How to Bully Proof your Kids

School’s coming soon so time to start teaching your kids how to handle bullies, just in case.

The best defense against bullies is confidence and high self-esteem.  But when I was mentoring kids I didn’t always have a lot of time to build up their confidence, etc. so I had to come up with another way to arm them against bullies.  So we used role playing.    

Why is role playing so effective?  Because kids learn best by doing.

So how do you do this?  You set up a bullying scenario, write it out like a script with your child.  Then you take turns being the bully and victim.  Keep the bullying non-personal as even when acting things out meanness hurts.

Make it fun.  When I’d play the bully I’d say things like, “Do you use that thumb growing out of your forehead to push elevator buttons.”  Kinda embarrassing writing such ridiculous stuff here, but kids gobble that stuff up.

The victim role is one of calm indifference.  Not ignoring as that’s antagonistic, but indifference.  Indifference then diversion.

Role play could go something like this:

Bully:  Does your whole family have green hair or is it just you?
Victim:  Yup, all green tops.  What are you doing this weekend?

Humour can work also but it has to come naturally to the child already.  My son used humour but my daughter used indifference and diversion.

I had my first bullying incident when I was in Grade 2.  A much older student came up to my face and made fun of my last name.  I laughed right along and came up with an even funnier play-on-words with my name.  The bully was completely defeated and walked away.  Bullies are quick to move on when they don’t get the desired reactions:  fear, crying, etc.  

Were you ever approached by a bully?  How did you handle it?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Note:  Sorry about having to turn some of you away with the August “4 Week Parenting Plan”.  I have a limited number of people I can handle as I have daily contact with everyone and it filled up very quickly.  Private coaching is available.

Do Grades Really Matter? | Parenting Education

A growing body of evidence suggests grades don’t predict success — C+ students are the ones who end up running the world.  

Quote is from a great article by Macleans:  “Do Grades Really Matter?”

Grades have become the yardstick by which children are often judged.  I mentored tons of struggling students and always told them it’s usually the worst students who end up running the world.  Not true but they loved hearing that I wasn’t obsessed with grades, took the pressure off and made them feel better about themselves.

I’m extremely opinionated on this subject and my opinions are often unpopular.  Pushing children academically is wrong.  I’ve known too many “gifted” children who turned into self-destructive teenagers.  It’s just not healthy to focus too much on academics.  Where’s the joy and happiness in life?  Where’s the fun?   Here’s a story of a mom trying to bully me over this.

Here were my priorities when raising my kids:

  1. Healthy & Fit
  2. Happy & Confident
  3. Polite & Nice
  4. Social
  5. Doing their best

If you look after the first 4, the 5th takes care of itself.  If kids are struggling at school then hire a tutor or ask the staff if there are free teacher sessions available.

If you are a confident leader for your children to look up to they will naturally want to do their best to make you proud.  If they don’t respect you, they don’t respect themselves, or school or anything.

If you want help learning how to get respect, check out my Coaching Page. 

Discipline and education go hand-in-hand.  Kids who aren’t disciplined at home are sure going to struggle more at school.  

I can’t remember ever having a conversation about homework with my kids, and I know I never helped them.  Their homework was just done after dinner then we’d all have fun doing something.  It was just one of the disciplines in their lives.  I was proud of their grades but all I fussed over was their good behaviour comments.

If you have self-discipline and do your best, you’re going to succeed.

What are your priorities with your kids?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

7 Ways to Boost Children’s Self-Esteem | Parenting

There are probably 70 ways to boost children’s self-esteem, but I’ve narrowed it down to 7:

