In these times bullying is not only getting more frequent, but it is happening at a younger age. If your 7-year-old is getting bullied, you can’t just let it slide without doing something.
How do you help your 7-year-old that is getting bullied? What should you do? Don’t let the bully win, for starters. Remind them that being bullied doesn’t make them less important. Bullying can happen to anyone. When they are bullied, their self-esteem is challenged. Help them rebuild that self-esteem. Remind them that you love them. It may even be smart to teach them that sometimes bullies do what they do because they have also been bullied.
There are a lot of ways you can build your child’s self-esteem and help them to cope with being bullied inside or outside of your home.
Give Them Great Confidence at Home!
Confident kids don’t get bullied as much. One way they can gain and keep that confidence is by obtaining it and practicing it in their home. A child’s home is their foundation. If they have a weak foundation, they won’t be stable in places where they need to be (a.k.a. when they are bullied).
Tell them how great and strong they are! Love them by teaching them how to strengthen themselves. Repeat over and over again in many different ways, demonstrations of their great potential.
One way that bullies gain ground is by hitting kids where they are the weakest. So, you must seek to help them gain confidence in those areas where they are not as strong.
You can also teach them that it is okay to be weak sometimes because being weak teaches us how to become strong and change into a better and wiser person.
The 7-year-old mind is still developing. The ideas and principles they learn at this age are the ones they’ll carry with them throughout the years. If they don’t gain confidence when they are this young, it is possible they won’t have it when they are older.
At 7-years-old, children have the opportunity to create a standard of confidence which will follow them. It is an opportunity for you has a parent to teach them about goals, hard work, achievement, and resilience.
Help them reach goals and give them rewards for reaching them so they feel confident. Setting and striving to reach goals with your child will establish a feeling of unity for you and them, and they will be able to visibly experience their change in confidence and strength- which will also increase it.
They will be able to gain a trust in being confident; which means they will be more willing to be so when they are faced with whatever bully may come their way.
Teach Them About Family Legacy
Every family has their own crosses to bear. If you teach your 7-year-old about the past difficulties in your family which have already been faced, they will understand your family knows how to get through hard times and survive. You’ve done it once and you can do it again.
What have you been through in the past? Don’t hesitate to share personal stories with them of times when you felt less confident and weak. Parents who allow themselves to be vulnerable with their children will teach them that even their great parent was like them.
Children look up to their parents and think that they know everything. If they are able to see that such a strong person (in their eyes) can do something hard, they can too.
What have your ancestors been through in the past? You may not see it at first, but your ancestors and, in turn, your 7-year-olds, went through many hardships in their lifetime. Their stories are old enough that they hold a sort of magic. At least, I like to think so.
Ancestors (grandparents, uncles, aunts, and great-grandparents) have stories from their lives that are often so dated that they are very entertaining to hear.
Your 7-year-old will love to hear about their great-grandfather who was a doctor during the depression who didn’t always have enough money to provide for his family…etc.
Help your 7-year-old understand that the same blood which runs through the veins of that ancestral doctor, soldier, farmer, nurse, baker, etc., is the same blood which runs through their veins.
If it’s the same blood, then the ability to overcome those challenges is also inside of them.
Relate those stories to their life, and help them understand that sometimes hard things are necessary, and people are going through them all over the world and throughout all time.
What has your 7-year-old been through in the past? Reminding your 7-year-old that they have done hard things already and prevailed is also helpful. By comparing their past difficulties with their present, they can gain some perspective on their bullying situation.
Remind them of how hard and unfair those challenges seemed to be in the past, and that now they aren’t as hard. If they can understand that the same concept can be applied to the challenge of being bullied, it may help them cope a bit better with it.
Never Turn Them Away When They Tell You About Bullying
Your 7-year-old should never feel like they have to do it alone. By turning them away and not allowing them to communicate their feelings with you, it isolates them. Listen to them carefully and help them understand that their sadness and suffering matters to you.
If your child is unwilling to communicate, do your best to help them feel like they can. Some children are scared of whoever is bullying them so much that they are unwilling to tell you about it for fear of getting hurt.
When this is the case, make sure they communicate. Even if they are scared, you need to know what is going on. One way you can encourage them to be brave is by reassuring them that whoever is bullying them doesn’t have any power over them.
You can also remind them that they are safe at home. Establishing the home as a safe zone for your child is really important when it comes to bullying because otherwise, they can dig a deep and emotionally detrimental hole for themselves, which is very hard for them to get out of.
Note: Even if you are not sure if your child is telling the truth, you should still listen.
Sometimes 7-year-olds like to make things up to get attention. Even if your child is making being bullied up, it’s still important to take them seriously. If you don’t, when they really are bullied, they will think that it is not something they should be taking up with you because you don’t think that it is important.
I don’t know why, but kids remember things like that. So, step carefully and wisely through the subject of bullying when your child brings it up. Even if they are not telling the truth, it is the perfect opportunity to teach them about bullying.
Ensure They Have at Least a Couple of True Friends
It’s one thing to get bullied with your friends, but another to be alone in bullying. Having friends to lean on when you are getting bullied gives one strength to carry on in spite of it all. Seven-year-olds who are bullied but have friends are more likely to cope well because their friends help to validate their confidence.
If your child doesn’t have any friends, help them find some. Invite school kids to have a party at your house. For one, kids love parties, (even bullies love parties) and help your child be social.
