Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Protect Your Daughter from Bullies

I do not mean to ignore those with sons, but since I only have one daughter I believe it is wise to only talk about what I know. 

Even though my daughter is young,  bullying starts very young.  I have read several books about bullying and one of the best books is called Little Girls Can Be Mean by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert.  This book is full of good advice and tips.  It is a must-read for any mother with elementary-aged daughters.

This past year in kindergarten literally broke my heart.  There were 5 girls in her class.  Three of the girls were constantly mean to her.  Even her teacher said it was awful. 

Girls can be sly with their bullying because a mean look, gossip, or an eye roll is not going to get them sent to the principal's office.  However, if a child punches or kicks, he/she is kicked out of school and labeled a trouble maker. 

My initial reaction is to swoop down and rescue my child myself.  I remember how other kids taunted me and made me feel like the ugliest creature in existence.  My low self-esteem led to some poor choices in my life.  I cannot bear the thought my child feeling the way I did. However, it is better for my child to learn how to stand up for herself and not depend on me to fight her battles. Of course, if your child is in danger, you do need to step in and take immediate action.

I don't know about you, but I feel like my hands are tied sometimes.  How can I expect a child to stand up for herself when most adults have not even mastered that art?

It is a slow process.  As parents, we need to constantly inspire and strengthen our child.  One of the best things we have done is that we belong to a Church.  Even if you do not believe in organized religion, if you read about the happiest and most content people, it is those who have a strong spiritual connection to others. 

Involve her in sports.  Find something that she is good at and feels passionate about.  You cannot go wrong with having extra friends, producing endorphines, and keeping active and fit.

Encourage her to journal and to have a safe place in her room to express her thoughts.  I love the part in Little Women when Beth was sick and Amy was stuck with Mrs. March.  The Catholic maid created a closet for Amy.  Amy put some of favorite possessions in the closet, but mainly it was a place to get away and pray by herself.  Even though, we have a small home, our daughter has a red (her favorite color) beanbag by her bookshelf with an ethereal white paper lantern overhead.  This is one of her favorite places to hang out in her room.Publish Post

Girl Scouts has been a very positive experience for us.  My daughter has made friends of different ages, different backgrounds, etc.  Our troop is very kind and fun loving.  It makes me feel better to know that her fellow Girl Scout sisters are across the hall or in the next classroom.  There is a Bible verse about how a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).  Encourage your daughter to have strong sister-type friendships and give her those opportunities.

Lastly, accept your daughter for she is and do not force her to live your dreams.  Marvel at her uniqueness, support her, love her, and pray for her.  Be grateful for the time you have with her.  She will only be yours for a short time.


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