VBRD and Bullying

Yes, We’re Working on Virtue, But How Should We Handle Bullying?

By Lynne Lang

The first step is to listen with detachment to determine whether it is bullying or conflict. Sounds easy, but it is very difficult to imagine someone mistreating our children without getting emotionally charged. Sometimes we don’t hear the entire truth, so begin by asking questions as you hear the details your child is explaining:

  • Did you tell an adult at school?
  • Why do you think this is happening?
  • Is there any other way to see this?
  • What do you think needs to happen next?
  • What is the one, best option you can try the next time it happens?
  • If you could take back anything you said or did to contribute to the problem what would it be?
  • What would you like me to do to help you?
  • If you don’t want me to talk to someone at school, then will you?

It is important for young people to seek adult help when problems arise during the day. Encourage your child to report peer mistreatment (many times it is not severe bullying–intense, mean-spirited and repeated over time with an imbalance of power–but rather exclusion, name calling, or a conflict that has potential to be resolved with adult help.)

Building resilience in your child begins with prayer. Ask God to help you and your child know how deeply loved you are. Express thankfulness for the dignity and worth that comes from God, and not our peers. Others may attempt to attack our sense of wellbeing and dignity, but it cannot be damaged or destroyed because it comes from God. End by thanking God for providing and protecting us in all our needs.

The Resilience Research Center advises you to tell your child…

  • Talk to someone you trust. You are NOT alone. There are people who care and will help in whatever way they can.
  • Find a group that values your interests and uniqueness.
  • Without a doubt, there are other people out there who will like you for all the reasons that others may not. Look beyond your school and connect with others who share your interests
  • Write about the people who are mistreating you. If you feel comfortable, share what you wrote with someone you trust. Even though it’s not a direct solution, trying to understand from another point of view can sometimes make us feel better.
  • Most importantly, be yourself. Those who mistreat others may be insecure and will build up a false sense of power by criticizing others. They lack courage. Do not allow your dignity and worth to be determined by these people.

 


 

Lynne Lang holds an M. S. in Health Management from Lindenwood University. She is currently Director of School Climate for the Catholic Education Center, Archdiocese of St. Louis, and is a freelance writer assisting with curriculum for World Youth Alliance. From 1998 – 2011, she coordinated school health curriculum for BJC HealthCare, an organization of 13 hospitals associated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. This school outreach staff reached nearly 80,000 students and adults annually.