Does saying “Just ignore it.” help a child when they are being bullied? While this is advice that has been given for years, the fact is that it does not solve the problem for the target of the bully.
In fact as the child tries to ignore the bully, the damage that is done deep on the inside of the victim may be hidden away, but is really eating away at them, as they develop self doubt, and less and less confidence. So what can we do?
Recently the article, How to Build Confidence in Children & Stop Bullying, explored this subject. After reading this you may want to pass this on to your friends and neighbors, as bullying is a community issue that will only be solved as we work together to improve our society.
Here is a link to the article: http://bit.ly/lyEjML
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Not just because there is no manual but mainly because our emotions are involved and we are so committed to out child or children. In line with our series on building confidence we have seen and learned how so many children today are ashamed when they cannot achieve perfection. One nine year old boy I read of recently said, “If I try something and it doesn’t work out, sometimes I don’t even finish it or try again, because I worry that I won’t get it right ever.”
What a shame that is that his concern is not about him doing his best and persevering, but there is something else out there that has him worried. What can we do as parents?
- First teach them that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We cannot all be great artist, or the quarterback, or musician. There are multiple intelligences in the world and we as individuals need to take step two.
Second encourage them to seek personal excellence over perfection. It’s all right for them to be imperfect. We are all works in progress and everyone of us is continuing to work on improving in some area of our life. Sometimes it is good to share with them our own mistakes and the lessons we are learning from them. That will show them that we are not afraid of mistakes and that we are willing to confront them and correct them.
Third we need to show them that we are happy with them when they do the best they can do. That means that not just the perfect picture, spelling test or math quiz goes on the refrigerator. It is a good idea to show case work that is less than perfect, especially if they put a great deal of effort into doing it. One ten year old girls said, “I hate it when mom puts my spelling test on the wall when I get a hundred and she throws away the others, even when I just get one crummy thing wrong.”
Doing these things will allow our children to form their own personal standards of excellence, instead of feeling as though they must conform to the standards set by others.
We must try to remember that failure and the suffering that follows can be a wonderful gift to our children. We have to believe and have faith that they can handle it without falling apart. The bottom line is that we need to have confidence in our children and their capabilities of greatness maybe even in areas that surprise us.
Children are born with self-confidence. They will maintain this confidence as long as we as parents and teachers do not bring up their failures and mistakes. We would never have thought to have said to our one year old, “You failed at walking again!” It is not fair to the child to not allow them the room to have internal dialogue and to explore what really happened and how they can do better next time.
What does this have to do with martial arts? In our martial arts training not everything is going to come easy. We are not going to be perfect the first time we try something. In fact we may fail many times before we get it right. So many times when we are teaching jumping rope, a child will struggle for a very long time and then all of a sudden it comes together for them. I love it when I ask them, “How did you do it?” and they just blurt out “I Practiced”. Practice has a way of building confidence. Not just the repetition over and over, but rather the careful study in practice of what is working and what is not and then making the adjustments.
If we allow our children the opportunity to practice this way the lessons they will learn will be life long ones.