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How to Keep Your Cool When an Adult Bullies Your Child

Today’s post is a topic that’s been broached here on Coffee with Julie before: Bullying. I’m really happy to share this post right now, because I think it’s really important to discuss  bullying not just for the two weeks following a tragedy, as is the tendency with media cycles. Today, Nicole from Our Family World shares some tips on how to keep your cool. I don’t think I can agree with her more that despite our initial desires to go “mama bear crazy,” we need to keep calm and figure out what steps will bring the best results for the child involved. 

Bullying, Losing your cool


Between the heart-wrenching news stories about kids actually killing themselves over it to the world-wide campaigns to end it, bullying is not something we can push under the rug as “kids being kids” anymore. The thing is, when it’s happening to other kids, it’s a little easier to think “oh, that’s horrible, what a shame for those kids” and not really do much about it. Then it happens to your kid. They say all moms become “mama bears” when their kids are hurting. That’s an understatement, if you ask me. Think more like mama T-Rex!

If you don’t keep your cool and address the situation in some semblance of a rational manner, you run the risk of looking like a crazy person that no one takes seriously. Believe me, I know. My son has been bullied by both children and adults. When children do it, you try to do all the responsible things. You talk to the school, maybe talk to the parents and definitely talk to your child. A lot of talking happens, and that is rational. Not always effective, but rationale. When an adult bullies your child, however, it can send you on a rampage that leaves you screaming from your deck about how you’re going to drag the bully across the pavement and feed her to the snapping turtles in your lake. Not that I ever did that, of course.

When your child is hurt, especially when they’re hurt by someone old enough to know better, something inside you snaps.  Just like that, you go from this relatively rationale mom to a T-Rex set to destroy everything in its path. Unfortunately, aside from getting you ostracized from the mommy play groups and PTO, this doesn’t really accomplish much. Knowing how to keep your cool when your child is being bullied by an adult will help get the situation resolved much faster.

Tips to Keep Your Cool

·         Count to ten. Seriously, I know it sounds incredibly cliché, but those first moments when you find out that your child just became another victim of bullying are not the best time to act. Take a deep breath and get control of your emotions before you try to deal with it.

·         Determine the severity of the bullying. When my son’s kindergarten teacher gave him a bad grade because he colored a squirrel purple instead of brown, I felt like she was trying to bully the creativity out of him. It seemed that everything he brought home had disparaging remarks. The reason I mention this is because to me, that was a form of bullying. It was a teacher using her position to basically shame my child into thinking the way she thought. The severity of that bullying wasn’t exactly worthy of calling in the troops, though. I quietly had his class changed and that was the end of it. On the flip side, if an adult bullies your child in a way that results in physical or severe emotional trauma, by all means, call the cops.

·         Practice your speech.  Practice what you’ll say in your calm voice until all signs of your inner raging lunatic are gone. Knowing what you want to say is important. Write it down if you have to. When your emotions are running high, it’s too easy to start sputtering and rambling.

·         Stay calm but firm. When you do talk to the adult doing the bullying, maintain that calm voice that you’ve practiced on the way to the talk. Be firm too, though. Let the person know that what they did is NOT okay and you WILL take measures to ensure that it never happens again.

·         Know how far you’ll go. Before you address the bully, take a few minutes to evaluate your options. If the bully doesn’t fess up, admit wrongdoing or otherwise resolve the situation, decide what you’re going to do about it.  This prevents you from screaming “fine, I’ll just have you arrested and sentenced to life in prison!” or something else that doesn’t really help your case.

·         Follow through. This isn’t really a tip to stay calm, but it’s important. Following through with what you say you’re going to do  not only tells the bully that they can’t bully you as well, it tells your child that you will do whatever you need to do to stand up for them.

Dealing with adult bullies is often more difficult than dealing with children who bully. Just remember, keeping your calm will help you get your message across and prevent you from ending up on the receiving end of a lawsuit!

Nicole Etolen is a freelance writer, blogger and mom to an 8-year-old son. She is also the creative editor and health writer at OurFamilyWorld. She has written numerous articles on bullying for the site and is passionate about spreading awareness about this issue. (Big huge thanks from me to Nicole and Olfa at Our Family World for sharing this post here today! Much appreciated!)

Image credit: I purchased this photo purchased from iStock, and modified it to fit this post. © keeweeboy

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