My daughter got bullied last week. While it was indirectly, it does not change the fact that she was played on with power. Good thing we have a good and open relationship as she was able to tell me and not just keep to herself.
Bullying is a topic I have been very open to discuss with my daughter. Because unless children are aware that another kid is power-tripping them, they will not know how to respond [or avoid], especially little kids since they are all about being friends with and pleasing everyone. The last thing they want is another classmate not wanting to be their friend—and this is what bullies leverage on. It makes the victim feel that she is disliked by all.
There are different bullies based on my experience. There are verbal bullies—those who curse you, say you are ugly, poor etc.; and physical bullies who do not say anything but nudge you in the hallway. There are also the trippers—they randomly pick on you, snatch your paper or drawing, or get money from your purse. These bullies love to taunt at their victims because they know they won’t fight back. My daughter doesn’t fight back because she know that doing so is never the best way to win.
The thing with bullies is they think they are stronger, smarter and more powerful than you are. But deep down inside, they are empty, insecure and they have no real friends. They are people who assert who they want to be—in a position of influence and power—but have no means to get there through rightful ways. So they cut corners and just throw fits to compensate and conceal what they lack.
I learned about this bullying when Gummy’s bestfriend came over last week and they were discussing what the bully has been telling Rafa about Gummy. (My theory is that this bully is jealous of Gummy and Rafa’s closeness because she used to be close to Rafa too. I think she was trying to win Rafa over by downplaying my child. Please do not think that this is an ego issue—not at all. What puzzles me is how a 6-year-old is capable of saying such things.)
So she wrote them down on a piece of paper. Though I know they are untrue, reading the ‘statements’ said about my child hurt me.
One of the things she wrote is that Gummy is a “sumbong girl” and she is “S” – that’s our code for st***d – one of the bad words we are not allowed to say. When Gummy came up to me to show me the piece of paper, the only thing she told me was that she was not making sumbong, she was simply telling teacher the bad things she sees the bully does.
Of course it will come off to the girl as sumbong, but shouldn’t we not do anything we are afraid to be seen doing, okay? She was explaining to me and then I asked, “How do you feel about this?”
Parents, active listening to children when they open up gives you a gateway to their hearts. Listen to their hearts, not simply the words. In moments like these, just let them speak and validate if what you are hearing is correct. Minimize butting in or reacting.
So Gummy said she was quite sad because she thought that girl was her friend. Then I asked further, if she was hurt. She shook her head and said “No, Mom.”
Then commenced is our magic moment. I excused her from her bestfriend and brought her to the room. I spoke to her and assured her of who she is as God made her to be and that she is loved.
I also showed her a video about bullying where the victim does not fight back as a way of fighting back (direct application of overcoming evil with good, Romans 12:21) and instead just nods and agrees with everything the bully says. The verbal abuse did not take long and the bully left quickly having nothing left to say.
A bully only becomes a bully when you let him/her feel that his/her presence threatens you. When you fight back and try to rebuke the statements thrown at you, when you are agitated, that’s what they love and they are further fueled to dominate you.
But when you don’t react, and instead you agree with them with all they are saying, even if they are saying you are “S” but for the sake of ending the argument, soon you just agree, then they start to retreat and turn away.
The best way to protect your children from bullies is to secure them in your love and friendship and educate them on how to respond when such incidents happen. Also teach them that if an old friend bullies them, then that person is not a real friend after all.
It is never too early to teach our kids about discerning friends. It saves them from investing in the wrong, unhealthy relationships. A true friend will never trip on you under any circumstance.