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Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome to those of you who are visiting after reading my devotion on Encouragement for Today.  If you haven't read it yet, you might want to pop over there first, then come back here. 

You might think the topic of bullying isn't fitting for a devotion.  Yet, throughout Scripture we see God's heart for those oppressed. 
He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.  The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.   (Psalm 9:8-9)
Jesus was sent to bring hope and help to those oppressed.  He read these words written by the prophet Isaiah about Himself:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. "  (Luke 4:17-19)
And this same loving God calls us to a life of mercy and justice:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  (Micah 6:8)
I sense a call to action when it comes to bullies.  As I said in my devotion, tolerating offense willingly is one thing.  Submitting out of fear is another.  I believe it's time to empower our children to stand up to bullies and not pretend it isn't happening.  Because it is in alarming numbers.

So what can parents do if you think your child is being bullied?  Here are a few tips from my book, "When Your Child is Hurting:"

Identify if the actions are true bullying or just childish meanness.  A definition for bullying might be when one child or a group regularly torments another child psychologically or physically.

If it's bullying, allow your child to talk uninterrupted about the problem. Show compassion and empathy, but not anger. Let your child know you take his comments very seriously, but don’t over-react. Share your own experiences to let your child know she isn’t alone.

Then casually ask specifics such as:
  • How long has it been going on?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Does any other adult know?
  • Where are the adults when it’s happening?
  • Did any other children witness the bullying?
 Refrain from interrogation techniques, and write down the answers without your child seeing you. 

If your child has any injuries to herself or her possessions, take photos.  Do this calmly, without making a big deal. 

By this point you probably want to take matters into your own hands, but don't.  It's important for your child to handle it as much as possible.  Remember, you are training him to deal with bullies the rest of his life. 

What you do next depends on the extent and the location of the offense. If something criminal happened, you have a responsibility to report it to the police. If it happened at school, a library, after-school program or other public place, you and your child together should report it to those authorities. If the offense was relatively minor, you can help your child deal with it one-on-one, and with God’s help, take steps now to avoid any further bullying.
 
Steps to avoid bullying
 
Some simple practices can help your bully-proof your child. I think most parents would agree that it’s better to be pro-active than re-active when it comes to bullies. Most experts agree on the following:


Connect with friends – Having a group of true friends is one of the best defenses against bullies. True friends affirm your child’s worth and value. True friends will stick up for your child in a difficult situation.  Empower your child to do the same for his friends.

Be direct – Teach your child to be honest and direct about what she wants or needs. This is a good training ground for setting healthy boundaries.

Respond calmly to a situation – When your child is hurt or offended, teach him to respond calmly, rather than give in to emotions and react. Taking a minute to think through a situation and formulate a response will help your child learn self-control and teach him relationship-building skills.

Stand up for yourself – As your child learns her worth is based in her position as a child of God, she begins to see her value. No one has the right to intimidate her, or her friends. There should be a sense of holy justice that rises up in us when we understand that fact. When someone bullies your child, she has the right, and the responsibility, to tell the bully to stop. This starts at home. Allow your child to speak his mind freely with respect.
Be assertive, not aggressive – Teach your child the difference between standing up for what is right, and retaliating. As Christians we follow a moral code of how to treat each other, given to us by a holy God. We have the right to speak out against injustice.
Teach social skills – We all need to learn how to live in community with others. If you see your child has a difficult time relating to children her age, spend some time going over rules of common courtesy.

I'd love to give away two copies of my book today.  Dealing with bullies is only one chapter.  I've filled it with practical ways to help your children deal with common problems.  I also think it will help parents do the same.

If you think it could help you, or someone you know, please leave a comment, with a way to contact you.  I'll announce a winner on Monday.

Thanks for joining me today.

In His Love,

Glynnis

*****************************************************************
It's Monday afternoon, and I'm happy to announce the winners of my book.  Please know I wish I could have given one to everyone one of you who posted.  Your stories touched my heart.

Since I can't, I'm happy to announce the winners by the first part of their email addresses:   aroberts & dksester.

I will email you privately to get your mailing address.  Thank you!

  

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post and for the advice, Glynnis. My son was bullied last year and we are praying that it won't happen again this year. Your words are very helpful and encouraging!

