21 Sep How to Handle Bullying
No parent wants their child to be bullied, or to find out their child is bullying others. So what can you do about it?
1. Talk to understand, talk to mediate!
Before your child starts showing the classic signs of being bullied which include a sudden desire to not go to school, closing themselves off, and withdrawing, make sure you talk to them about what bullying is. Bullying is different than joking around. Sure, kids will be kids, but the difference is when people kid around, everyone is laughing and having a good time. When someone is being bullied, they feel threatened. Teach your child the art of having fun without making someone feel bad, and to speak up should one of their friends say something that makes them feel bad. Repeated negative behavior in verbal or physical form is considered bullying.
If you are concerned about bullying, spend time talking with your kids on issues revolving bullying to build awareness at an early stage. It really helps to expose kids on this bullying issue as early as possible. Bullying happens at all ages, so it’s never too early or too late to talk to them. Talk to them about examples of bullying, the reasons why we should not bully others and why we should not tolerate bullying. Do unto others what we want others to do to us, I always tell my kids.
You can also share news of how bullying can lead to dire consequences like suicides, and even gunning incidents in school. You can also talk to them about how to handle bullying should it happen. Most importantly, tell them to let you know when bullying happens so that you can discuss with them on the situation.
If bullying already happened, then we will need to counsel both parties involved. A lot of times, these bullies might have “neglected” background or going through a difficult time such as divorces in the family; and might want to seek attention from their family by acting out against others. It helps to understand both parties, to help resolve the issues. If it happens at school, then the school, be it the counselor or the teachers, should mediate as neutrally as possible to help both parties get over this difficult episode. If we don’t talk to the kids, this might escalate and get worse. Please also keep in mind that this is a matter that might take months or even years to resolve; and will need full cooperation from the both parents in the healing process.
2. Build Empathy in them
At the same time, try to build their empathy towards others by participating in meaningful volunteer works and other activities that will help them understand about not looking down on others.
As parents, we are the main role models for our kids. So, if we make a conscientious effort to volunteer or show more kindness to others in general, your child will emulate and eventually, be empathetic towards others in plight.
3. Build a good self-esteem in your child from young
To help your kid not be the bullied, you can help boost their confidence from young by encouraging them to be more independent and resilient from young; consequentially, they will less likely be a target of bullies who look for weaker kids to bully.
4. Let them know we are here for them
Let your child know that if he or she is being tormented by one or more children at school that they should come to you. They should also inform a teacher they feel comfortable with. Often, school guidance counselors too are well-equipped to be helpful. Kids that are bullied sometimes can be afraid to speak up because they think the bully or bullies will retaliate for turning them in, but as a parent, you owe your child to step in and see that the school does something about it, or bring it to the head of the district if no one brings about change. Every child at school has the right to learn in a productive and safe environment.
5. What to do if your child is the bully?
First of all, don’t get defensive. You can step in and help your child before it’s too late. Working with them now will help them turn into great adults. Sometimes children that are otherwise sweet and angelic turn into bullies because of the control it gives them. If your child has been through something difficult like a divorce or a death in the family, it could set off this negative behavior. It’s important to stop it now because helping them develop effective coping skills for the real world will stick in their youth. Once they grow up, it might be too late.
Whether your child is being bullied or is the bully, it’s important to work with everyone together to help all the children get the education they deserve. By staying on top of things and keeping the lines of communication open between you and your child, you can prevent problems with bullying from going out of control.