September 23, 2014

7 Great Life Lessons our Child’s Bully could Teach Us. ~ Kathy Adam


Could having the experience of being bullied actually help your child become stronger and more compassionate?

Research has shown that when coupled with the right developmental “assets”—such as a strong support system, empathy, feelings of self-worth and confidence—bullying may make a child more resilient. They become better able to navigate negative people and experiences that they come across in adult life.

Here are some things my child’s experience with bullying taught me about using compassion when dealing with the challenging people in my life.

1. Tolerance

We may meet some people who are show-offs. They may think they are or have the best thing ever; they will brag about it and even insult our skills so that they feel better about themselves.

They will be intolerant of people who don’t do things the same way as they do. They will speak to people in a mean way because that’s the way they were spoken to and that’s the way they speak to themselves.

Be tolerant because they are intolerant.

2. Respect

There are people who have a hard time respecting others and other ways of doing things. They may dismiss, exclude, make fun of or bully others because of differences in skin color, appearance or their gender preference.

That is because they are ignorant and fearful of what they don’t know. They don’t know that although the world is made up of a different people,  inside we are the same; that by disrespecting others, they disrespect themselves.

Show respect because they disrespect.

3. Loving kindness

We will come across people who have been so deeply wounded for so long that they stop trying—they stop trying to seeing the good within themselves and in everyone else. They say and do mean things and even seem to enjoy it.

That is because they haven’t been taught about the power of loving kindness.

Be loving and kind to yourself and to others. Do it because they are not.

4. Confidence

We may meet people who think that the only way to build their confidence is to make others less confident.

They don’t know that confidence can’t come from anyone or anything. It has to come from inside. They don’t know that if they want to feel good about themselves they need to keep practicing doing the things that are good for them.

Be confident because they are not.

5. Responsibility

We may meet people who always blame others or other things that go wrong in their lives. They may even blame us for something that we didn’t do or didn’t mean to do, and try to make us feel bad.

They don’t believe that they are the boss of their behaviour. They don’t know that they have the power and the responsibility to make the lives they want.

Be responsible for your power because they are not.

6. Honesty

We may meet people who are dishonest and lie about who they really are. They may seem really nice at first but then we find out that they are really quite mean. If they do something wrong, they will lie and they will be very, very good at it.

We can’t expect them to tell the truth especially if they are caught bullying others. They are dishonest with themselves and with others.

Be honest because they are dishonest.

7. Compassion

Be aware that there are selfish people  who only look out for themselves. Everything they do will be about themselves. They may exclude,  gossip or manipulate others, including us. They may even seem nice at first. Don’t be fooled because they will only do things for themselves.

They are scared because they think there isn’t enough for everyone. Inside they are hurting but they don’t know how to get it out.  They want love and they want to belong. They don’t know how to love others so that others love them back.

They have never learnt what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes.

Show compassion because they do not.


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Apprentice Editor: Jamie Khoo/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Antonio Amen/Pixoto

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Kathy Adam