Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Better Ideas than Bully Proofing Your Child

The truth is I haven't bully proofed my children. I haven't even tried. Bullying isn't fun and it can be dangerous. I remember how defeating and scary it felt, don't you? Bully proofing isn't the answer though.

How to help your child overcome bullying

Bully proofing isn't the answer, but there are somethings that you can do to help your child overcome the effects of bullying. The term bully proofing implies that there is something you can do to totally escape the experience of being bullied. Are you going to isolate your child, or follow them around, threatening anyone who dares hurt them? You and your child would be come the bullies. Bully proofing isn't the answer, but there are things you can do to help your child overcome the effects of bullying.

5 Better ideas than bully proofing

1. Be at school. I was taking advantage of my schools open seating policy when I noticed that my child was making an odd seating choice. If I hadn't been there, I may never have noticed that there was an issue that needed to be addressed.

Helping in the classroom has also allowed me to get acquainted with my child's classmates. Often I can pick up dynamics that my child is missing, which allows me to coach them later.

2. Listen when they talk. This can be tough. One child likes to talk right off the bus, another at bedtime. It seems like there is always something important that needs to be said when we need to get out the door.

Be attentive, even to seemingly insignificant comments. Children don't always know how to communicate in difficult social situations. When you start probing, you may find that the seemingly random comment was actually the introduction of something major.

In order to ward off bullies, children need confidence. One of the best ways to build that confidence is to let them know that you think what they say has value. More importantly, confidence will keep your child from becoming the bully.

3. Coach your child to use appropriate social skills. Remember the story of the child who helped the butterfly by ripping open the chrysalis? The butterfly failed to develop its own strength and never flew. The same thing can happen to our children.

Adult work places have the same social dynamics as public schools. If your child can deflect playground insults, she is well on her way to being able to handle crude comments from her coworkers.

Strategies to reinforce with your child include, saying "no", seeking a compromise, and appealing to authority.

4. Contact teachers. Of course, the situation may be more like a butterfly being chased by a hungry bird than breaking out of a chrysalis. Begin by asking for insight to coach your child.

5. Have compassion. When my sweet child runs up to the car sporting a bandage, something clicks inside and I desperately want to make sure she is never harmed again. My mind jumps from homeschooling to what I want to tell that principal.

Fortunately, I called my sister instead. As I vented, she made a very perceptive statement, "Sounds like a classic bully." Who is a classic bully? The child with a learning disability, the child whose parents in trouble with the law, the child who is pawned off on a resentful older sibling after school. Would you really go after that child with all your adult gusto? Of course not.

I need to make sure that my child is learning the needed coping skills, and in extreme cases is given protection. However, I don't need need to become a bully, and I don't want my child to become a bully, and that's why I choose not to bully proof.

How to help your child overcome bullying

The other bloggers from the Bloggers for Public Education group are talking about bullying today. Check out what these wise moms have to say.

One tip to protect form bullying from Planet Smarty Pants

Teach your child how to choose the right friends from Resourceful Mama

Books about friends and bullies from Mama Smiles

Simple anti-bullying activity from Books and Giggles

Mommy, am I being bullied? by Three Dinosaurs


  1. I love to have lunch with my kids. It helps me stay connected and observe.

  2. These are great tips! I don't really think bully-proofing is possible, anyway.

    1. Thank you! I agree with you. Bullying is unavoidable, but we do have control of our responses.

  3. Great suggestions! I love that you are raising your children to be strong and confident, as well as kind.You seem to have a very balanced approach to bullying and that is just what kids need today!


I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.