When a child is bullying, the way to help is to apply consequences and limits, right?
Yes . . . and no.
Yes, you need to apply consequences and limits when a child is bullying. No, because that’s an incomplete solution. In addition to consequences and limits, it’s important to get to the root of the bullying behavior.
Here’s how you can help.
- First of all, stay in the solution, not the problem.
- Next, it is important to teach, practice and model love, respect and empathy.
- Take time to address the emotions with the child.
“Anger is okay, but it’s not okay to hurt yourself or others with words or actions.”
- Help the child by showing compassion.
“I want to help you. Let’s do this together.”
- Show the child how to calm overwhelming emotions.
“Let’s help your anger get right size so you can do the right thing next time. First we take some gentle breaths in and out (gently fill up a balloon in your belly, let all the air out of the balloon).” Click here for other simple calming ideas.
- Help the child develop awareness of his emotions.
“Let’s figure out what you’re feeling. Feelings are good – they are signals. Your feelings are important. They’re important to me and they’re important to God.”
- Offer acceptable, helpful ways to express strong emotions, especially anger when the child is bullying others.
“It’s important to let the feelings out. I can stay with you or you can be alone while you try one of these. Some ideas are drawing, hitting a pillow, writing, finding a safe person to talk with, going outside and moving your body (play basketball, run, hit baseballs, do jumping jacks and cartwheels, jump rope), giving your dog a long, gentle body hug.”
- Is there a problem that needs to be addressed?
“I will help you figure this out and we can find a solution.”
- Above all, have patience. Don’t think the child deserves patience? Take a hones look at how incredibly patient God is with you when you fall short of loving your neighbor.
For more ideas for ways to help a child who is bullying, check out this post, A Revolutionarily Simple Solution to Stopping Bullying, on catholicmom.com by Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life.
Have you been successful in giving help to a child who had a problem with bullying?
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