Growing in Grace,
Karla

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words of teaching and encouragement. They speak to not only mothers with children, but also to those that still deal with the bullies at work or in their everyday life.
I have a friend who could use your prayers and I would like you to consider her for your book give-away. She is dealing with the aftermath of the sexual abuse of her children. The children were elementary age and the offender was a friend of the family. They are dealing with the issue of helping their children rebuild their self-esteem and learning to stand up for what they believe, and for themselves.
Your words struck a cord with me, & I feel would greatly impact this family's life.

Thank you again!

tkcoker@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Glad to read your article.Thanks for the good advise. it will be a helpful resource when working with children at church, my grandchildren and others. I believe there is more bullying going on then we realize & we adults need to be an encourager to our young people. Thanks for your words and a chance to win your book.Sweet blessings,
grammy.25@comcast.net

Laura said...

Thank you for this posts. It was quite timely for me. Your book sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

My child is currently being bullied at school and it revives the years that I spent hating school because of one particular bully. While my bully was physical, my daughter's bully is psychological and I believe that leaves more damage in its wake. The bullying is causing problems at home because she comes home so angry and frustrated, and we get the brunt of that. I can't even begin to express how helpful your book could be, not just for my child, but my entire family. We are all wondering what we can do to make things better.
daisychick3299@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Great post today, this is very helpful as a parent of 4 young children, my daughter and I were just discussing bullies this week.

Jennifer
jhoyle1@msn.com

Tina said...

What a great post! With God there are no accidents so it is no coincidence that my daughter has been struggling this week and I'm not sure what to do to help. I would love a copy of your book.

Shannon said...

Thank you very much for this post. Ironically my husband and I were discussing this and made many of the same points.

Our oldest son has been the victim of bullies a number of times. Every school year I am filled with anxiety and concern for him. He is small for his age - but he is outgoing. I think he is targeted because of both of these things. He draws attention to himself because of his personality and then the bigger kids see him as an easy target. Last year there was a terrible incident on the bus. Like you wrote, he never said a word to us. We found out from another parent whose kids were on the bus and witnessed the incident and told her because they were very concerned for my son. I was very confused and upset(read sad) that he didn't tell me. I am always home when he gets home and ask him how his day went. Later he told me he thought it would just get worse if he'd told me.

We pray for him everyday before he goes to school. I pray for him during the day whenever he comes to mind. We have encouraged him to stand up for himself. To tell the adults that are around, to tell us, to just tell!

Anyways - thank you for this post. It is a very important message for us and for our children. I greatly appreciate it.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

What great advise. Even as an adult I find it difficult at times to draw a line between door mat and Christian. As a mother of 4, it's been brought to my attention that this area is crucial in raising our children.

Excellent advise. Thank you.

Alicea
amdrischler@gmail.com

Shonk said...

Thanks for the GREAT advice. I was bullied during 7th and 8th grade, so needless to say, I'm very sensitive to this subject. When I hear the word "bully" my feathers ruffle quickly. I would love to read your book. Thanks so much.

tshonk@zoominternet.net

Shonda said...

Thanks for sharing these tips. As a mother, I want to jump in too quickly and not take the time to walk my son through the process. I see it is important to teach him how to deal with it, not always relying on mom.

Blessings-
Shonda
shonda@engraftedbygrace.com

dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dee said...

Great advice!
I hope to be able to read more to be able to help my children through the rough patches of life.

Blessings,
Denise
denisesutherland@cox.net

Janelle said...

While sitting on the potty a few months ago, my three year old girl said "Mommy, you're a monster!" in a really mean tone of voice. Surprised, I asked her where she had heard such a thing. Matter-of-factly she replied that two girls in her preschool class chased her around the playground and called her a monster. My daughter said that two of her friends told the mean girls to leave her alone.

While I am very thankful for my daughter's faithful friends, I want my little girl to have the skills to stand up for herself. As a single mommy, I have to learn how to stand up to the bullies in my own life, as well.

I would love to read the book.

janelle_anderson@yahoo.com

Heather S. Deaton said...

All kids deal with teasing and criticism from peers and need good strategies to handle it. Thanks for sharing your tips on confronting bullies in a Christian way.

Rena' said...

Great Crosswalk devo and VERY timely! My son and I just had a conversation yesterday about a repetative bully that he has been dealing with for over three years now. My son is also small for his age but oddly so is this boy. I think he may have his own self-esteem issues that he projects onto my son. My son is a Christian boy and makes it known to his peers. He is just at a loss as to how to handle things.

DACK said...

