Stand Up To Bullies

What do you do about bullying?

How do you handle hitting? Hair pulling?

I’ve decided that I don’t like other children. Or maybe I don’t like their parents. Whatever the cause, I don’t like it when I have to step in and stop someone else’s child from hurting mine.

I don’t like it because it’s (a) impolite to interfere with someone else’s kid, and (b) it is not my job, and (c) it is not as effective as the other parent teaching their own child.  I don’t want to step in because I can’t guarantee that it won’t result in the other parent screaming at me. Ideas about parenting are so incredibly variable.

At the same time, I can’t just sit back and do nothing. Maybe I could if Fiona were a different child or had more practice standing up for herself, but she’s not that child. When someone snatches, she either explains sharing or just lets it go and walks away. When they hit or push, she walks away.

When she got her hair pulled yesterday, that’s what she tried to do. Walk away. The other little girl didn’t let go. I watched Fiona’s face scrunch up in pain and I intervened. I told the other little girl, “No. No pulling hair.”  I admit, I was close to yelling. I untangled her hand from Fiona’s hair and removed Fiona.

I explained to Fiona that she doesn’t have to do what other children want her to and that she can say “No, No pulling hair” really loud if someone is pulling her hair.  She chased after the little girl yelling, “No pull hair!”, then went back to playing away from the other child.

I’m trying to teach her to stand up for herself, but it’s hard.  I don’t know if this is the right answer.  I wish other parents would just teach their kids not to hit, not to pull hair, not to shove, and not to snatch.

I want to march up to them and say, “Could you please parent your child?”  I don’t though, partially because I don’t know what the result would be. I don’t want to provoke a parent who has taken their child to the play-land because they’re at the end of their rope.

So, I’m trying to teach standing up for herself. I’m doing it now, because I’m worried about school. She’s smart and so very dramatic and so sweet, but I’m scared that she will struggle with bullies.  I have yet to meet a bully who understands anything other than direct strong opposition.

I’m terribly afraid that Fiona’s innate nature is going to put her at a disadvantage. I’m worried that her tendency to simply walk away will not stand her in good stead in a few years, though it will in adulthood.  I wonder if more exposure to other children will teach her to stand up for herself more and fight back a little.

I think it would be easier to teach her to hold back a little, than to teach her to confront. I’m not great at confrontation. I, too, would rather just walk away. I know from experience that it’s not the best option.

I’m looking for ideas. How do I teach my gentle little girl to stand up for herself? How do I teach her that she deserves, and should expect, respect and gentleness from those around her? How do I teach her to insist that others treat her well?  How do you start the process of helping a child stand up to bullies?



One thought on “Stand Up To Bullies

  1. I remember when I was little my mother had us watch this video called Strong kids, Safe kids. The biggest thing it taught me was not to be afraid to scream out my own frustration/victimization/ unwillingness to accept assault. At the time a lot of the video was emphasizing stranger danger, which we now know today probably set a lot of children up to accept mistreatment from acquaintances that they would have objected to from strangers. But the video did have a strong emphasis on being able to verbalize the word No. As loud as necessary until the person stops, or someone can hear you and intervene.

    Fiona is gentle, but she also has a strong sense of self. Keep reaffirming that. You are doing a good job. And don’t be afraid to tell a parent off for Fiona’s sake. You won’t know the outcome til you try, and you might make a friend in the process of another mother looking for help/answers/relief. I love you.

Talk to me, Baby!

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