Each time you find yourself ‘going along’ just to ‘get along’ ask yourself this question – “Have I just been bullied?” I’m going to give you ten tips to help you begin your own bully proofing process. Think of it as creating a bully proof suit.
You may be facing bullying behavior in the form of a two-year old throwing a tantrum, guilt dumping teenage demanding $120 sneakers or middle-aged, business person who dumps her tedious work on your desk without permission on concern. You might have even expienced the glory grabber who takes your work and claims your credit. The names and faces may change but don’t be deceived bullying behavior has one goal in common – control.
These aren’t bad people but they are people behaving badly. They attempt to control your actions and feelings to get what they want. Behavior change starts with awareness. The first step in bully proofing is to identify the behavior bullies in your life. Feel free to pause now and make a list of your Top Five behavior bullies. I’m suggesting only five because it is manageable to imagine.
Remember that you aren’t a failure as a parent if your child makes your “Top Five.” Once your list is made, you can decide, in advance, how you will react before the situation repeats itself. Trust me, with your life’s behavior bullies, a similar situation is right around the corner. Why do I say that? They are very bright. So, they are unlikely to change behavior that has been getting them what they want. Would you?
We begin by accepting the fact that - in the past – you’re reactions might have been part of the problem. But that’s in the past. The future is bright. Things can change for you. They have for me. Last week I followed my own advice. The phone rang and the familiar voice of a take charge organizational leader boomed over the speaker phone. Once again, he wanted to assume me into doing what he wanted without regard to my time restrictions or other commitments.
Here’s what happened. Because he was on my Top Five list, I instantly slipped in to my bully proof suit and politely and firmly said, “No thank you, Darren, not this time.’ And then I was absolutely quiet. (This can be the hardest part.)
This time I didn’t end up fuming to my family and saying all the great stuff to a silent phone already safely back in its charger. This time I kept my promise to myself. And aside from the guilt, it felt great!
I knew how I was going to handle the behavior before the stressful situation occurred.
TOP TEN BULLY PROOFING TIPS
1: Accept responsibility for your reactions move forward
2. Identify your top five behavior bullies.
3: Remember their reward has been control.
4: Separate the behavior from the person.
5: You can find the behavior unacceptable and still care about the person.
6. Decide in advance how you will behave.
7. Think of this as a promise to yourself.
8. Expect resistance
9. Practice and persist.
10. Things get better.
School Bullies: Speaking of things getting better, I want to mention three things you can do to help bully proof your child.
1. Be a good example.
2. Model the behavior you want to see in them.
3. Build their emotional resilience with affirming words.
Regularly point out things that are right with your child that are not related to appearance or possessions. These are their character qualities. Emotional resilience enables your child to bounce back in the face of ridicule, exclusion and disappointment.
As a final step, reach out to the school principal. Ask these questions: Do you have a zero tolerance bullying policy? What program do you have in place to preempt bullying behaviors?
If she needs some bullying proofing in her life, too. You can show her how.
About Author: Margaret S. Ross, president of the Kamaron Institute (www.kamaron.org), has authored four books about building successful work and life relationships. An award winning speaker and author, Margaret Ross’ book, Casey and The Amazing Good Finder helps adults and children succeed in life, school, work, and relationships.
© 2005-2009 Margaret Ross