Your article was very helpful and I am sad and a little relieved to know that we are not the only ones dealing with this or dreading the possibility for the new school year. My daughter experienced terrible verbal bullying last year and we are praying for an uneventful year, but also that she will tell us if it starts happening again. Words of wisdom and guidance would be much appreciated on those nights when my daughter cries softly to me about how much she is hurting. Perfect timing for your article...thank you.
Cindy

Lynn said...

Thank you for your timely words. Just yesterday my middle-school aged son and I dicussed a bullying incident he had experienced at school that day with another student.It was heartbreaking to hear my son repeat the rude (and profane) the older boy said to him, knowing that this is not the first time. It was hard to resist picking up the phone and calling the school counselor. Thank you for giving my husband and I some things to talk about and pray with our son.

Maria said...

Thank you for your thoughful words. This info will help me react more apprpriately to what my kids share with me. I don't recall being bullied so it's been hard to relate to my kids' experiences. I've always taken things in to my own hands due to injustice but I knew there must be another way. I hope to empower my kids to stand up for themselves in a more effective way. I know this book would be a great blessing to all of us and I promise to share the wisdom here with other parents. Tank you again and God bless you.

Heather Finnegan said...

One of my biggest fears for my oldest is that he will be bullied. He has sensory processing disorder and responds very emotionally. He just started kindergarten this year, and would love any extra resources I can get. My email is:
h(dot)j(dot)finn78(at)comcast(dot)net


Heather

Angie said...

thank you for your ministry, Glynnis!

i posted on your request for input on "praying for our kids" a little while back & shared your summary sheet with several sisters in Christ - many are joining me in taping the list to our bathroom mirrors & 1-by-1 making our way through the list together each morning - blanketing our children in prayer together! thank you for that!

regarding today's post... we have 4 children (2, 4, 6, 8 - yes... who do we appreciate is OFTEN heard in response! ;) our oldest has Asperger's and SPD (sensory processing disorder), and thus is at a 90%+ risk of being bullied. we have already experienced several questionable incidents on the bus, playground, etc (common bullying target times - adults can't see it all, busy transition time, etc). we are trying to empower and equip him as best we can. we attended a "Please Don't Tease" event our school district held last year - an intro on bullying - very well done - and are planning to attend the "part 2" coming up this fall. we have very open & clear discussions with our son on this topic to try to help him know exactly some concrete ideas of how to act/what to do. unfortunately, an incident at school happened last year where he (our son) did exactly what he should do (go talk to an adult), but, an adult themself didn't handle it well! talk about confusing to our son...

we are praying that the bus will be better this year b/c the 'bully' has moved onto the next grade & thus has a different bus route. also, his younger brother is on the bus with him this year & would speak up on his brother's behalf (we believe).

it TRULY is a huge problem for children nowadays and the more we can put the word out there that it is NOT to be tolerated by the bystander masses (this is where they have discovered the power lies therein - NOT in trying to rehabilitate the bully - as once thought, or even as much in empower the bullee - not that we shouldn't work in addition on these things, but the focus going into building a community effort that says "we don't do that here" - that others won't stand by and allow it to happen)

there is more i could say (believe it or not!), but i mostly just want to thank you for your Christian perspective on this & helping to draw attention to a very real problem for our children today.

God's blessings!

Angie said...

thank you for your ministry, Glynnis!

i posted on your request for input on "praying for our kids" a little while back & shared your summary sheet with several sisters in Christ - many are joining me in taping the list to our bathroom mirrors & 1-by-1 making our way through the list together each morning - blanketing our children in prayer together! thank you for that!

regarding today's post... we have 4 children (2, 4, 6, 8 - yes... who do we appreciate is OFTEN heard in response! ;) our oldest has Asperger's and SPD (sensory processing disorder), and thus is at a 90%+ risk of being bullied. we have already experienced several questionable incidents on the bus, playground, etc (common bullying target times - adults can't see it all, busy transition time, etc). we are trying to empower and equip him as best we can. we attended a "Please Don't Tease" event our school district held last year - an intro on bullying - very well done - and are planning to attend the "part 2" coming up this fall. we have very open & clear discussions with our son on this topic to try to help him know exactly some concrete ideas of how to act/what to do. unfortunately, an incident at school happened last year where he (our son) did exactly what he should do (go talk to an adult), but, an adult themself didn't handle it well! talk about confusing to our son...

we are praying that the bus will be better this year b/c the 'bully' has moved onto the next grade & thus has a different bus route. also, his younger brother is on the bus with him this year & would speak up on his brother's behalf (we believe).

it TRULY is a huge problem for children nowadays and the more we can put the word out there that it is NOT to be tolerated by the bystander masses (this is where they have discovered the power lies therein - NOT in trying to rehabilitate the bully - as once thought, or even as much in empower the bullee - not that we shouldn't work in addition on these things, but the focus going into building a community effort that says "we don't do that here" - that others won't stand by and allow it to happen)

there is more i could say (believe it or not!), but i mostly just want to thank you for your Christian perspective on this & helping to draw attention to a very real problem for our children today.

