Tips For Handling Bullies

A few years ago, nine Massachusetts teenagers were charged with bullying over several months that led to suicide of a 15-year-old girl. Unfortunately, this was not and is not an isolated event. Bullying is occurring with more frequency and more severity in our schools and in our society.

According to the Heroes and Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit center for parents, one in 10 students is bullied at least once a week, and one in three has experienced bullying as either a bully or a target during the average school term. Bullying can be physical, verbal or emotional—in-person or online, with physical and/or emotional consequences. Bullying is not normal and does not “build character.”

What Parents Can Do

Victims of bullying may lose interest in school, have frequent nightmares, headaches or other illnesses. They may begin to misuse drugs or break the law. They may become anxious, sullen, scared or angry—and yet never mention being bullied.

Watch for signs. Take it seriously. Listen to your child. Keep the lines of communication open. Talk to your child’s teacher. Help your child get involved in a new group or activity.

Reassure your child. Help your child to understand that what someone says about him does not reflect his value. Provide reassurance that this will be resolved.

Encourage confidence. Physical activity and developing new skills are ways to build confidence.

Help your child solve the problem herself. By learning the skills to stand up for herself, she can use them in other situations.

Teach Your Children

Teach your child to say, “Leave me alone.” Bullies look for a reaction, whether it be fear, subservience or anger. If they are met directly and with confidence, they often go elsewhere.

Walk away. It is often the best approach.

Tell an adult. Let your child know he can talk with you or tell a counselor if he is being bullied. Keeping silent is what the bully counts on.

Avoid a physical response. Bullies are usually more familiar with using violence than is your child. An aggressive response leads to more bullying.

Cultivate new friendships. Being bullied can help you feel alone. Friends who believe in you are a world of comfort. Stay close to them so that you are less frequently alone.

Dads can provide a listening ear, an understanding heart and, when necessary, an intervention to help ensure the safe environment that is so important for healthy growth.

 

 

By dads2dads

Power of a Father’s Love

Billionaire Warren Buffet will turn 86 in August and is worth $66 billion. When asked what made him what he is today, he replied that it was the unconditional love he received from his father. “I knew I could always come back home.”

One might have expected his answer to be his business acumen, his savvy, his schooling, the opportunities afforded by free enterprise, even his shrewd investments.

Nope. None of the above. It was his dad.

This man of immense wealth and prestige, this larger than life investor, industrialist and philanthropist pointed to the unconditional love of his father as the single most important factor in his growth and development.

“There is no power on earth like unconditional love. And I think that if you offered that to your child, I mean, you’re 90 percent of the way home. There may be days when you don’t feel like it — it’s not uncritical love; that’s a different animal — but to know you can always come back, that is huge in life. That takes you a long, long way. And I would say that every parent out there that can extend that to their child at an early age, it’s going to make for a better human being.”

That’s really it! In spite of all the frustrations, disappointments and setbacks that our teenagers drag us through, we love them. The very power of love—of unconditional love—is that it is given freely without any expectations. There need not be any exchange, no guarantee, no promissory note, no IOU, nothing in return. Love is a feeling too big for the word.

The more conditions we attach to our loving someone, the less sure we are of our love. It’s a little like a bill in Congress. The more pork it’s wrapped in, the harder it is to get to the core of the bill’s intent. Or a contract. The more clauses it contains, the more complicated it is. Unconditional love, with no attachments, is pure in its meaning and incredibly difficult in its application.

That doesn’t mean we let our kids do everything they want. It doesn’t mean they can walk over us, trample on rules or disregard expectations. It means there is an unbreakable bond that keeps us engaged and is extremely important.

Try this little exercise. Think of all the reasons why your teenager drives you crazy. We bet you can reel them off without taking a breath. Now, describe why you love your teenager. How’s that working for you? Are the answers coming a little harder? The process is not as free-flowing as the first assignment is it? Keep at it. You’ll find the answers, though more difficult, are quite meaningful. In fact, they far outweigh the reasons your teenager drives you crazy. Or they should. The crazies are insignificant; the love is an unbreakable bond.

There is a depth to unconditional love that defies definition or description. There is a connection between parent and child that renders any tension or disagreement or exasperation as merely trivial.

Dad, when you “love your kid no matter what,” you’re looking beyond the dismissive eye rolls, deep sighs, the smart mouth and the rudeness—even, dare say it?—the piercings and tattoos. Yep, the feeling is too big for the word. Maybe for any words.

 

By dads2dads