Unfortunately, we hear all too often the stories of kids being bullied at school, online, and elsewhere. Bullying can give kids permanent emotional scars. Some kids can get through bullying, while others don’t get through it as easily. As parents, there are things we can do to help build resilience in kids to help them get through tough times.
1. Build Acceptance at Home
Feeling comfortable with who you are often starts with home. No matter how kids are different from you or kids at school, they need to feel accepted to be comfortable in their own skin.
2. Change the Narrative
Matt Langdon, a bullying expert, tells parents and teachers to help kids understand they’re the main character of their story, and bullying is only a part of it.
The hero’s journey, according to UC Berkeley, is a tale where a hero goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and comes home changed or transformed. You can use books such as “Harry Potter,” “Wizard of Oz,” “The Mists of Avalon,” or “Ender’s Game” to talk to your child about what happens on the hero’s journey.
Such books can help you tell kids that heroes learn, and rise, from their struggles. If books aren’t their thing, parents can watch a young adult romance adventure or superhero movie to learn from similar themes.
3. Get Your Child to Think of Solutions
This is a great way to get kids to start problem solving when they’re young. It will help them when they’re adults and can help them get through hard times. Talk to you child about what they can do, but let them offer solutions. Discuss the pros and cons of each option. Let them choose the best course. This will let your child know you believe in them and that they can trust their own decisions.
4. Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
Oftentimes, if kids can look at what a bully thinks is a weakness as a strength, the bully loses power. The “nerdy” kids grow up to be coders, inventors, engineers. Kids who dress differently may become the next best fashion designer. Teach them to be confident in themselves and that being different will always draw attention, especially in middle school.
One bully expert states that kids should list things they dislike about themselves, and then you can help them see the upside of each trait. Help them embrace who they are, and they’re likely to find a friend who can accept them for who they are. Have them practice using eye contact when talking and looking confident through eye contact and strong posture.
5. Find Activities and Like-Minded Friends
Building resilience can start with an activity that builds confidence, leadership, and give your child a much-needed sensory output. Kids can find friendship through activities.
Our karate school in East Mesa focuses on teaching kids to persevere, focus, discipline, control, and self confidence, among other things.
6. Think Before You Speak
Talk to you kids everyday, but don’t ask questions like, “Were the kids mean to you at school today?” Those types of yes or no questions box you into a corner where you may lose the opportunity to really talk to them if they say no. Keep questions open ended, and focus more on the positive side, instilling hope.
Find uplifting videos about kids who were bullied but who are now making a difference in the world.
Learn From Our American Kenpo Instructors in East Mesa
We can’t keep other kids from bullying your child, but we can help your child learn coping mechanisms, such as confidence, problem solving, and turning weaknesses into strengths. To learn more about our program, call us 480-986-7177 or fill out our online form.
Is my child a bully? Am I encouraging it?
You may have asked yourself these questions before, and the truth is sometimes your child may be the problem. You’re probably already in the right direction with avoiding violent video games, not being an overly permissive parent, and not being abusive, but sometimes even the most well-intentioned parents unintentionally raise their children as be a bully. Take action and raise kind and caring kids.
1. Avoid Insults
Surprisingly, bullying can begin as early as preschool. Parents say things to children like, “Why can’t you act your age?” “You’re no good.” or “Why can’t you be smarter like your brother?” Children see this behavior as acceptable and may become insensitive to the feelings of others or defiant toward those in authority positions.
Use positive reinforcement when you notice your child practicing good behavior. Saying something as simple as, “You found a really good way to do that!” or “I can tell you’ve been practicing” goes a long way.
2. When You’re Around, Be There
It’s easy to get distracted in a world full of distractions: social media, news, work, entertainment, and more. Neglect is when you ignore your child’s basic needs, and oftentimes with neglect, you’re more likely to respond to negative behavior as opposed to positive behavior. This could lead to a pattern of the children stirring up trouble to respond to negative behavior.
Make sure you’re available for your child when they need you, and always show them positive behavior. When your kids are leaving for school or elsewhere, make sure you tell them you love them and give them a hug and kis. It’s a great way to show a positive display of intimacy. Showing them you care is a model for your kids to show others they care.
3. Stop Saying “I Hate”
I think we’ve all got a little Negative Nancy in us. It’s so easy to see all of the negative things around us. There are many things in our lives that may not be going as we want them to, but they may be impacting your child more than you think. They hear you say these things, and it becomes their attitude of the world around them, making them feel powerless to the problems around them.