God's blessings!

Anonymous said...

What a timely devotion for us. My 9-year-old daughter is dealing with bullies and we are trying to teach her God's way of dealing with them. I do want to take matters in my own hands, but need to let her stand up for herself first. Thanks for your encouragement.
Stacy

Anonymous said...

What a timely devotion for us. My 9-year-old daughter is dealing with bullies and we are trying to teach her God's way of dealing with them. I do want to take matters in my own hands, but need to let her stand up for herself first. Thanks for your encouragement.
Stacy

Anonymous said...

So, what does one submissive person do when bullied by another Christian in the church? Hmmm, are we to be doormats and allow these "Christian Bullies" to boss everyone else around and have their way as they always do? How does one stand up to that, I want to know? Sorry, but after 10 years of this sort of treatment, I had to finally walk away from it in order to survive. My cheeks were getting awfully sore from getting beat on over the years, not to mention how downtrodden I was and living like a doormat. However, when the "doormat" spoke back and "walked" on, I was called the "Bad Person"!!! Perhaps you might address this issue in a future blog. Thank you for this post, maybe you could put a different twist on it in order to address the situation I am referring to. That would be of great help to those of us who are tired of being "stoned by other Christians" -- it is so bad for me that I do not want to attend any church at all any more! I still love the Lord and want to serve Him but I have been damaged and hurt to the core.

love2bmom said...

I would love to read more about this in your book. We like Angie, who also commented, have a child on the autism spectrum of disorders, and this is something he will likely deal with most of his life. Thank you for addressing this issue today on your blog.

Carolee
bolithos@sopris.net

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these words of advice. My son has been dealing with hurtful words at school about his weight and I have been praying for him and for the bullying to stop. I've also asked the Lord to help me handle the situation in the right way. I wished that no child had to deal with this issue.

aroberts@lanefurniture.com

Glynnis Whitwer said...

Thank you for your comments today. I know this is a difficult issue.

I agree with the poster who said it's up to the bystanders to do something. I have told my children they will never get in trouble at home if they defend someone weak who is being bullied. The strong should absolutely protect the weak. Is there anything closer to the heart of God?

I will be glad to write some follow up material on this topic. Thank you for asking.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! My 6th grader just started public school after being homeschooled until now. I have been struggling with how to help her with the "girl drama" that goes on in school. I would love to have a copy of your book!

emilynoe@live.com

Vonnie said...

Thank you for giving the correct interpretation of the Scripture passage. I feel that many christians often don't bother to find the real meaning of the passage but rely on what they have been told all their lives. Also,
thank you for pointing out the many places and ways bullying can occur. Many Christians/churches close their eyes and ears to calls for help from those women(usually)
that are being abused by their husbands,either emotionally,
mentally and/or physically. They instead quote the passages on
submission. I believe in submission when the husband is
loving his wife as Christ loved the Church (obviously, we all fall short) but God has not condoned abuse and told us to sumbit to it.
I believe that there are girls that learn to "submit" even in the presence of abuse and boys that learn to be abusers in "Christian"
homes. How very sad. It is a sin
that is in private and easily covered up. Even sadder, many times when women go to their pastor/counselor they are told to just pray and hang in there. I was a pastor's wife and couldn't go to anyone. My abuse was emotional and I tolerated it for years because
I didn't know what to do. I thought I was protecting my children, but they knew far more than I imagined. I finally realized I must stand up to him in the right way. We divorced, but by this time much damage was already done. My self image was shattered and my children have scars they will carry all their lives. God has been merciful and both of them are doing well and have not forsaken Christianity. However I have found that in some churches divorced women aren't welcomed. We need a place where we can worship and feel safe and not shunned! I do apologize for such a long comment but I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed in our churches. Bless you for coming at it head on and, I believe, trying to clear up a grave misunderstanding.