  1. Spend time with your kids.  Kids don’t really care as much about quality time as just plain old time.  They want to be around you, they feel safe around you, they feel good about themselves around you.
  2. Enjoy their company.  Find some common interests to share.  When my kids were toddlers they loved seeing mom trying to roll down hills, do somersaults, etc. with great difficulty.  They’d wallow in showing clumsy mom how great they were at tumbling around.
  3. No insincere praise.  (“Stop Praising your Kids for Everything”)  Kids are great crap detectors.  They know when they’re great at something and when they’re not.  If you praise them for picking their nose they’re not going to believe you when you’re praising them for a real accomplishment.  Actually I’m kinda guilty of this with my 27 year old son as I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like to.  He walks the room and I become this pathetically over indulgent mother.  He hates being fussed over and says, “Get a grip Mom, all I did was blink and you’re acting as if I cured cancer!”
  4. Give them chores and responsibilities.  You have to give children something to be proud of, something to make them learn about self-discipline.
  5. Give them choices.  My Mom was the queen of this.  She never told me what to do, it was always about giving me choices.  Of course that’s exactly what I did with my kids as it makes them self-disciplining plus gives them a huge sense of confidence and pride.  You are the master of the choices though.  “You can eat all your vegetables and watch TV or not eat your vegetables and not watch TV … your choice.”  I never questioned this, nor did my kids.  We all just grew up understanding that we were responsible for how our lives went.
  6. Praise them just as much for trying and failing as succeeding.  There is no shame in losing, just in not trying.  Make your kids try everything and praise them for being outgoing, adventuresome and open minded.  Poor sports are built on a base of thinking that success is everything.
  7. Teach them that no one’s perfect.  Perfection is impossible and those who strive to appear perfect are boring.  Teach your children to be confident enough to be comfortable with their imperfections.
More on this:

 

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Don’t forget to get your FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan”.  Just sign up above using the green button.

Feeling Lost About How To Discipline Your Children?

If you’re feeling lost about where to start teaching your children about discipline, then don’t fear, you’re not alone.

I think we all agree that discipline is necessary so here’s how to get started:

1.  Let go of the past mistakes.  Regrets and guilt are useless.  That was yesterday which you can’t change.  Look at it this way, at least now you know what NOT to do.

2.  Get a parenting plan in place.  My “3 Step Parenting Plan” is free on my Newsletter so be sure to sign up for that.      

3.  Once you have your plan in place, stick to it like glue.  If you’ve been fighting with your kids before, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.  They’ll fight to maintain the control they had before but with you staying calm, consistent and relentless, they’ll soon get the idea and follow suit.

If you need help through this, check out my coaching page.  For questions about coaching, call me at 604-349-8044 (Vancouver, Canada).

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

How to Deal with Tantrums, Meltdowns, Flipouts, Freakouts, Scenes, etc.

Some of us are prone to tantrums, others aren’t.  My son had tantrums whereas my daughter never had one.  Tantrums in children can turn into adults with bad tempers.  But if handled correctly, they’ll not only stop having tantrums as children, but they’ll be less likely to have bad tempers as adults.  You’ll have taught them self-control.

“I just don’t understand why parents can’t control their kids.”  … said person with no kids.

I totally understand why parents can’t control their children, they just haven’t learned the skills required.  There’s a huge learning curve to parenting.  Few parents say they’d do it all the same if given a second change.  Lucky for me I’d practiced on tons of other people’s kids before having my own which gave me an edge.  I probably left a trail of destruction behind me but no one ever complained, not to my face anyway :).

So, how do you deal with someone having a tantrum?  It’s the same with toddlers right through to adults for the most part.  You just stay calm and wait for the storm to pass then you can have a calm discussion about what lead them into the tantrum but be careful with your wording.  I told this to a mom and after her husband flipped out over something so she calmly said to him, “Now can we discuss why you went mental?”  We all had a good chuckle over that one as it’s so passive aggressive and not going to get you anywhere, but it feels good to say of course :).

Myth: A tantrum is frustration due to not being able to communicate.

MythBuster: A tantrum is anger at things not going their way. If it was just about not being able to communicate then children who are 3+ wouldn’t have tantrums, they’d be able to verbally express what’s on their mind.

I explain exactly how to handle tantrums in my Tantrum Busting Manual but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  The last thing you need to do is to be dragged into the scene.  If your child goes off the emotional cliff and you go with them, who’s at the top to pull you back up?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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