel comfortable to come to us with anything and they know that we will give them our time.
Teach your child to assertive
There are many ways that you can help your child be more assertive. Teach your child to use assertive language in difficult situations such as:
‘Its not okay for you to hurt me’
‘Leave me alone’
Teach your child by role play where you can pretend to be the bully and then ask your child to reply to the things you say in an assertive and respectful way. Tell them to raise their voice slightly and use a firm tone of voice when addressing the bully.
Talk to your child about how there is nothing wrong with asking for help from teachers or parents when you need it.
Don’t hesitate to help your child
Your job as a parent is to protect your child and do whatever you have to do to help them grow in confidence. After you have taught your children about being confident and assertive, do not feel as though you have to leave them to deal with the situation by themselves. Speak to their teacher if the bullying is happening at school or speak the bully child’s parents to help resolve the matter.
In doing so you will be showing your child that you are there for them and you have their back and that they can always rely on you.
Help others too
It is so important that we speak to our children about being caring and considerate towards others too. We should encourage our children to help other children if they see that they are being bullied.
In doing so we would be raising empathetic children who care for others and have a high level of confidence too
May Allah protect our children and help us raise them in the best way.