Save your negative talk for after they go to bed talk. And if you hear your child start to say negative things, try to re-start the conversation with questions like, “What good things happened to you today?” or “Is there another way to look at that?”
4. Don’t Overplan for Your Kids
Our kids want to try everything, and we want to give them everything, so we sign them up for after school activities including soccer, ballet, T-ball, and others. Sometimes that can stress kids out. Stress can lead to anxiety, aggression, and anger.
For children’s brains to develop, they need time to be creative and quiet. That unstructured time gives them time to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
5. Be Consistent With Rules
At the beginning of the day, we may be more willing to enforce boundaries for our children. When we’re inconsistent, it’s confusing to children, and they may see that as a way that they’re losing power. Sometimes bullying comes from the need to regain lost power.
Keep the rules the same for all children during all times of day, even when you’re tired.
Positive Structure through Martial Arts in East Mesa
You may not realize that you’re encouraging your child to be a bully through the things you do and say, but sometimes we’re part of the problem. Our karate school in East Mesa encourages kids to be positive through rules and no insults. Call 480-986-7177 today or sign up for our trial offer.
Does your child know how to handle a bully?
The recent media attention on the epidemic of youth bullying in the United States brings to public awareness what most parents and school professionals know and live on a daily basis: kids can be brutal. Celebrities and professionals have boldly weighed in, in front of the cameras, saying, "This has to end!" And they are right. The question is, how will we end it?
While school policies focus on zero-tolerance and criminal penalties are wielded for some of the most egregious bullies, others know what coaches have been saying for years: the best offense is a good defense.
Am I advocating revenge? Do I think the world is going to be changed by bullied kids uniting in retaliation against their tormenters? By no means! Rather, I take that old sports-ism to encourage parents to fortify their kids with specific skills that help young people stand-up for themselves and stop bullies in their tracks. In other words, I sadly don't hold out hope that the world is going to change for our kids. I optimistically do believe, however, that our kids can change their own world by developing a set of skills that makes bullying unrewarding.
Skill 1: Stay Connected
Bullies operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless. Children reclaim their power when they make and maintain connections with faithful friends and supportive adults.
Skill 2: Create Awareness
Sometimes kids feel like adults never do anything--so why even bother to tell them about incidence of bullying? While there are cases when adults fail to acknowledge the seriousness of a situation, it is more often the case that grown-ups are not aware of what is going on. Bullies use relational aggression to inflict their violence in subtle, socially acceptable ways that tend not to register on an adult's radar. Teach your child that it is her job to create awareness. Be clear in teaching kids that telling an adult about bullying is not a mark of cowardice, but rather a bold, powerful move.
Skill 3: Re-define Tattling
My daughter came to me yesterday, worried that if she told the bus driver about a boy who was spitting on her, then she would be labeled as a "tattletale." I told her that this is exactly what the bully wanted her to think! Isolation is a bully's method of intimidation. In fact, it is only by telling an adult that kids can begin to re-balance the power dynamic. When a bully realizes that he will not be able to keep a victim isolated, he immediately begins to lose power.
Skill 4: Act Quickly
The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Oftentimes, bullying begins in a relatively mild form--name calling, teasing, or minor physical aggression. After the bully has tested the waters and confirmed that a victim is not going to tell and adult and stand up for his rights, the aggression worsens. Teach your child that taking action against the bully--and taking it sooner rather than later--is the best way to gain and retain power.
Skill 5: Respond Assertively
The more a bully thinks he can pick on a victim without a response, the more he will do it. That's why an assertive response is so effective in countering bullying. Kids who master the skills of assertiveness are comfortable in the middle ground between aggressive comebacks that up the ante for the next go-round, and passive responses that invite further abuse.
Skill 6: Use Simple, Unemotional Language
Assertive kids use simple, unemotional, direct language to let bullies know that they do not intend to be victimized. Why should you teach your child to use responses that are "unemotional?" Indications that a person can be emotionally impacted signal a bully that he will be able to wield power easily. By encouraging your child to respond without angeror fear, you teach her how to portray confidence. The bully, in turn, detects less potential for wielding control.
