This morning with Pat & Kim, the two discussed several strategies to help keep your daughter from bullying others and from being bullied by other “mean girls” while in school. Since your child is out of your watchful sight once they board the bus, use these tips from Dr. Michelle Anthony’s book, Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Years to stay involved with child’s social circle.
This useful checklist can help parents watch out for signs their daughter is engaging in bullying behavior and how to stop this negative behavior before it gets out of hand. Some signs to be on the look out for include:
- –Sharing incidents of being unkind in a nonchalant, detached way
–Talking about girls who are not present to other friends
–Starting or spreading rumors or gossip
–Seeking to make herself feel more powerful by speaking unkindly to siblings or parents
–Seeking to exclude kids from group activities or parties
–Making judgmental comments (“Did you see her torn shirt today?”)
If any of these signs start to show in your daughter’s attitude, follow this guide to help improve their relationships with their peers:
Step 1: Observe: Get a sense of who your daughter is within her social relationships before those dynamics get complicated. Watch how she interacts with peers, notice the role she tends to take with friends, listen to the stories she shares. Is she dismissive? Does she tend to take over? The goal here is to notice who your child is socially, without passing judgment, problem solving, or taking over. You will be amazed what you begin to notice when you look on situations with new eyes!
Step 2: Connect: Become a team with your child, recognizing the skills and talents she presently has to bring to new friendships. Start using active listening in your everyday communication so that it becomes second nature and can be used more naturally when your daughter comes to you with a problem, and so you can notice when your child or seems upset about something social. Doing so will also allow you to more quickly strip away a surface issue and get to the heart of whatever is troubling your daughter.
Step 3: Guide: Work together, making sure all her ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and list out ways she can take the lead on a non-social issue. For example, work together to come up with a list of ideas about her homework routine or chore schedule. Get creative! The idea is toDoing so will help her realize that any problem can have a great many possible solutions, even if some of them are not ones she would choose to enact! In addition, going through the process of together identifying multiple solutions around an uncharged issue will allow you and your child to solidify your partnership.
Step 4: Support to Act: Allow your daughter to choose one or two of the items on the list and actualize them, providing support or guidance only as necessary. The goal is for you to be part of this process as an interested but not overly invested observer. It’s important that your child see you as on her side and in her corner, but also know that you will not take over and try and solve her problems for her.