Friday, June 14, 2013

Developing a Child’s Self-Confidence as a Shield from Being Bullied

     My book, The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale, in addition to being a fictional story for children, also presents helpful information for children, as well as parents and schools to deal with bullying. One of the strategies presented in the non-fiction portion of the book is the importance of self-confidence and self-esteem to better ensure your child will be less likely to be targeted by a bully. I am offering to my blog readers an excerpt from the book that addresses that strategy. After the excerpt from The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale, you will find some strategies for parents to use to help build better self-esteem and confidence in their children.
Excerpt from The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale:

     Children who are confident and have better self-esteem are less apt to be targeted by bullies. Children, with their parents’ or teachers’ help, should try to maintain confidence and a more positive self-esteem. As former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” W.C. Fields’ words are even more relevant: “It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”

     Children can bolster self-confidence by pursuing enjoyable activities that they do well. They should explore new interests in order to increase their talents and skills. Children should try to make new friendships with other children who have similar interests. They should participate in extracurricular activities, social clubs, after-school programs, church youth groups, or sports teams. Bolstering confidence, interests, and friendships will make a child or teen less of an inviting target for a bully.
     To stave off a bully, a child should behave in a confident manner by standing straight, holding his head up high, and, by all means, making eye contact with the bully. He should remember to walk confidently too. A bully will be far less likely to single out a child as a target if he portrays self-confidence and positive self-esteem.
    A child or teen’s confidence should not be found in the form of any kind of weapon. A child absolutely should not carry a gun or other weapon because, doing so. will not make him any safer. Not only is it illegal for a child or teen to carry a handgun, but guns escalate conflicts and dramatically increase chances of being harmed.

How to Develop Self-Esteem or Confidence in Children:
     A Child’s self-esteem is his core beliefs about himself. A child’s self-esteem is reflected in his or her actions. A child’s self-confidence can vary from time to time, but a child’s pattern usually leans toward a healthy or unhealthy view of himself. With healthy self-esteem, a child is more likely to succeed in life. With self-confidence, a child is better equipped to make friends, and less likely to be picked on by others.
     Developing healthy self-esteem is a lifelong process, but the foundation of self-esteem is established in childhood. A sound foundation can better ensure a child can deal with difficult life issues as they are encountered, including being a potential target of bullying. Parents have the greatest influence on a child's belief about himself or herself. If you, as a parent, let your child know that he or she belongs, is doing well at things he or she tries, and is contributing can help him or her develop better self-confidence.
     Children sense that they belong by the way their parents talk to them and act toward them. As parents, you should show and tell your child that you love and care for him or her. Also, Children learn about how well they are doing by how their parents react to their behavior. Offer praise at least twice  as often (or more)  as you criticize.
     Teach your children cooperation skills and how to work with others. This can be done  by promoting cooperation within your family. To foster cooperation, give your child some age-appropriate household responsibilities.
     Promote, in your children a sense of  belonging, learning, and contributing. If a child feels as though he or she belongs, he or she is better prepared to participate in learning new things. Learning makes a child feel confident in making contributions; making contributions helps secure a feeling of belonging. Developing healthy self-esteem is a process that continues throughout life and helps a person act responsibly, cooperate well with others, and have the confidence to try new things. In addition, such self-confidence is one way of better ensuring your child will not be victimized by bullies.
Picture credit: Penny Mathews


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