You’ve read about it in the headlines. You heard about it happening on the news, or worse, it’s happening in your child’s school. You may have even experienced it when you were growing up, or at work. You never expected it to happen to your own child.
Today your heart is broken. You just learned that your precious child is being bullied!
Thoughts are racing through your mind. “He’s such a nice kid. How could anyone be so mean to my child?!”
Your heart beats faster, your fists are clenched, your mind is racing: “I’m gonna, I’m gonna…!”
WAIT! Stop! Breathe! Be calm…
“A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.” (Wayne Dyer)
I know. You’re mad as “&*%#.” Likely, hearing about your child being targeted for bullying may trigger some of your own emotions in remembering your own situations of being bullied, which brings up some really huge feelings. Don’t make this your story. This is your child’s story and your child’s eyes are upon you. Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate by being a role model to your child, demonstrating how to respond effectively.
“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” (Albert Einstein)
When we “react”, we are acting from the primitive “fight or flight” part of the brain and acting out from a place of fear and anger. In so doing, we are fighting what we don’t want which contributes to the bullying cycle. However, when we “respond” with mindfulness, we are modeling how to create space between the event (bullying) and our response so we can connect our heart and mind to consider the various choices to respond responsibly and effectively. In this space we will focus on what we really do want: the bullying to stop, and peace and happiness restored! Don’t confuse a calm, non-violent approach with being passive. There are important actions we can and should choose to address the bullying.
So how do you bring yourself to calm? One technique is to see the child who is bullying as your own. Quite often, one who bullies is suffering deeply, and his suffering is spilling over. The message is that he needs help! Widening the lens and seeing all children, including your own, as learning and capable of making misguided choices sheds a more compassionate light.
With practice, children will learn to access the tools within their hearts and minds to handle any challenges with the same calm and mindfulness that they observed in us. What a beautiful legacy we are leaving for our children. We can all sleep better knowing we are contributing to a more compassionate, peaceful, and kinder world. Be the change, be the calm!
Now that you’re calm, what are your next step action steps?
Receive your free copy of “Help! My child was bullied! Now what?”
Request your copy from Dee DiGioia, Caring and Courageous Kids at [email protected]
This article/blog was also featured in “Inner Peace Parenting” online magazine, 8/8/2013 p42 Global Peace Ambassadors from Parenting 2.0 (such as myself) were invited to submit a parenting article in this special edition of “Inner Peace Parenting.” We were asked to share one helpful tip on parenting. (Link: Dee DiGioia article, Be the Calm in the Wake of Bullying Aug 2013)