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What to Teach Your Kids About Bullying

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“Those who are at war with others, are not at peace with themselves.” – William Hazlitt

I have been working with high school and college-aged students for years, and most of the people I have worked with at some point or another have faced bullying—either being bullied or bullying others.

Let’s start with understanding why people might bully others.

• Bullying is when there is an intent to hurt someone’s feelings. Studies show that people bully for several different reasons.
• They are trying to fill a void. Perhaps there is something lacking in their home life that is causing this person to try to find power and control in hurting others.
• They are not confident or jealous. This person may have low self esteem and instead of finding positive ways to handle this, they turn their attention to making others feel as bad as they feel about themselves.
• They have a big ego. Yep, they really just think they are better than everyone else. I see this happen often in group-think situations.

No matter the reason, the person on the receiving end of the bullying can struggle to understand why they are being treated this way.

What are ways I can overcome this?

Try to practice ignorance. If someone is giving you a hard time, try only engaging with them minimally. You don’t need to be mean or say anything mean to them; just try to distance yourself from that individual.
Build a supporting network around you that is high quality. Quality is key when creating a network. There needs to be reciprocal value that each person finds in one another. Lean on those quality people when you are feeling frustrated with how others treat you.
Know how to beat your triggers. To beat your triggers, you need to understand what they are. Is it the tone of the person’s voice? The way they interact with you in person/on social media/via text, etc? When you better understand what triggers your emotions, you are able to mentally prepare for how to defeat this.
Keep a gratitude journal. Write in this, come back to this. At the end of a hard day, try to let this provide you motivation and fulfillment. Redirect your hurt and frustration toward something better.
Be better and be kind. No matter how anyone treats you, you always have a choice to be kind. The more you practice this, the more people will value you and the more you will value yourself. At some point, your bullies will start to become irrelevant.

Though bullying might not go away, what happens as we get older is we continue to work on building our own self worth. As we get closer and closer to achieving self worth, it becomes easier to silence the negative people in your life. Honestly, there is no point to bullying someone. As I mentioned above, the key piece of bullying is intent. A bully wants another person to feel bad. People always have the option to choose kindness and they always should. My challenge to you would be to always choose kindness over hate.

American Made Mama was created by Gina Fox, a passionate person wanting to share the magic of motherhood with others. When Gina isn’t blogging, she professionally facilitates leadership development programs on college campuses across the country. In her spare time, she loves to coach others, mentor students, and spend time with her family.

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