Your face is like the instrument panel of a plane. It has hundreds of fine muscles which communicate what you think and feel. You use them to make friends and socialise with your family and other nice people. When they know what you think and feel, they can trust you with their thoughts and feelings. If you don't express yourself, you will be shy and lonely because most people don't bother using guessing games to socialise. You also need the fine muscles of your face to show your fear and frustration and to ask for help.
The smile is a sign of being friendly and relaxed. It brings more blood to the brain and helps you think and feel better. Some children, especially shy ones, can't smile very well. Their timid, tense lips reveal an attitude, giving them a silly smile or smirk. When dealing with bullies, you need a neutral mouth or a relaxed smile. Practise until you can do it properly and naturally.
Help your child practise smiling. You could try a reward system with a point per smile and a special reward for a really large, natural smile.
Although you need to show what you think and feel on your face with most people, including mean friends, when you are dealing with very nasty bullies (e.g. saltwater crocodiles), this will make them happy. Instead, you have to wear a pleasant, blank, neutral mask. Then the bully won't know what you are feeling inside. (It's none of her business, is it?) Don't look sad, mad or bad. Besides, most kids are good at looking blank when they want to avoid trouble, e.g. when a teacher catches them talking at the wrong time.
You can train the muscles of your face to be neutral (with nasty bullies) or animated (for family and friends), depending on the situation. You need to work out how to relax your eyes, jaw and cheeks. Your lips can't be floppy or rigid, but can be manipulated to deliver a clear, firm, assertive message.
Giving blank looks
Help your child regularly practise a pleasant, plain face. Use a phrase to trigger the right mood, e.g.'I'm a couch potato','I'm a cloud' or 'I'm a cat in the sun'. A good time to practise is after a meal, when she is relaxed. Help her do it naturally and automatically.
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