Why Compliant Kids Are Targets for Bullies

Discover how being too easygoing can set kids up for bullying

good girl doing homework
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Every parent wants her kids to cooperative. As a result, parents tend to reward kids when they are obedient and praise them when they do what is asked of them without complaining. And while it is a wonderful social skill to be able to identify what other people want and provide it, it also can create issues, especially if your child is too compliant and never challenges the expectations of her.

Compliant Kids and Friendships

Compliant kids are often vulnerable to the whims of others. Consequently, bullies, frenemies, fake friends and others will use this characteristic to their advantage. Not only do these kids pressure a compliant child into doing things they do not want to do, but they also take advantage of their kindness and easygoing nature. They may even take them for granted, or they may ridicule them and ask them to do things outside of their comfort zone. 

Compliant kids also may believe their friends are always right because they have never questioned anyone before. Or they may disagree with their friend’s actions but do not speak up because they fear losing the friendship. These characteristics allow them to be bullied and exploited by others. It also makes them more susceptible to peer pressure and cliques.

Compliant Kids and Reporting Bullying

Another issue with compliant kids is that they often do not report bullying when they experience it.

Many times, they simply do not tell anyone because they do not want to make waves or cause problems. Other times, they are afraid of being a problem or creating extra work for people.

Be sure your child knows that while it is nice to overlook other people’s flaws and to accept them for who they are, they do not have to tolerate mean or controlling behavior.

Stress that anytime your child’s friends or classmates do something that crosses a line, she should tell you about it. Also, be sure to provide examples of bullying so that your child will be able to tell the difference between tattling and reporting.

Compliant Kids and Assertiveness

While being compliant may make your child well liked and pleasant to be around, it does not prepare her for the future. A child who goes along with what others want is not getting any practice making her own decisions. This also makes her vulnerable to the expectations and demands of others.

Eventually, she will encounter situations where she has to be assertive and she needs to know how to handle those situations. For instance, would your compliant child be able to stand up to someone pressuring her to drink? Would she be able to say no when someone asks her to engage in sexting? Be sure you are teaching your child now how to be assertive and stand up for herself.  

You also should avoid demanding blind obedience from your compliant child.

Allow her the opportunity to disagree with you, even if you do not change your rules. By encouraging a healthy discussion about the rules of the house, you are teaching your child that it is safe to have a different opinion from others; and even if she does not get her way, she has learned to be confident in expressing her views.

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