So What if You Don't Like Who I Am...
Guide them with Confidence and Pride....
When Your Child Falls Victim
When we learn that our child becomes victim of bullying, our first thoughts usually turn out with "of all the people, you pick HIM/HER?" Mine was just the same. These kids obviously don't know my boy. If they only knew how he can REALLY be, they'd be asking him for advice! But, the more I thought about his recent situation, the more I started to understand that it's going to be one of those things he's going to have to handle, on his own...
However, I didn't let the very idea of being unable to be there to stand up for him get to me. I may not be there in person, ready to jump up at any given moment that a child acts mean toward him, but I found that I can GUIDE him through. I've heard quite a few situations my son has recited to me. Each one had their own piece of advice that I had shared with him. I had no idea he was going to take those words lightly for the next time it could have happened to him, seeing as he was six years of age, but there I was, listening to the results he's accomplished. I don't know HOW MANY TIMES I've found myself repeating what I say to him, here at home, but this surprised me, at first. I've decided to share our results, thus far:
First Day of School
The fresh smell of pencils, sharpened for the first time. A welcoming conversation with his new teacher. I watched my son try to talk to his current bully. The bully's fists fly. I call my son by his full name and request him to sit down. A finger to show him to wait there until I finish talking, and it's then time to talk.
I knew part of the situation had dealt with personal space, but it was still early. I knew this kid had issues last year, when he was in kindergarten, but I warned the teachers about keeping a close eye on the two after seeing the reason. At that point, my job was to help him understand that he was getting too "invasive" with how he was trying to approach his friend.
Next two weeks carried through, and I found my son having troubles with behavior in school. He had apparently been trying SO HARD for this kid to be his friend, but he's been leading him in the wrong direction. I told my son that being "cool" doesn't mean to follow what everyone else is doing, especially when you feel like it's not the right thing to do. If they want to say that they don't want to be your friend if you don't do what they ask you, they have absolutely no right to try to tell you otherwise. YOU are in control of your own actions, and if YOU are happy with what you do, then do it your way.
He Keeps Making Me ANGRY!!!
THIS one, I admit, I was more prepared for. My son had but another few bad days in a row, and I grew worried about him. After asking if things were going okay in school, he told me that his "friend" was doing everything in his power to try to make my boy upset. I understood what was going on, then.
Our "little friend" experienced the result idea I've given my son. He probably wound up trying to get my son to do something they both knew was wrong, and my boy took my advice and told him that he wasn't going to do it. To retaliate, it appeared that our "friend" was trying hard to upset my boy enough to affect EVERYONE around him, that day.
I told him that the best way to prevent that boy from winning this battle was to simply smile and walk away. I explained how he'd be winning by not allowing that boy to get him upset and in trouble, and he caught on quicker than I expected. As for name calling, I told him that if he pretends he doesn't hear the hurtful things they say, his "friend" will finally give up and leave you alone.
If you recall from the start of this section, my son was trying to show he wanted to be friends with this bully. When I found out what was going on, I told him not to waste his time, trying to make friends with those who refuse to accept you for who you are, but instead, trying to make friends with those who like you for you. Since this major moment, things appeared to have been going better in his behavioral grades.
Life is Full of Directions....
My BEST Piece of Advice
Before I was able to guide my son through his rough patch, I noticed himself feeling worse about himself. I knew just what to say to him, but I had to spend a week in debating how to explain it to a 1st grader.
As I watched my son grow, I noticed he had always kept things to himself. It was always a challenge to find out his interests and dislikes in what goes on around him, but he had no idea I had been keeping a VERY close eye on what he has grown to love and dislike. One of those strengths he had was math. Then, it hit me, on a night he seemed to be at wit's end about himself. He was at that critical moment that I, myself, had felt when I was his age. He needed to know what I was trying to think of saying, NOW.
Do you know what strengths are in someone? Strengths are those things you enjoy collecting or doing. Strengths are things that you are good at. You know what I noticed you are good at? You are good in math. You're quicker than I was, when I was your age. Be proud. Everyone has their strengths. Your strengths are what make you special. Embrace what you can do.
The fascinating thing I've learned about being a mother, is that children see EVERYTHING. There have been too many times that I've seen my efforts in raising my children to be respected, well-mannered kids, but I have also seen things I've done reflect from their behaviors, as well. Keep in mind, if you want to start guiding your kids on their individuality, they look up to the ones they learn from. After that, the rest is smooth-sailing, with a little bit of research, whenever needed...