Many people would probably agree that one of the most common problems children face today is bullying. This most often happens in schools, but can even be found elsewhere: at the neighborhood playground, at a friendly play date, or even in the comfort of one’s own home, as in the case of cyber-bullying. For some people, parenting may become even more challenging when the bully in question is actually their child.
The Bully and the Bullied Maribel Dionisio, a parenting and relationship expert and co-founder of the Love Institute, gave a brief informative talk on “Managing Bullies” in preparation for the Family Congress 2012.
During the talk, she defined bullying as follows: the selective, uninvited, intentional, often repetitive oppression of one person by another person or group.
She also gave the following reasons why bullies bully: • He/she does not feel loved and capable of being loved. • He/she wants to seek attention. • He/she wants to take revenge. • He/she wants to prove that he/she is “superior”. • He/she wants to cover up for his/her low self-esteem or inadequacies.
Dionisio further described the common targets of bullies: • Children who look different — small, overweight or early maturing girls • Those who are slumped and who avoid eye contact • Those with poor social skills • Passive/non-assertive children
For each type of target, Dionisio suggested the following “defenses”: • For those who look different: Prepare kids for non-aggressive comeback lines like, “Yes, I love to eat” or “Yes, maybe I am fat,” or “Maybe I am huge.” Teach them not to squirm nor whine. • For those who are slumped: Practice confident body posture and try looking people in the eye. • For those with poor social skills: Look for a buddy or a group for support; do not isolate yourself. • For the passive ones: Teach kids to stand strong and tall, and to say firmly, “I don’t like it when you do that. Stop it now.” Practice the assertive delivery of such phrases to reduce the likelihood of harm.