Encourage their interaction with other kids. I think one of the big mistakes my parents made when I was younger was not letting me have friends over very often. I understand as an adult why it was so difficult for them to allow people over, but because of it, I felt very socially alone sometimes.
When a child has a true friend, their emotional foundation is a lot stronger. They can withstand more turmoil and uncertainty than they would have without one.
A friend needs to be someone who is honest and loyal; someone your child can count on and trust. Even my parents had to tell me a couple of times certain people I shouldn’t be friends with.
The concept of what it means to have a friend is not always going to be clear for a child. With the influence of false ideas and concepts that are portrayed on the media and spoken by others, it is easy for a 7-year-old to get confused as to what a true friend looks and sounds like.
Guide them and teach them what a real friend looks like and how that friend would treat them. Sometimes even a person your child considers their friend can be turned into a bully. That’s why it’s so important for your child to understand the difference between a bully and a friend.
Why the Bully Bullies
This may seem like an odd portion of this guide, but it is actually helpful for your 7-year-old to grasp why the Bully bullies. People who are bullies may have no reason for bullying. However, it is often that with children, they are bullying for a very specific reason.
There are many reasons why one child might bully another, or many might bully one. Whatever the case, it isn’t just black and white. Oftentimes bullying is a reflection of something happening on the inside of the bully rather than the outside.
Helping your child understand some of the possible reasons can dispel some of their fear and create strength in them. It’s amazing what a little understanding can do.
The bullies have been bullied:
I don’t know what it is, but understanding that a bully is mean because others have been mean to them sheds a whole new understanding on the subject of bullying.
Children will sometimes bully other kids because their parents are abusive, their older siblings treat them rotten, or other kids have bullied them in the past. Most people in these cases bully because they’ve been hurt in the past and bullying is a way they feel they can protect themselves.
If they establish a territory and an intimidating demeanor, they won’t get hurt the way they do at home, at school, or in other places. Bullying is often a reflection of being injured or hurt emotionally or physically.
When explaining this to a 7-year-old, you’ll be surprised how their attitude may change. A bully can often take a monstrous shape inside the mind of a child. When you humanize the ‘monster’, it helps create compassion and strength in your child.
It’s almost as though that understanding creates a shield and a resilience towards that kind of harassment. Harassment which will most likely repeat itself in later years. When they understand some reasoning behind it, it can make it a little easier.
They want to fit in:
Sometimes kids bully because they don’t fit in and they want to. There’s that cool kid who is so awesome and to be a part of his group you have to be mean to other kids.
Again, it’s a reflection of a low self-esteem. In the instance of wanting to fit in, this bully most likely doesn’t have a very high opinion of himself. He thinks that if he joins in with the other bullies that it will change his value and will make him (or her) happy.
You can take this opportunity to explain to your 7-year-old that the bully will never be happy and that they should be sad for the bully. Yes, the bully needs to have a consequence for their actions, but maybe they need a friend too.
Bullies don’t know how to deal with being jealous of another person:
Sometimes, kids bully other kids because they are jealous of something they have or something they’ve done.
Jealousy is a powerful motivator for anyone, even a child. It takes hold of a person and comes out as words and deeds if we don’t reign it in. If you are explaining this possibility to your child, remind them of a time they were jealous. How did they feel?
A 7-year-old may say feelings like sad, angry, or frustrated. You can then explain that sometimes people don’t know how to deal with these feelings. Ask them how hard it is for them to be nice and kind when they are angry. Some people haven’t learned how to act/react the right way when they are jealous.
Note: Relating feelings of jealousy, sadness, or anger to your 7-year-old’s own emotions helps them understand bullying.
When they have a better understanding of the kinds of feelings that lead someone to bully, they are able to gain confidence, realize that it’s nothing they’ve done and that being treated badly is not a reflection of their worth.
What About Teachers and Mentors that Bully?
It isn’t just kids that bully other kids. Adults and mentors that your 7-year-old may look up to could be the bullying culprit as well. I heard a story by a popular counselor.
He told a story about these 3 kids who would go over to their grandmother’s house and she wasn’t very nice to them. The mother would get frustrated every time they came home from their grandmother’s house because they would be sad and would feel very worthless.
Because she didn’t know what to do she went to her therapy appointment and asked what she should do. Her therapist/counselor told her to reward her the child who the grandmother criticized the most.
So, instead of coming home from their grandmother’s house unhappy and sad focused on what their grandmother said, they’d be focusing on who got picked on the most. (Who got the ice cream)
Her children forgot all the mean things that were being said and the words rolled right off their backs into an ice cream cone of sweet goodness.
So, all you have to do is help your 7-year-old change the way they look at the bullying. Help them understand what is right, what is wrong, and help them understand that they are safe at home and that adults and mentors are not all-powerful or invincible.
What should I do if it’s my child that is the bully? The principles and methods can apply to those who are bullied to those that bully. Try to discover why your child is bullying.
A lot of times it’s because they lack self-esteem or they are feeling less than they should. Bullying has a lot to do with self-esteem. Some kids think it’s cool and that’s why they do it.
How can I help my 7-year-old get along with their siblings? Actually, sometimes the best thing is to let them figure things out on their own. Don’t take sides because that’s not healthy.
If your 7-year-old doesn’t get along with their sibling the only thing you can do is try to be the mediator but let them figure things out on their own. The home is a place where they can practice doing it right. (Especially if they are brawling boys, it’s actually healthy for them to wrestle a bit.)