Childhood can be a difficult, particularly if bullying has become a problem. Bolstering self confidence and practicing assertive defensive strategies can help to stop a bully.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” W.C. Fields summed it up even more succinctly when he said, “It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.” Having self confidence and positive self esteem is a valuable tool in protecting a child from being the target of a bully.
How to Bolster Self Confidence to Stop Being the Target of a Bully
In order for a child to be self confident, he must first portray self confidence, even if he is just acting at first. A child must stand up straight, smile and make eye contact with peers to portray self confidence. A child with low self esteem should always act as though he’s wearing an invisible crown – royally worthy and able to take on any problem that may come his way.
If a child or teen lacks confidence and self esteem, he must take steps to rebuild that confidence and esteem. Children should pursue enjoyable activities that they do well. They should explore new interests and expand their talents and skills. Because bullying can affect self confidence and leave one feeling rejected and alone, it’s important that children 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.
How to Use Self Confidence and Other Defensive Strategies to Stop 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 a child out as a target if he portrays self confidence and positive self esteem.
· A child should avoid situations where bullying can happen. He should try, if at all possible, not to be alone with a bully. If he is victimized on the way to or from school, he should take a different route or leave at a different time. He should seek others with whom to walk to and from school and extracurricular activities. He should always avoid areas that are isolated or unsupervised by adults, and stick with friends as much as possible.
· 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.
· If a child sees others being bullied, he can probably relate to how they feel. He should refuse to join in if a bully tries to solicit him to taunt another child. Even though he may fear the bully will turn on him if he doesn’t participate, he should stay firm.
· A child can try to defuse a bullying situation by drawing attention away from the targeted person or by asking the bully to “cool it and give the guy a break.” He should always be careful not to put himself at risk though. Immediately seek help from a teacher, counselor, the principal, or some other responsible adult.
· A child or teen should talk frankly with his parents and teachers if there is a bullying problem in his school. He should try to help them understand that bullying shouldn’t be dismissed as a normal part of growing up. He should encourage his parents to talk with the school administration to advocate for a commitment to end bullying by implementing closer supervision, improving school and classroom climate, and forming and enforcing clear rules and standards against bullying in order to better protect all students.
When times get tough for a child, it’s important that he knows there are people he can count on. If he is being bullied, tough times can seem even tougher. A victim of a bully should remember to stand firm, be confident, and confide in parents and other trusted adults so that they can provide the necessary support. A child doesn’t have to put up with bullying. He must be strong, assertive and confident. He should let the lyrics from Eminem’s song, “Bully”, be his mantra: “And I ain’t bowing to no bully. I won't allow it, ain’t no coward to no bully. I'll be damned if I don't stand up to a bully. Fight like a man and throw my hands up to a bully.”
My book, The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale is a children's fiction book about bullying that also includes a chapter of researched strategies for children, parents, and schools to employ to address the bullying situation. Purchase information for the book, as well as for my other children's books can be accessed via my Amazon Author Page.
Readers may also access book information, as well as useful information and resources that advocate for the well-being and entertainment of children by visiting my book website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books.