Bullying among children has always been common. While it was once largely tolerated as a part of childhood, experts now consider it to be a serious problem. The challenge is determining how much to involve yourself. Too little or too much involvement can have negative repercussions.
Ideally, you’ll involve yourself just enough to get your child through it. Overreacting can create even more challenges at school and waste an opportunity to teach your child to be more self-reliant.
Bullying can take several forms:
1. Physical. Physical bullying includes behaviors such as hitting, kicking, pushing, and tripping.
2. Psychological. This type of bullying centers around embarrassing the child socially.
3. Verbal. Verbal bullying involves teasing and taunting.
The effects of bullying can be serious and result in violent behavior, poor grades, drug abuse and mental health issues.
There are many signs to suggest a child might be bullied. These include a change in behavior, ripped clothes or bruises, a change in school performance, and a change in the willingness to go to school.
Consider these steps to help your child deal effectively with a bully:
1. Get the whole story. Most kids are reluctant to share things with their parents. It might take some time. Let your child know that you want to help.
2. Encourage your child to tell the bully to stop. Whether bullying occurs in a school setting or in the workplace, the first thing that will be asked is, “Have you told them to stop?” It might seem like a moot point, but it’s an important first step.
3. Contact the child’s teacher and principal. Schools are frequently burdened with long processes that must be followed in these situations. The sooner you can get the ball rolling, the sooner real action can take place.
4. Request a copy of the school’s bullying policy. By knowing the rules, you can make the best possible choices about how to move forward.
5. If your child is being physically bullied, consider contacting the local police. This is probably more appropriate for high school-aged children than for those in elementary school. But it’s not a bad idea to generate some paperwork and a pattern of behavior if the school isn’t cooperating. You can be sure the school will take things seriously if the police show up.
6. Encourage your child to seek assistance at the time of the bullying. If the bully is able to get away with the behavior, it’s likely to continue.
7. Strengthen your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Many children suffer from confidence and self-esteem issues that attract bullies. Most bullies are looking for a victim. Helping your child feel better about himself will repel many bullies.
8. Create some rules around your child’s use of technology. Ensure your child is using the internet and cell phone in an appropriate manner. If your child is being bullied online, your immediate reaction might be to take away their internet access. This can be a mistake. Your child will be much less likely to share any future incidents with you.
9. If your child is being cyber-bullied, report it to the appropriate cell phone, internet provider, and websites. These companies are far more likely to respond to your concerns that at any other time in the past.
Avoid under or overreacting and be sure to get the entire story. Seek out the assistance of your child’s teacher and principal to get the school administration involved in a timely manner.
Helping your child with a bully is practically a rite of passage for parents. No matter how wonderful your child might be, there’s always that one kid that seems to take pleasure in making their life miserable. View it as an opportunity to help your child grow and develop.