As parents, our first instinct is to protect and defend our kids at all cost, right? We are their biggest champions, protectors, and advocates. Whether it comes to issues at school or fights with their friends, it's so hard not to immediately jump in and try to fix everything for them. And while that is absolutely necessary sometimes, doing it every time they experience conflict teaches them that someone else will always come along to fight their battles.
We want to protect our kids, while still making sure that we're giving them the tools they need to protect, defend, and advocate for themselves. If you're looking for ways to teach your kids to stand up for themselves when it comes to conflict at school or within their social circles, the 1, 2, 3 Plan might be just what you're looking for.
The 1, 2, 3 Plan is the brainchild of a mom who wanted to teach her daughter to rise above the prejudices she was facing at school. The woman has a child who is a different ethnicity and attends a nearly all-Caucasian school. She was routinely the victim of racially-motivated bullying. Rather than sweep in and bring down the Mom Hammer, the mom taught her daughter how to stand up for herself using something she calls the 1, 2, 3 Plan.
The next time her daughter was bullied by a boy for being different, she looked him straight in the eye and said, "What you just said isn’t nice, and I don’t appreciate it. Please don’t say it again." That's #1!
If it happened again, she responded with, "I asked you not to make comments like that. I don’t appreciate them. If you say anything like that again, I’ll get a teacher involved." #2!
And finally, if the boy continued to make comments, her third response was, "I asked you not to make comments like that. I don’t appreciate them. But since you continue to do so, I will tell Mrs. Smith and get her involved." Third strike and you're out!
The daughter would then make good on her promise, and head right to Mrs. Smith to report the bad behavior. It's important to note that with every step of the 1, 2, 3 Plan, the girl stood firm and strong, looked her tormentor in the eye, and spoke in a clear, firm voice. She advocated for herself, and got an authority figure involved when needed.
Obviously, the 1, 2, 3 Plan shouldn't be used if your child is in danger, if there is violence involved, or if they fear for their safety. In all of those cases, an authority figure needs to be involved immediately, and you as the parent should take the lead to insure your child is safe and not being subjected to dangerous behavior.
But when it comes to situations among their peers that can be resolved, teaching kids to stand up for themselves and say NO to the unkind and abusive behavior they're experiencing should be your first line of defense.