Sunday, August 09, 2009

Things To Tell The Kid At The Breakfast / Dining Table

image by nosheep, sxc.hu

Teach Them How To Handle The Bullies In Their Life

Parents intuitively know how their kid will fare when in the midst of bullies in school. This knowledge comes to them automatically. It is partly out of their own predisposition towards the concept of bullying, partly out of their own experiences as a child, and partly as they watch the child growing up from the cradle onward. For parents whose kids are physically and / or mentally sturdy, there is absolutely no problem. They can bask under the self-glorifying tales recounted by the kids after they return home from school about how they made life hell for this boy or that girl. But for parents whose kids are at the receiving end of aggression? To say that it is a bit of a challenge is an euphemism.

image by mavvamp, sxc.hu

It is alright to airily dismiss the problem as a ritual - a rite of passage - that everybody has to go through at some time or the other. Oh, don't worry, the kid will cope. Now is the best time for them to get a taste of what the wide world is going to be outside the cocooned shelter of the home. Indeed it will be good if they can cope with the situation and come out on top. Because, the lessons learnt in these episodes will mentally prepare the child for the tougher times when facing stalking by strangers or acquaintances, when facing physical bullying or verbal taunts from peers and colleagues in the workplace, and when handling manipulative bosses or supervisors who think employees are slaves, always willing to go down on their fours to get their promotion or to keep their job.

image by baikahl, sxc.hu

Besides hoping that the child will work out their own strategies to cope with any bullying they might be facing, there are things we can do that can work as a shield for the child in all circumstances, now as well as when they lead their adult life. The best place to begin is at the breakfast and / or the dining table. Sermonizing, finger-wagging, and edgy tones do not work of course. Light, humor-laced conversation that subtly delivers the right messages is a skill that we need to learn to imbibe as parents / caregivers.

image by hisks, sxc.hu

This setting is the best time when the child's receptive mind can absorb finer points about how they are not alone, and that for every single enemy, they can rally around two allies from amongst the crowd of the other kids. The child finds it useful to wolf down, along with the nutritious cereals on the table, thoughts such as how brave and fearless they innately are, and that it does not matter if the other party appears to have more physical strength, because there is some or the other flaw that makes everybody vulnerable, and because there is always going to be something that the child excels in which the other party is no good at and which can ultimately make the child a winner. The child begins to discover their inner strength when they are repeatedly told that they are the best human being in the world, and that the taunts and the teasing and the name-calling can be handled good-humoredly and in more positive ways than by mere sulking or by withdrawing into some shell. The kid can also be made aware about the existence of something known as "justice", in the form of the administration at the level of the school, a wider law that regulates the wider public, as well as a still wider Law that shepherds the entire cosmos, and that having the law by one's side is the best way to lead a peaceful and trouble-free life.

image by srbichara, sxc.hu

The kid won't consciously understand what it is they are receiving at the breakfast / dinner table, along with the food. But when the time comes for them to be parents themselves... they will know.

image by hisks, sxc.hu

[In front of children, we have to, at times, put on a brave front, and project ourselves as one who has all the experience and the wisdom to dispense the right advise. But we know, deep in the heart, of situations which we have no clue how to handle. This article might give insights into handling situations where the brain simply refuses to work: "When Facing Troubles - Focus On The End Outcome You Want".]

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