Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

Preventing Bullying by Building Relationships

  • Barbara Harvey
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

I call parenting the toughest job you will ever love and hate.  The ramifications of what you say, do, and how you react can help or hurt children as they develop. 

Many adults do not consider how their actions will affect the lives of their children. Parent- child interaction has a lot to do with a child’s sense of self, sense of others and how to treat people.  One of the biggest issues I see is the use of negative words to motivate children. The words parents use are the most powerful in children’s lives.  Children believe what their parents tell them.  When their parents say you can do it. Then give them the tools they need. Children try hard and work to accomplish it , because they believe they can. The opposite is also true. Negative words do not motivate they fester. They can also teach children to accept negative words and violence from others. Bullying is defined as using words, actions, attitudes too intimidate, harass, isolate or violate another person who is weaker or subordinate to you. Relational intimacy can help children resist bullies.

Relational Intimacy and Bullying

Relational Intimacy is the closeness of heart, soul and mind that leads to connection and camaraderie. This kind of relationship can happen with deliberate and planned effort on behalf of parents. There are three elements of relational intimacy they are respect, listening, and time.  

Self-respect is a by-product of being respected by important adults in our lives and by doing things and being successful.  Parents when they use respectful words, actions, and attitudes in raising their children empower them with self-respect. Also, children knowing that they are good at something and becoming proud empowers them.  Respect also helps children to recognise that all people have a right to be treated with dignity. This prevents them from becoming bullies themselves.

 “When do you provide time to listen and not interrogate?” Children need to feel safe when talking.  Provide some kind of activity that requires no media and you will find all kinds of things to discuss.  Eye contact can be intimidating so avoid it. There is an art to listening it takes several steps. 1) listen carefully, pay attention to the feelings being expressed and not just the words; 2) don not criticise or give advice just hear what is being said 3)before you respond repeat back what you heard ask questions for clarification and then 4)take a moment to think before you respond.  Take a drink or restroom break if you need it. Your response should be loving  and kind.

The one thing that we never get back is time.. The truth is what you spend y our time doing is what you value. Relational intimacy is all about spending time to learn about each other and to keep the communication going. 

Parents who work hard to develop relational intimacy with their kids will automatically give them the tools they need to combat bullying.  

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  • Robynn Paul November 23, 2023 at 6:34 am

    So important to give each child time and attention, which can be so hard in this fast paced time.

  • Allaine Marais November 23, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    Its so fundamental to build healthy relationships with your children. Us as parents sometimes dont realise that we have the power to make or break our kids. This article was fantastic


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