Hello and welcome to this first instalment in a three-part series about how to stop bullying of all types from childhood-happiness expert Simon Benn. He is working to empower parents and children with the notion that they can become bully-proof.
An adopted child who was bullied, Simon now teaches kids to T.H.R.I.V.E.
All of the information you’ll find here has been extracted from Simon’s Brand Builders TV episode, How to Make Your Child Bully Proof. You may wish to watch the entire episode below, or you can read on to learn what to do if your child is being bullied, in Simon Benn’s own words.
It’s time to learn it, model it and get shit done. Let’s go!
Meet Simon Benn
Simon Benn is a coach who is empowering children to T.H.R.I.V.E. He holds school workshops for 8-to-11-year-olds, works directly with parents who are concerned about their children being bullied, and publishes educational materials to help kids feel happier and more confident—which makes them bully-proof.
He understands that your child means more to you than anything else, and that their happiness is your happiness. He also knows that children’s minds are more open and ready to change than ours, making the early years the prime time for bully-proofing.
Children can learn quickly that bullying is not about them. They can be taught about emotional issues and how they manifest in others. The more they learn about feelings, the more capable they will be of walking away from bullies, unscathed.
Without further ado, let’s hear what Simon has to say about how to stop bullying, in his own words.
How I Stumbled onto my Stop Bullying Message
Just imagine if your child were totally immune to bullying, so that nobody could upset them. How would that feel?
We hear so much in the media about how big of a problem bullying is, and everybody is focussed on trying to change the behaviour of the bullies. If parents have children who are bullied, they will relentlessly go after the schools to stop the bully (and they should do exactly that), but there’s another way of attacking this. You can build up your child’s immunity to bullying before it happens, or even whilst it’s happening.
That’s what I discovered seven years ago, when I woke up one sunny July morning with an idea about writing a kid’s book about happiness. That turned into conversations with kids about my concept and conversations with teachers in schools.
By November, 2013 I was going into schools and working with kids. In the thought session I was presenting, I was honing my message and trying it out to see what would work.
I was learning on the job, with kids as an audience. We learn by experimentation. We don’t learn with insight from books, etc…we learn from the job. Learning to be an entrepreneur is on-the-job training.
What I discovered is that we can make children bully-proof. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to make them happy, but stumbled across a way to stop something that makes too many kids unhappy—bullying.
Being Bullied, but not for Long
I was working with kids, who were interviewing me about a comic I was writing. We got into an activity session about helping them make their dreams comes true. This is a way to engage any child in conversation…with what matters to them, not us.
What matters to them is getting into a school, making the football team, getting the part in the play…short-term or long-term goals. We start the conversation about that. We then move to their feelings and then onto ignoring the kids who say they can’t make their dreams come true. From that, we take a short hop to helping them realise that no other child can actually upset them.
I ran the session. I was testing my process. I wanted to find out what the children had learnt, so I asked them to write down what they’d discovered. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I was patronizing them or talking up to them, taking them beyond their abilities. I said, “I want you to write down what you’ve learnt so you can remember it.”
One little girl beckoned me over, “Mr. Benn, now I can go back to dance class.” That’s what she had learnt she could do.
We’d been talking and playing silly games (because kids learn more when they’re having fun). We spent 45 minutes on making dreams come true and ignoring those who tell them it’s not possible. This girl had an insight, a realization, had seen something new, a leap in her consciousness. Something had happened in her mind, and she was going back to dance class.
I didn’t fully know what was going on, but she said that she’d been bullied for being too good of a dancer. The others were probably jealous. She hadn’t told the teacher or her mum and dad, just quit. That had broken her heart, and it still breaks my heart to think about her going through that.
So that meant her dream was back in the cards, because she loved dancing. She wanted to be on Dancing with the Stars. The conviction in her voice still gives me chills after all these years.
Oh, what she had seen for herself! It’s not what I say, it’s what the kids hear. It’s what the parents I now work with hear. I train parents in my approach to make their children bully-proof. It’s what they hear from their children, what they pass on to me, that sets my world on fire. To hear the success stories; the changes that happen in young minds. Kids are so open to this stuff, it’s just absolutely fantastic.
Kids’ Minds are Open to Stopping Bullying
We’re brought up to believe that changing our mind is a bad thing; I think it’s a fantastic thing. So many of us, as adults, still have the bully from the playground in our heads. They’re still telling us we can’t achieve what we want in life and business.
Changing your mind means ignoring that bully. Kids take to it like ducks to water; the change happens in a minute and there’s less rubbish in their head. It’s absolutely stupendous to me when I hear parents say what I’ve shared has changed their child’s trajectory.
You Can Stop Bullying, with the Help of Simon Benn
In this first article in the series, we have learnt that we don’t have to change the bully’s behaviour; we simply have to fortify ourselves (and our children) against it. As humans, we manifest our emotions in different ways, but one thing is certain: Negative emotions have negative results. And in the case of bullying, the bully is suffering. The doesn’t mean you (or your child) has to suffer at their hand, or along with them.
You won’t want to miss Simon’s next instalment, How to Stop Cyberbullies and More. In it, he will be sharing his own traumatic experiences with bullies from his childhood, and using them to teach us how we can stop bullying in its tracks. Then we’ll wrap it all up with Help! My Child is Being Bullied, which contains some practical knowledge for stopping bullies.
I hope you will join us for all that! And if you or your child are suffering the ravages of bullying, or if you know someone who is, please share the video or this series with them. Simon has both the first-hand and the empirical awareness necessary for helping people through this.
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