God's blessings

grace said...

Dear Glynnis,I have a 9 year old son,who has been trying to battle bullying in school. We went through difficult times trying to understand it all but we lift it to the Lord and trust His purposes. Now, its wait and see if this school year is going to be better, and we pray it will be. I feel this book will open our eyes to what the Lord wants us to learn. Thank you and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Great post - would love to read your book. With 3 school age children, our family has had to deal with bullies almost every year in some form or another. As a child I was also a target for bullies. Obviously I could use some instruction and pointers on how to deal with these situations, so that my children don't have to deal with it as much as I did.
Blessings,
Maureen F.

ferguson5 @ sbcglobal . net

myletterstoemily said...

a valuable and sensible approach to
a hideous societal plague. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. When your child comes home saying she was hurt instantly my mommy claws want to come out. Your book sounds great for me to read. I would love to have the arsenal needed to teach my daughters the best and most Godly way to approach someone that bullies.

jslutes@embarqmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the devotion you've written. I struggled with bullies as a child (as I'm sure most everyone has) and have been trying to figure out exactly what I should be teaching my children about how to handle them. My response as a child was typically to ignore or let go the bullies' behavior - not always the most helpful. I believe the strategies in your book will be of great to help to me in my parenting. Thank you for letting God work through you!

~Alicia Starr, Gastonia, NC

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post couldn't have come at a better time as my son just started secondary school. He has move from a very small school to a school of 1500 students. I had been praying ahead since last year for the Lord to go ahead of him. I believe what we parents need to do more is pray without ceasing take authority in the schools in the name of Jesus. Kids can feel our fears remember at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Bullies shall bow in Jesus name. Thank you for word.

Yours in Christ
Remi

Lynn Cowell said...

Thanks so much Glynnis. One thing I have to draw to my teen daughters attention is that sometimes, though they don't see it, they are actually the "mean girls". It can be a challenge to help them through bad treatment but also point out when they are the culprit.
Good info!
Lynn

Carolyn said...

Hi Glynnis..... I have a two year old son who tonight at our BBQ with friends was hit in the face by another 2 year old. My son was having difficulty sleeping tonight and after talking with him he said that he wanted to cry when he was hit. My heart is crushed! I soooo want to protect him but my husband and I need to teach and equip him how to handle these situations when they do happen. I never thought that at 2 years old my husband and I would need to address this. I'd love to hear more about what your advice is. Thanks.....

Carolyn
CSnavely727@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about bullying. Our son has been bullied for over 4 years now, by two boys (who are cousins).
It would be easier if it had been at school and we could explain that they just don't love Jesus, but when it happens at church???

It's just so hard to know what to do. We pray that his character would grow through this, and it's so nice to see him help other kids to have a good time.

We really need wisdom, and we've told him to stay away from those boys, but they're always hunting him down.

Your sister in Christ,
dksester@frontier.com

Anonymous said...

This article came at just the right time. I was bullied as a child and am now trying to help my child be strong in who she is as a child of God. The feelings from my past sometimes make it hard for me to know what the right thing is to help her. I think your book could benefit us both.
Blessings! Lori

Anonymous said...

thank you for your devotional. This is happened to me in the past with family members, I had never pin pointed what was happening until tonight. I just thought I was the odd one and the one who was insecure. I have learned just to keep silent and then when I have comfronted the situations it creates such a problem that I wish I could have just kept it to my self. I then feel worse since I know that we given Satan an opportunity for taking our peace away.Then insecurity and anger arise. It is hard to not pass this on to my own kids, and I do pray that God will help me to break this cycle. I see my oldest who has an attention problem and how it is hard for her as well to feel secure in what she does and what she says. And I see how kids laugh and make faces at her, or when family just ignore her or leave her talking. I know that if I do not learn my self to confront my own emotional bullies, I will not be able to help my own kids.
I know that this is an answer to prayer and I do thank God for using you today! Could you please consider me for one of your books? I know it will bless my life.
In his service,
starshipiaks@gmail.com

L said...

Thank you for your wise words of wisdom, especially the not to take things into your own hands part and to set healthy boundaries part. This is something I struggle with raising 4 children. Please enter me in your drawing for a copy of your book. Have a blessed day.

Anita said...

Thank you for sharing with us.

I am passionate about helping children who are being bullied; to encourage them to tell a safe adult.

I would really value help from Christians around the world, to help share this message.
If anyone is interested, please see my website. Thank you x