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Author of numerous books, his latest No More Jellyfish, Chicken or Wimps (Bethany House, 2007)
Host, radio talk show, KDOV, Southern Oregon
Has been interviewed by C-Span, NY Times, LA Times, Focus on the Family, Good Morning America, Nightline, etc.
Wife: Sandy; 3 school-age children
CBN.com Paul Coughlin says many Christian and non-Christian parents today are raising kids who are soft, compliant, and pleasant instead of assertive, courageous, and virtuous.
“Kids are being told not to exert their will, don’t stand up and fight, and don’t do conflict,” says Paul. “Fearful parents are raising fear-filled children.”
As a soccer coach, Paul sees how many parents and children interact. He calls parents who hover over their children “helicopter parents.” Most have no idea how their micromanaging hurts their kids.
“By taking everything into their own hands and trying to make life smooth and painless, parents are preventing children from developing the abilities they need to deal with conflict,” says Paul.
He believes that over parenting children creates children who are unable to connect with others.
“These lonely children tend strongly toward depression,” says Paul. “Timid, isolated kids see offense where no offense is given. The child becomes a potential target for bullies.”
Paul says we need to learn why certain kids are singled out by bullies. In order to help our children become confident, courageous, and successful, we must confront bullying. The effects of bullying on school campuses does not only include the effects upon the victims who live in constant fear but also on the bullies.
“Bullies who aren’t confronted by peers and leaders don’t receive the confrontation and correction they need to do well in life,” says Paul. “They often go on to bully as adults.”
TRUTH ABOUT BULLIES
Most bullying is not physical, but in other ways it still shoves, pushes, and punches. It’s often social, like spreading rumors and lies.
“A bully’s teasing is not good natured,” says Paul. “It intends to sting, discredit, and exclude.”
Bullies, Paul points out, are often both the abuser and the abused.
“They frequently receive parenting that uses unhealthy force to get them to behave in a certain way,” says Paul. “School bullies are often bullied at home where their will, wants, and desires are overridden and trampled. In turn, they override and trample others.”
There is also a perception that bullies have more testosterone in their bodies than others. Paul says one study shows the opposite.
“Hormones aren’t required for the doling out of abuse. A deflated sense of others and an inflated view of self are far more common,” he says.
If your child is a bully, Paul says to look for warning signs, like blaming fights on others or having a strong sense to dominate and to help your child develop empathy by helping him to learn to feel what others feel. Help him express himself through language rather than physical intimidation.
Victims are often misunderstood. Some characteristics that bind these victims to humiliation and despair include crying or cowering, refusing to defend themselves, radiating low self-confidence, not socially shrewd, etc. Paul says he had to study this list hard when one of his children fell into the hands of a bullying crowd. He says to:
Not only are there victims and bullies, but Paul says there are bystanders who are involved in this process, too. Statistically, the children of faith are absent, or more accurately, they are missing in action.
“They are failing to defend the weak and confront justice,” says Paul.
He says that 85 percent of all school-based bullying takes place in front of other kids. Research shows that bystanders do not intervene. Most bullying would not occur if it weren’t for the display of power the bullies want others to witness.
Paul is on The 700 Club with Larry Martin and his daughter, Nicole. Nicole, now in ninth grade, was bullied by three girls from fourth grade until seventh grade. She was hit with balls thrown during recess and gym, she was called names like “freak,” “dork,” “stupid,” “retard,” and had fake punches thrown at her in the hallway by a strong, athletic girl. As a result, Nicole had low self-esteem. She wrote in her diary that she was depressed and though she was a good student, faked being sick to avoid going to school. Her father saw her become despondent. He took a proactive approach, studied the problem extensively, and worked with school administrators who took bullying seriously. He even helped educate the school administration, which has been responsive to his desire to not only help his daughter but other children as well.
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