As mentioned earlier, various studies have pointed out that parents who are not consistent in the discipline they impose on their children or who themselves resort to bullying behavior end up being poor role models for their children. Children exposed to such behavior by their parents do not learn appropriate social interaction and are not adept at dealing with difficult social situations.
Therefore, what is most important in shaping your children and ensuring that they do not end up as bullies is that they are exposed to consistent, firm and loving discipline from early childhood. Your handling of all the interactions that your child has with his peers is what sets the foundation for how they treat their relationships in the future. You must make sure that you set a positive example in front of your child, which will help him in making the correct decisions in life.
Let’s review these scenarios:
Scenario 1– you see a child playing with some particular toy in a common play area. Your three year old son walks over to the other child and forcibly asks him to hand over the toy. When the other child refuses to do so, your child starts throwing tantrums, hits the other child and grabs the toy and starts playing with it.
What should be your reaction in scenario 1?
The most appropriate reaction for you would be to firmly but very calmly remove your child from the play area. You have to confidently, but with love, tell him that what he did was wrong and he should never hurt others to get what he wants. Take the toy back from him and hand it back to the child who was playing with it earlier. After that, you can get your child to apologize to the other child he has hit and teach him to ask for the toy in a more polite and appropriate manner.
If you react this way in a composed, tender and firm fashion without displaying any anger, you are in effect teaching your child the most appropriate way of interacting with his peers. You are teaching him that aggression is not the right way to get what he wants and going about in a polite manner would be a much better alternative. This way, you are laying a sound foundation for your child which may prevent him from growing up and become an aggressor with bullying traits. When you see any child, whether young or old, engaging in any sort of bullying, you have to make them stop immediately. Remember you have to do this without getting angry yourself or threatening the child. This is because you want to leave a positive impression on the young mind of your child.
You can teach him about social bullying the same way. You have to identify for him behaviors which are wrong and have the tendency of being hurtful to others. As well, you have to show him a different behavior which is more appropriate. By giving them this choice and allowing them to make it correctly; you are actually empowering the children to get what they need without bullying. Think of yourself as the one that is changing our future society for the better.
As a community, bullying affects us all. Bullies have a higher rate of crime and aggression. When this behavior is allowed to go on for a long period of time, it not only affects the targeted victim, but also all other bystanders that watch this behavior. We will never stop bullying completely, but we can reduce it and create a safer community. However, for this we have to remember that we all need to CHANGE and to be involved in this paradigm shift.