We recently watched the series Anne with an E on Netflix, the updated version of Anne of Green Gables. Anne is a young teenager when she arrives to live with her new guardians. Almost every show of the series shows us some sort of meanness her peers participate in.  They make fun of Anne’s hair, they think she’s a poor orphan and call her ugly, and all sorts of things. However, there are a few things that enable Anne to get back up, stop crying, and rise above the insulting words and actions around her.

While our kiddos are out of school and home, it might be just the right time to instill in them some confidence and love and help, for when they face the bullies again…

Speak the truth.  When Anne arrived home after school and repeated the words spoken to her about her looks, Matthew often spoke truth back to her.  Hearing the one who guarded her speak words of truth then quieted the lies from the kids.  When our kids are teased, we can speak the truth to them above the lies.

Be a refuge.  We can let our kids run into our arms sobbing, until their hearts aren’t breaking and they can speak.  We can offer comfort and hugs, until the crying stops and communication can take place again.  Anne sobbed often, and her once unemotional guardians learned the value of hugging her tight.

Encourage self-confidence.  Anne is different from the other kids in many ways.  She’s tall and skinny, has freckles, and red hair which she despises.  She’s a dreamer, a romantic, a user of big words, and she gets teased for ALL of it.  However, Marilla and Matthew encourage Anne to be herself and be happy with how she’s made and her disposition.

Model kindness.  If our kids see us bully other parents on the field, on the phone, or make horrible demeaning comments about leaders in our community and nation, they will see that it’s normal life to criticize and wish harm upon another.  We have to stop that kind of behavior from entering our homes, so that it then doesn’t exit our homes in the form our own teens.

Cover them.  If bullies are out of hand and causing harm to our kids, we can listen, offer advice on what they can do, or go to authorities.  And most of all we can go to the One, the Father of all Fathers, the Protector of our Children – Jesus.  He knows how to comfort, direct, and guide us in making decisions concerning our teens.  Even if it’s just a prayer of thanks around the table, as Anne’s family was sure to offer, this trains them to look up.

Prayer is mentioned very often in these teen articles.  I’m a firm believer that we often discount its effectiveness because circumstances don’t change, in our eyes, when we pray.  The Lord’s Prayer starts out with Our Father…and that’s the way he loves to hear from us…because he cares for our children even more than we do.  And he cares for us, too.

We live in a bully society.  It’s everywhere our kids look, but it doesn’t have to be in our homes.

Bully Society
by Marcy Lytle

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