Where do you start?
Bullying is a huge problem that probably occurs in your kids’ schools whether you know it or not. The majority of kids never report bullying, and as a result it can continue for months before an adult finds out. Bullying makes kids feel scared, hurt, embarrassed, or depressed, and the range of bullying covers everything from physical blows like pushing or hitting to verbal abuse, which in its own way can be even more damaging. Teasing and name calling are the most common forms of bullying, and they can be extremely hard to catch since they don’t leave any physical scars.
The best place to start when it comes to bullying is to just make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you about it. Three-quarters of all kids admit to having been bullied at some point, and we’re rarely in the loop when these things are happening. If you know that your child is being bullied, talk directly to the school principal and the other child’s parents to ensure he gets the discipline he deserves. It’s understandable if the idea of someone else hurting your kid makes you angry, but being calm will get faster results.
Of course, even if the bully receives discipline, he’s not necessarily going to stop. Sometimes it will even make it worse, so make sure you talk to your son and daughter about how they can deal with it on their own throughout the course of the day.
The best advice you can give your kid for dealing with bullies is to STAY CALM. Okay, easier said than done, I know! Here are a few tricks you can tell your child to get through the day.
Bullies are looking for a reaction more than anything. They want to feel power over somebody, and when the bullied cries or tries to fight back, it makes it that much more fun. It can be hard, but just keep walking, don’t look at the bully, and don’t reply. Eventually he’ll get bored and move on (or she – bullies can be boys and girls).
Like hyenas closing in on a wounded antelope, bullies go for the weakest kids in the class – they put up less of a fight. Teach your child to walk with his head high, shoulders back, and chest out so he gives off an air of confidence. That can be enough by itself to deter a would-be bully.
Don’t fight back!
Some parents might tell their kids to hit back or verbally fight back, but that will just escalate the problem, and what started as a serious annoyance could turn into something harmful and dangerous. Bullies often pick on other kids to boost their self esteem, and being hit back makes them all the more eager to defend their pride. The next time the bully could come back with friends, or even a weapon.
Remember – report any bullying to the school – and make sure they do something about it. Check your schools policies on bullying and make sure you keep an open line of communication with the school.
Has your child been bullied? What did you do?
For further information and advice on bullying head to the Bullying – No Way website.