We have all dreaded the day our child has a bully. What can be worse than someone breaking your child's heart, tearing them down, embarrassing them, and maybe even making them cry in front of others? Horrifying to imagine, right? Well, take a deep breath and think of it this way.
1. It teaches resilience. God knows one day your child is going to be up against a difficult boss or an adult bully of some sort. If they start learning how to deal with difficult people now, they will be better able to handle what's thrown at them as an adult. Getting up, wiping yourself off, and holding your head high is a great thing to learn at any age.
2. It builds confidence. Nothing builds confidence like someone trying to knock it down. If your child takes a bully's comment to heart (and we all have!) it will force them to take inventory of themselves and think about the person they truly are. A script might look something like this, "Is the bully right? Am I a dork? Am I stupid? No, I am smart and I have friends that like me! I am funny and helpful!" Who knows, it's possible that building self esteem and confidence is something your child might be able to thank their bully for later in life!
3. It teaches problem solving skills. If your child encounters someone who is challenging them, they must figure out how to use their resources (parents, friends, teachers, or their own capabilities) to solve the problem. There are many choices a child can make when faced with this dilemma. Even if they choose a path that doesn't solve their problem, they are still learning, growing, and maturing. Don't underestimate your child or give up on them! Even if they don't handle the situation effectively this time, they are still learning what works and what doesn't work for the future. Remember, life is a journey.
4. It teaches them self discipline. A bully is someone who knows how to provoke to get a response. Handling a situation in a calm and cool manner is much more effective than reacting impulsively. If your child can improve this important skill, they will be better able to handle many other challenges life will hand them.
5. It encourages a child to learn self defense skills. People look at my opinion on this one in different ways but as a previous martial arts teacher, I believe that being able to physically defend yourself is an important skill. You may think (and hope) that your child will never have to defend themselves physically, but there's a good chance that they will have to one day and being prepared (just in case) is very important. Once they are strong and skilled in this area, they should refer to #4 for knowing when and how to use their skills.
Bullying is a very serious problem in our society today and should not be taken lightly or ignored by anyone. There are many articles on the web to help you find resources. Google 'my child has a bully' and you will find a plethora of resources and articles for parents. Yes, it is a difficult part of childhood, but your child can learn a very big life lesson with the right resources and tools to help them through it. The most important tool they can have is SIMPLY to have someone telling them that they matter and that they love them (and that it you!) Having good self esteem will get them through these challenges fairly easily. Remember, children are extremely resilient in general and most likely, it is hurting you more than it is hurting them. Be strong and supportive and one day, you will both look back and laugh about it!