A Mad..Mad World

As a parent, we see the world differently.  If you are a parent, you can certainly understand what I mean.  I remember a very good friend of mine making a comment to me, “This world is mad” he said.  For many reasons, I must agree.  The amount of hatred, jealousy and negativity around us has driven our world absolutely mad.  The minute he said that to me was an “ahah” moment.  As I was driving home this weekend, I looked back to see my daughter asleep in the back seat.  It was a peaceful image that is far different than the one our world is teaching. 

Our world is teaching children and adults to judge based on appearance, social status and the “stuff” that we have.  It’s almost certain that you or your child have experienced or have been bullied in your lifetime.   If a child is overweight/underweight, wear glasses, have different clothing, part of a minority group, go to a new school or are unable to buy the “cool” things for your child, he/she is at a higher risk of being bullied. 

This world is mad, jealous and hateful to the tune of approximately 2.1 million bullies and over 2.5 million victims.

Children who bully other children lead to bullying in their adult life and unfortunately, bullying is one of the leading causes of death in children 14 years and younger.  We, as parents, have the biggest opportunity to end bullying. If nothing else, we have the ability to equip our children with the means of surviving. I thought I would share the things I do with my daughter to equip her with the tools needed to live in this world.

1.     Talk to your child about bullying
a.     I talk to my daughter about bullying and why children do it.  As with most things, the more open we are with our children and inform them of what bullying is, the better chances are they can see it before it happens and possibly avoid it.
2.     Show your children sufficient attention
a.     Psychology tells us jealousy comes from a lack of sufficient attention.  As carefreeparenting.com states, jealously does not arise because the parents are paying more attention to someone else; but because they have not paid enough attention to the child.  Honestly, I come home sometimes and want to lay on the couch doing nothing.  When my daughter comes up to me and ask to play a game of UNO, I can’t be selfish and say no.  I too have to make sure that she has quality time with me as well.  Maybe one day I can beat her, it doesn’t happen often.
3.     Positive reinforcement
a.     Let your child know they are doing a great job and never compare them to their siblings or others.   My daughter thrives off this.  I also love the feeling I get when she sees I am happy with her.
4.     Teach your children to admire differences
a.     Everyone is different, a simple fact we all know.  Think of Ray Charles.  Sure is he blind however his gift in music is without question.  Avoid conversations pointing out differences to others with your children.  I talk to my daughter like I talk to adults.  I don’t treat her any different and that includes this subject.  We talk about difference and that they are what make each of us unique.  I’ve even asked her what she thinks the world would be like if everyone was the same.  She just looked at me, haha.
5.     Teach your child their self-worth, increase self-esteem
a.     Self-worth and self-esteem can be boosted by getting your children involved in activities, having them experience disappointment and allowing them to make mistakes.  This is massive.  Often times, we fear failure even though we get more success from failure than without it.  Allowing my daughter to fail is hard yet required.
6.     Be positive
a.     The negativity, hatred and jealousy can be offset with a positive mindset.  Be positive about everything, I assure you, this will change the way your child looks at our world.  I am a positive person and squash my daughters negative comments immediately.  Even the thought of negative remarks in our mind can lead us to do things we shouldn’t do. 
7.     Show your child unconditional love
a.     In the world of instant gratification, it is important to show your value in hard work.  I try my best to always recognize the hard work my daughter puts in.  Even when she does something that gets her in trouble and I send her to her room.  I always go back, sit with her on her bed and talk to her about what she did and how we can avoid it in the future.  I never get up without telling her how much I love her and how special she is.  Then we hug.  It really is the best thing ever when she smiles after getting into trouble -  the power of love.
8.     Teach the use of “No”
a.     As parents, we do not like for our children to say no to us but there are plenty of times in which “No” should be used, even to adults.  Help them understand the difference, there is a difference.
9.     Teach your child about god and the bible
a.     You don’t have to be religious or even spiritual to learn from a bible.  Even if it is to “do unto others as you want done to you”.
10.    Practice what you preach
a.     I saved this one for last as I feel it is the most powerful of all.  I teach my daughter not only by the words I speak but also my actions.  My thinking is simple, if I put my actions and words together, the result is far stronger than "walking the walk".  

These most likely will not keep them from being bullied or being around negative, jealous or hateful people.  I can only hope however, it hopefully will give them the tools and confidence to handle the situation appropriately.  Interestingly enough, these could be used for adults as well.

Just as a coach prepares their team, parents should prepare their children.  The tools are right in front of us and don't cost a dime  All you have to do is… DO IT!  What do you say?

If you do other things that are not on my list, I would love for you to share them below.  I am always looking for more tools to help our children grow strong and confident.

The video below is amazing and sends a very powerful message. I hope you take the 15 minutes needed to watch..