Amy Burzinski LISW-S, is kicking off the year for us as the guest of our first Tele-seminar:
September 12, 2012 9-10pm EST
Bully Proofing Your Child: Effective Practices and Strategies To Reduce Hurtful Behavior
Here is a taste of her wisdom:
Guest Post By: Amy BurzinskiLISW-S
What do you do when one kid wants to talk but the other kid does not want to listen?
Two boys at summer camp experience put downs and sarcasm from another
boy in their group. The two boys feel excluded when they see that other
boys follow his lead. They want the behavior to stop and they want an
adult to help. What’s the best course of action?
If all parties mutually agree to talk and listen great. Sit down, identify the problem and work toward a solution. But what happens if the boy using the sarcasm doesn’t want to talk? Or he wants to use this chance to tell the others what he thinks of them, and has no intention to listen when they talk about his behavior? Are you going to coerce him into talking? Even if he comes to the table, what are your chances of success if he’s clearly established his belligerence?
Many times when children have differences with one another, there is a hope that if we can get them to come together everything can be worked out. But some differences can’t be worked out. Telling someone how you feel or how you want things to be different doesn’t mean that anything will change.
In short, there are some kids who aren’t interested in changing their behavior. For these children, I recommend that you skip to Plan B.
Imagine the scenario of being at a family wedding and sitting at a table with an uncle who is best described as self-righteous and critical of others. He is loud and unruly. Would talking directly to him about his behavior make any different?
No. As painful or unjust as it seems, the best you can do is to acknowledge to yourself that you have an uncle whose behavior bothers you and who is not interested in changing—and that it’s not in your power to change him. Only that person can change himself and only when he wants to. Under these circumstances, the best you can do is to gather emotional support for yourself: speak with those who will support and protect you; disengage from him; and work with trusted others to minimize the impact of his actions.
Lets get back to the kids. By trying to mediate a conflict that can’t be ameliorated, we may be sending kids the wrong message and, worse, creating false hope. Specifically:
• What if the child being asked to change doesn’t want to?
• What if addressing the difficult child emboldens him?
• Are we sending the message that our happiness and feelings of security and comfort are dependent on someone else’s behavior and if we can’t change it we’ll be discontented?
My solution is to skip to Plan B: not holding our kids to a higher expectation than we, adults, have for ourselves. If hashing things out with a difficult kid won’t work, then don’t apply pressure to enter a dead-end dialogue. Instead, help the vulnerable child to identify peers that have strong empathy and compassion and will support him. The best solution is for the kid with the mean behavior to encounter a sizable minority that refuses to play his lousy game.
This kid will need our help. It’s not easy for anyone, and particularly a child, to reach out and ask for peer support. But when someone’s being mean to you and simply won’t quit, closing ranks with friends is the best way to retain a feeling of comfort and security.
Come and join us to learn more. You can register here for our Tele-seminar: