Follow up: The Importance of Self-Esteem with Children and BullyingOctober 13th, 2011
As the owner of Sociable Kidz, a social skills group for kids, it is clear that children with low self-esteem are easy targets for bullying. Bullies like to take control and hurt others. They like to make others feel powerless. Bullies feel better about themselves when they put others down.
In my work I try to encourage children to “stand tall, be proud and confident” in themselves. Many children lack these abilities on their own due to being teased or bullied at one time or another. We do a lot of role-playing with the children. Someone will act out being the “bully” and the other children practice standing up for themselves. One way, is by using an I-statement (our favorite I-statements include, “I don’t like what you are doing! I want you to stop!”). It is not easy using an I-statement. We practice and practice until the children feel confident doing it themselves.
We write jokes together for the children to use as another strategy against bullies. I encourage my students to have one or two jokes at the tip of their tongue to use against someone who is being mean to them. Telling a joke in the middle of a confrontation really confuses the bully.
I teach my students to turn around an insult and give it right back to the bully. For example, as an adult, if someone tells me he/she doesn’t like my dress, it could bother me all day if I let it. I have learned to turn these types of statements around. I say, “I like my dress and I don’t care what you think about it!” I turn around and walk away. I have empowered myself by telling the “bully” how I feel. This is very powerful for young children to master.
Children need to feel good about themselves and have the inner confidence and self-esteem in order to stand up to a bully.
Listen to Susan’s full podcast on “Peace of Mind with Bernie the Attorney” by clicking here. For more information about Sociable Kidz, contact Susan Hendler at 914-502-3295 or visit www.sociablekidz.com.