Maintaining Peace in the Wake of Sibling Bullying
Marie didn’t wait much before finding a therapist for her children as soon as she found out about the sibling bullying at her home. Her therapist was hopeful of brighter outcomes from the family therapy which was most suitable for their case.
Her first visit to the therapist was also a success. Her communication with both her children improved across a single session.
Yet, she witnessed no improvement in the attitude of the two kids towards each other.
They bully remained to be the bully and the victim remained traumatized.
She understood that any remedy for this bullying will take time to improve the situation. But she wanted immediate peace in her life and the life of her bullied son.
How could she cope with the chaotic situation in her home?
Here are a few tips:
It’s the hardest tip to follow in times of chaos and anarchy. You want to escape the reality, bury your head in the sand, and pretend no child is shouting on top of their lungs.
But this escape will give you momentary peace and give you a false sense of comfort which may hold you back from improving your family dynamics.
If you look from the perspective of the best parent you want to be, you want to remain with your kids in their best times and worst periods.
Also, you don’t want to increase their hurt in any possible way.
And that’s not all. You also want to be appreciative of your efforts so you can celebrate your conscious decisions and make amends for the negative emotions you oftentimes express.
Be mindful. So, you don’t get buried under the pile of failure and frustration of not being able to do anything.
Feel the blessing you are for your kids.
These are the times which are difficult, not your family or people included in your family. There are no flaws within you or your family members. Even the bully is being the product of the phase you are in as a family.
It won’t stay for long. Stay grounded and relax. You will create a powerful, caring family with support from all your family members.
Focus on the Long-term
Create a brighter vision of your family. Envision the results you will get from the therapy or other interventions you are using to break the bullying scenario at your home.
Whenever you face the need to intervene in an urgent bullying episode, remind yourself of the goal of a bullying-free home which you have set earlier.
Create a visual clue of your goal and keep it at a place that is prominent at your home or work-station. One option is to take a picture of your kids loving each other and set this picture as a wallpaper on your phone.
Remaining focused on the goals of the intervention will help you fight the ground realities of bullying without becoming emotionally attached to these episodes.
Gain Social Help
You can ask your friend or relative for emotional support. Vent out. Cry. Or complain.
It’s your right to deal with your negative emotions with support from someone who cares. (Just make sure that the person who is caring doesn’t end up shouldering your baggage.)
Arrange for me-time with the help of reliable babysitters. Try spending some time with your adult friends in the absence of children to reconnect with who you were before having kids.
Steer Away from Emotions
If you are grounded and have healthily dealt with your emotions, you will notice that your approach towards disciplining the bully will change significantly. You will not jump up to judgment and criticism as soon as you witness a relevant episode.
Commit yourself to the emotional health and growth of your kids. Nourish a mindset in which you view your kids as learners without taking them as aggressors or victims.
When you know that your kids are just kids who are ready to take in all the lessons you are giving them, your approach towards disciplining them would change significantly.
This technique becomes unavoidable in extreme cases. If you think that animosity among your kids is at its peak consider separating them for a large part of the day.
Fortunately, school routine means that kids spend one-third of their days separate from each other. If your kids happen to share a single class, ask the administration to keep them in different sections.
Try enrolling one, or both, of your kid in different after school activities for after school care. Or ask help from your family or childcare centers to care for one child.
Please make sure that you are not sending off your kids to activities or childcare as a punishment. This act might make them feel unwanted and unloved; thus, heightening the bullying.
Whatever you do for your child, do it from a place of compassion and love.
Talk to your kids about the development. Let them voice the situation going on at home. Let them give you reasons for their behavior.
You don’t need to agree with them about their viewpoint towards their emotions, their behavior, or their relationship with other family members.
But this talk will pave way for you to understand them and for them to take your side of the argument seriously.
Set Ground Rules
Don’t shy away from keeping peace at home. There is no excuse in the world for which one of your children should keep suffering from sibling bullying. Although you cannot stomp out bullying in a single intervention, you can set the ground for improvement and desired behavior.
Let them know that bullying will not be tolerated. And set time-out rules for instances of denial of the first rule. Also, define communication rules and when the children, or the victim, should call for adult surveillance.
Try to track allowance and chores with bullying for some weeks.
Be extra vigilant and follow-through. Minor misbehaviors can become patterns if you fail to follow-through timely and adequately.
You understand the far-reaching negative impacts of bullying on your children. And you want to stop this pattern, now.
And you can control the severity of the issue with your intervention, especially, if your kids are just children.
Start using these tactics of compassion, hope, and communication and get the results you want. It’s never too late to mend the bonds broken by sibling bullying.