Skill 7: Use Body Language to Reinforce Words
When coaching your child in the skills of assertive communication, it is helpful to practice using body language to reinforce words. Teach your child to employ these simple, non-verbal assertive strategies that indicate to a bully that your child means what she says:
How East Mesa Karate Can Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying
We want all kids to be confident enough to stand up to bullies in a positive way. We teach children to learn how to handle bullying and increase leadership skills. To learn more about how we stop bullying, try our trial or contact us through our online form.
(Article author Signe Whitson - Sugne is a Certified School Social Work Specialist, national educator on Bullying Prevention, and author of six books, including The 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Program, How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids and Teens, and The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces)
It’s no surprise that Phoenix consistently ranks number one in the United States for the most days in a year where temperatures are above 89° F. You don’t need to be running a marathon to be concerned with hydration, especially in the Valley of the Sun. Learning good hydration habits when you’re young is essential for a lifetime of good habits. Keep your kids safe from heat illness and dehydration.
1. Avoid Direct Sunlight
When a child’s body is in direct sunlight, their core temperature increase higher than an adult’s because the body surface to weight is higher.
2. Watch for Signs of Dehydration
Kids don’t sweat as much as adults, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kids depend on non-evaporative heat dissipation, a more efficient way to sweat. The sweating that happens for adults doesn’t dissipate heat.
But because they sweat differently, it’s harder for us to know when they’re getting dehydrated. Make sure you’re paying attention to how much liquid is going into your child’s body, especially during the hottest summer months.
Signs of dehydration in kids, according to aboutkidshealth.ca, can be one or more of the following:
For kids, thirst doesn’t kick in until a child has lost 2 percent of their body weight as sweat, so don’t wait until they’re thirsty.
3. Prevent Dehydration
Don’t Wait for Thirst: The University of Connecticut conducted three studies that found that more than half of children at sports camps were dehydrated, despite water and sports drinks availability and encouragement to drink liquids. It may be in your best interest to schedule frequent drink breaks, every 20 minutes at least in hot weather. When possible, take drink breaks in a shady spot.
Keep a water bottle with your kid at all times, and make sure they’re getting plenty of fluids even if they say they’re not thirsty, especially when they’re physically active, suggests kidshealth.org. Also, make sure they’re taking regular breaks about every 20 minutes.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a good sized drink for a kid is:
Monitor your child’s water consumption: Dehydration builds throughout the week, so you may think they’re drinking enough that day, but they need to make up for a few day’s worth of lack of water.
4. Be the Example
Eat healthy meals, while drinking plenty of water. Keep a water bottle by your side, and your child will not only notice, they’ll probably want some of you drink too. Show them that you can choose healthy meals when you’re out at a restaurant, and they’ll know what options are available at restaurants.
Avoid Stimulants and “Sports” Drinks
Iced tea, soda, or other drinks with caffeine can contribute to dehydration because caffeine is a diuretic. And, as a stimulant, it weakens the symptoms of dehydration.
Drinks like Powerade and Gatorade aren’t suggested because they’re so high in sugar, syrups, and salt. Although packed with electrolytes that can give your child needed calories and the salt will help them retain water, the sugar content is just too high.
Two hours before a vigorous exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking a standard-size water bottle (16.9 ounces).
Many fruits have a high amount of water, as well as giving your child necessary nutrients. Offer fruit during playtime and as after-game snacks.
Avoid fruit juice, as those have a higher concentration of sugar than whole fruit. Although there is a caveat to this: If your child is active for more than 3 hours, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests drinking a mix of half water and half 100-percent pure juice.
Veggie it Up
Since the dawn of time, parents have wanted their kids to eat their vegetables, and it’s no wonder! Most vegetable content is high in water. Hydration is a process, and it can come through the week when eating vegetables as well as drinking plenty of water. Clear soup with vegetables offers an ideal way to get liquid in the diet with the added bonus of nutrition.
5. How to Treat Heat Illness
SeattleChildrens.org breaks down what action to take if you think your child is suffering from heat illness, ranging from calling 911 to self care at home:
Keep Your Kid Active in Martial Arts in Mesa
If you’re worried about the temperature of your child’s activity, keep them inside in an air conditioned area. There are plenty of options of what your child could be doing to stay active and cool. We want members of the community to be healthy, active, and upstanding citizens. We teach our students about how to take care of their bodies physically, mentally and emotionally. To learn more about what we do or to use our trial offer, contact as today through our online form or call us at 480-986-7177.