In one of the episodes of the hit TV show "America's Next Top Model", a task assigned to the models was to write words on their bodies which they were teased with as a kid. Words like zebra, bucktooth, skinny and other hurtful names were written on the bodies of the models as they were being photographed. Ironically, the women who used to be called these words are now contestants of a popular modeling tilt on TV.
During the interviews, the now adult women still have a vivid recollection of how they were teased with these words as a kid, and this is what bullying is all about. Without proper guidance, the hurtful words or actions done by one child to another may have dire effects as they grow old. Fortunately for the contestants of ANTM, they were able to get through the hurdle and make something of themselves. But what if the opposite happened and the bullying caused some real emotional damage to a person?
As a parent, this is something that you can swiftly prevent. In the following section, we will have an all-in-one guide on what can be done about bullying. As a bonus, we'll even throw in a few tips on how you can help kids – especially young girls – to develop meaningful and lasting friendships, as well as how their self-confidence can be given a boost.
An All-in-One Guide for Parents
Parents may think that they can shield their kids from all the harsh things in the world. But once your kid starts going to school and growing more independent, you can only do so much. This is precisely the reason why it pays to be vigilant. In issues like bullying, developing friendships and self-confidence, here are the things that you need to remember:
• Spot the first signs of bullying and prevent the situation from worsening.
It is a parent's primary responsibility to ensure that a kid is not being bullied. If you have a daughter, for example, who you used to be so bubbly but is now reticent and barely getting out of her room, it could be a sign of bullying. A decline in academic performance, a sour attitude when going to school, anxiety, and even odd little things like a missing lunchbox or a tattered skirt – all these can be signs of bullying.
Once you spot the early signs of bullying, it is a must to have a talk with your child – then with a school administrator. Together with a school teacher or a guidance counselor, you can put a stop to the bullying and hopefully reverse whatever effects it brought about to your child's emotional state.
• Help your child develop lasting friendships.
If you're fortunately enough not to have a kid who experienced bullying, what does her friendships look like? Another thing that you need to work on as a parent if you want to have a child who's well-rounded is to encourage her to develop lasting friendships. One way to do this is to organize sleepovers, movie nights, baking sessions or similar activities in your own home to get your daughter to have some bonding moments with her friends.
• Give your kid's self-confidence a big boost.
Finally, a huge issue among young girls is a lack of self-confidence. No matter how beautiful she looks to you as a parent, she may not need to feel the same way about herself. By giving her some encouraging words and stressing to her the importance of beauty from the inside, you can give your daughter the self-confidence that she needs.