What You Can Do If Your Child is Being Bullied
For many parents knowing that their child is being bullied at school can be very distressing and disturbing. Most parents knowing their child is being bullied will experience anger, confusion and even guilt. Bullying is an insidious behaviour the makes a child feel less secure and safe. It can have a great impact on their learning, emotional well being, peer relations and sense of self.
Bullying today, takes on many forms and guises, including physical and emotional abuse, intimidation, harassment and exclusion. Bullying has now also entered the cyber dimension, which has certainly moved the normal bullying goalpost. In the past, children were able to escape bullying when they were at home, this is now no longer the case.
Girls bully just as much as boys, but while boys may use physical intimidation or even verbal abuse, girls are more likely to use exclusion or verbal sarcasm. Bullying shouldn’t be confused to normal childhood teasing, rejection or conflict.
Bullying is about making someone feel a sense of powerless. It is selective, uninvited, repetitive oppression of one person by another or by a you feel your child is being bullied, you need to handle the situation with great care as children often don’t want their parents knowing that they are being bullied. Be on the lookout for warning signs, such as personal items being stolen, changes to their school routine and withdrawing from their usual activities.
Here are 6 tips to help your child if they are being bullied:
1. Listen to your child: You first need to take them seriously and don’t dismiss their complaints. Use your common sense to differentiate between bullying and more random, non selective or anti social acts. Kids today can certainly be nasty, yet this doesn’t always count as being bullied.
2. Deal with their feelings: Any child who is being bullied will most likely feel scared, angry and emotionally sad. Boys tend to show more anger, while girls say they feel sad. The degree of emotional intensity is a good indicator of their degree of bullying. You need to recognise and validate their emotions by letting them talk about how they are feeling and what they are thinking about.
3. Get all the facts: Get a clear picture of what is happening. Ask questions, to understand who is involved, the frequency of the bullying, and what happens prior to them being bullied. This will help you determine what the next course of action will be.
4. Give your child some coping skills: Once you have a clear picture and understand the situation, you can start by giving your child some workable advice, which includes avoidance strategies, being more assertive and changing their body language to one that is more confident and self assured.
5. Get the school involved: Bullying can be easily defeated when both teachers and parents are involved. Approach your school through the right channels and make yourself familiar with the school’s anti bullying procedures and programs.
6. Build your child’s support network: Help your child build a supportive network through their friends who can assist your child through their bullying experience. Look at getting your child involved in self defence classes, so they are also better able to protect themselves in the unlikelihood of being repeatedly attacked.