Bullying: helping your son be the victor, not the victim
As a resilience coach I am adamant that, in any bullying situation, you must own your part of the problem, no matter how small, no matter how unfair it may seem. No one is lily-white and blameless.
As a wise person once said – you must clean up your side of the street.
Earlier this year, I employed a gardener to do some work in our backyard. For 2.5 hours he worked but stopped many times to chat to me. In a short period I heard his life story – his marriage breakup, how his children were not talking to him, how he lost everything, how he had a breakdown, how he doesn’t have many friends, how hard it was to find a girlfriend. His life narrative was all negative and I heard not one moment of self-reflection or the taking of responsibility. He also asked not one question about my life. Such self-absorption may explain a lot.
This gardener was a bore. He was no people magnet.
Importantly, he appeared to take no responsibility for his situation. So, nothing for him will change.
You can only change what you are prepared to acknowledge.
If your son is currently being bullied, in the spirit of cleaning up your side of the street:
- Is he part of the problem? Even 5%?
- Is he a whinger, a complainer, self-absorbed, an exaggerator, loose with the truth, a passive doormat, displaying negative body language, an approval addict, a try hard, critical or a bad sport?
Of course, you might say but how can my son clean up his side of the street if he is the target of cruel taunts because he has buck teeth, acne, a disability or a lisp. That’s not his fault.
Of course, it’s not his fault, but owning his small part of the unpleasant problem may be learning to stand up for himself, developing grit, steely self-belief, strong self-esteem, choosing his friends wisely and reminding himself that the bullies are dealing with their own demons and that the problem lies principally with them and not him.
After having been bullied myself for most of high school, it was only when I was brave enough and self-aware enough to ‘own’ my part of the problem that the bullying stopped. I earned respect whilst building self-respect.
Time to own your part, and stop playing the victim.
Be the victor, not the victim.
Brighton Grammar is hosting a free parent seminar featuring Melissa Anderson, exploring the issue of bullying including coping skills for parents and their children. Click here for bookings.
Melissa Anderson is a counsellor, pharmacist and the Director of SHINE Academy for Girls and LONGFORD & FRASER Leadership Academy for Boys. This article is about Mental Health