Inside: Do you need to know how to emotionally protect your bullied child? There are several ways to do it, but one new way we’ve tried involves Harry Potter and a magic spell to help get my daughter to laugh again through the bullying.
My daughter curled up onto the couch next to me after school today and whispered something in my ear.
It happened again, she confided. I’m having another social problem.
I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the worst.
My daughter has been bullied off an on for over a year now. And her stories always break my heart.
She’s different, and bullies love to go for the “different” kids. And my daughter fits the bill perfectly.
She not only has special needs, but she’s also the new kid at the school. And she also happens to still believe in Santa and fairies.
She has a HUGE target on her back.
But we’re in a unique position since we’re moving away in three weeks. My daughter will never have to see these kids again. She won’t need to face them in middle school. I don’t need the teacher to finally figure out how to make it stop.
I just need to get my daughter to survive it. To survive the bullying without it hardening her heart.
I tried pointing out that she’s only in school for 14 more days. She can just ignore them for 14 days.
But Mom, she reasoned, It’s ALL of the girls. And they laugh and say mean things at recess and in the classroom. I don’t think I can take it for 14 more days. It hurts my heart.
I had to take another deep breath and compose myself. These are the parenting moments that really define us and set the tone for how our children will cope with tough situations. And it will determine whether or not she’ll feel comfortable enough to keep coming to me with her problems.
And I could tell my daughter that I would write teacher to let her know what is going on. Again. But nothing will change the mean girls. Nothing seems to change their behavior.
But what I can do is help my daughter. I can protect her emotionally from the mean girls.
Emotionally Protect Your Bullied Child
It is one of the most awful feelings in the world as a parent to know that you can’t protect them from pain. To know that you can’t stop the hurt.
I feel powerless to stop the bullying.
But I can help her prepare for when it happens again. I can get her ready emotionally.
I can help my daughter realize that while she can’t control what the girls say and she can’t control what they do, she can control how she responds to them. She can control how much power she gives their words.
The old adage, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is bullsh*t.
Sometimes deeper and with a longer lasting impression than a stick or a stone.
I have to help my daughter not let a bully’s words sting as much or hurt as deep.
I have to prepare her to protect herself emotionally so she doesn’t take their words personally. So she doesn’t believe them. And so she stops letting them see how hurt she is.
I have to help her laugh it off. Not in a fake way where she pretends to laugh. But in a real, whole-body-shaking-belly-laugh kind of way.
And for that, I turned to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter.
How Harry Potter and a magic trick helped my Bullied Child:
My daughter and husband have been reading the Harry Potter series for a while now. And after every book they finish, they watch the movie together.
Dozens of life lessons can be learned from this incredible series, but one, in particular, is especially helpful for our bullied kids.
In the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s classmates are taught to face their fears head-on, by turning what they fear into something they find funny…using magic.
One student put roller skates on a spider, another student dressed a mean teacher in his grandma’s clothes and hat and another turned a scary clown into a jack in the box.
And they do it all with a simple spell: Ridiculous
So as my daughter recounted exactly what the girls said about her both as she passed in the hallway and straight to her face, we brainstormed funny things she could imagine her bullies transforming into as they called her names.
With a simple ridiculous, we gave her bullies flamingo legs and cheetah spots and bug eyes.
And for the first time all afternoon, I heard her laugh. Her real laugh.
With every animal body part we added to her bullies, we laughed harder.
So tomorrow, when the bullies say something mean, Ridiculous.
And poof. An elephant trunk nose.
Poof. A giraffe neck.
We talked about how she wouldn’t do it out loud. How she doesn’t need to stoop to their level and be mean and make fun of them to their face.
But she can imagine her bullies dressed up like a collection of zoo animals and focus on that rather than on their harsh words.
Here’s the thing. It may work. Or it may not work.
But coming up with this plan turned around her afternoon. It gave her another tool to emotionally ward of these bullies. And more importantly it kept her heart soft and her laugh real.
The sparkle didn’t drain from her eyes.
Right now, I’m not worried about her mental health or whether or not she’s going to hurt herself because she’s taking these girls’ words to heart.
My number one job in all of this is to ensure that she knows the bullies’ words aren’t her truth.
It’s the only real way I can protect her as she heads off into the world without me every day.
So instead of crying herself to sleep tonight like she has done in the past, tonight we laughed and laughed.
And as I tucked her in and gave her one last hug, she asked, can we just laugh some more, Mom?
Um, yes. My answer will always be yes.
Do you want Bully-Proof Your Kids??? Me too, that’s why I wrote this book to help other parents and their kids:
What do you do to emotionally protect your bullied child?